Without humility and repentance, prayer has no power. There will be no healing of a nation from division, there will be no healing of a nation from a plague, there will be no healing of a nation from economic collapse until God’s people seek His face as He has commanded. Someone has to stand in the gap for a nation. Someone has to fight and win the war against principalities and powers for the soul of America.
The key is repentance. That is the key to healing the racial divides, the key to healing the economy, the key to healing the plague. We’re not going to make America great with money or fame or status. Years ago, I prayed with Mother Teresa. Before we prayed, she said, “Please pray for me because I’m going to the poorest country on earth.” I said, “Are you going back to Calcutta?” “No,” she said, “I’m going to America. It suffers from the poverty of spirit.”
Years ago, God directed me to go to El Salvador. The country was in the grip of a bitter conflict. There were death squads roaming the nation, pulling people out of their homes and killing them. The country was divided. I met with the president and some of his top leaders while I was there to preach. I asked the president, “Do you want this to stop? Do you want your land healed? It can be, but it is going to take 2 Chronicles 7:14.”
I watched as he wrote that reference down. I listened as he issued a national call for a day of humility, fasting, repentance, and prayer. And I watched as God did heal the divide in their nation. He can do the same thing for us in America.
Isaiah the prophet declares in Isaiah 30:1-7: “Woe to the obstinate children, declares the Lord. To those who carry out their own plans that are not mine, who form an alliance, but not by my spirit, heaping sin upon sin, who go down to Egypt without consulting me, who look for help from Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for Refuge. But Pharaoh’s protection will be to you your shame…. The envoys carrying their riches on donkeys’ backs, their treasures on the humps of camels, to that unprofitable nation whose help is utterly useless. Therefore, I call her rahab.”
This word in Hebrew literally means “big mouth that does nothing.” God says, “I call her a big mouth, those who cut alliances with the world, looking for deliverance, that lean to the arm of flesh looking for deliverance. I call do nothing, big mouths.” There is no help in the world…help comes from God, or it does not come at all.
In November, students at Oberlin College in Ohio erected a memorial to a group of men who had recently died. Such memorials, both large and small, are not uncommon as friends and family do things to remember their loved ones. This memorial was very different from that. Erected by the Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine, this display was created “in commemoration of the 34 Palestinians killed by Israeli rocket fire this last week.”
The group that put up the memorial described those killed as “unarmed civilians,” but the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) identified 25 of them as members of various terrorist military organizations. The IDF even posted pictures of nine of the “civilians” from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in their military uniforms, with one of the “unarmed” men holding a military rifle.
The Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine posted their large sign along with 34 black flags in the college’s Wilder Bowl, a popular open area where students often meet. The group has long been a vocal supporter of the BDS—boycott, divestment, and sanctions—movement and is openly against the existence of a free and safe Jewish state.
They are not alone. It would be easy to dismiss this as the work of a radical fringe group. But while they are indeed radical in their hatred of Israel, and their views should place them outside the mainstream of thought, Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine is far from alone. College and university campuses across America are hotbeds of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, and they openly call for the destruction of Israel.
This marked turn away from Israel is not just taking place in the secular world. Recent surveys show a dramatic shift among young evangelicals. While their parents are strongly pro-Israel, the next generation is not. Support for Israel among young evangelicals is at its lowest point since the Jewish state was reborn in 1948. Many Christian colleges and organizations have joined the BDS movement, withdrawing their investments from Israeli companies and calling on others to do the same.
This shift among young people is a terrifying trend. These are the leaders of the future. And this shift highlights the vital importance of the Jerusalem Prayer Team. We are working to counter the lies behind the BDS movement with the truth. We are working to identify and oppose the enemies of Israel. We are preparing to launch the Friends of Zion Institute to create a place for truth in the online world and equip friends of Israel to effectively support and defend the Jewish state and the Jewish people.
We are living in a time of shaking. But I have some wonderful news for you…idols may be big, but they don’t have any power. Human rulers may be strong, but they cannot stand against God. Disease may be serious, but it bows before the Great Physician. Times are hard, but God is good.
One of the first stories children learn in Sunday school is the story of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. Nebuchadnezzar built an idol of gold that was 90 feet tall, and he commanded everyone to bow down and worship it. But Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego refused. Because the king liked them, he gave them a second chance. Their second refusal was stronger than the first.
They said, “O King, we do not need to defend ourselves. The God we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us by His power from you but even if He doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you that we will never worship the golden statue that you have made!”
Now that is the response of a person who is standing on a rock, walking with the Lord, and filled with the Holy Ghost! That is a person who has the Word burning in his or her soul, and who is walking in repentance.
Their answer outraged the king. He commanded the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than before. It was so hot that it killed the soldiers who threw Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego into it. But it didn’t touch them! King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
Not only did those faithful Hebrews not burn up, they weren’t touched! What a truth for troubled times. Their hair wasn’t singed, their robes weren’t scorched…you couldn’t even smell the smoke! That is God’s deliverance, and that is what He has for those who will refuse to worship idols and instead walk in repentance and holiness before His face.
There is no other god who can rescue you like this. You see, saints, God is raising up fireproof Believers who refuse to worship idols, Believers who will smile in the face of the fire! A great awakening is coming. But as David Wilkerson said, it’s coming through repentance, and it is going to begin in the pulpits of America, and it is going to shake the world. Hallelujah!
God’s house today is not a house of prayer. Why are we lying about that? If Jesus came into the average church in America, He would turn over the tables as He did in the Temple because it’s not a place of prayer. There is not red-hot prayer going on there. At best, there is a quick prayer at the end if you want someone to pray for you, but there are no people crying out to God for revival in brokenness and repentance.
How is it possible today, brothers and sisters, that Believers can go to R-rated movies, and they don’t feel convicted but comfortable? How is it possible that the lost, the immoral don’t have to go to bars anymore to pick up girls? They can go to church. The Spirit of God is saying “Your golden calves are coming down, REPENT!” The Spirit is saying “Build your house upon the rock. Repent in prayer. Stop glorifying flesh.”
America is experiencing panic, and you and I are seeing it every day. People are panicking—not just the lost, but Believers. Why? Because they have built their houses on sand and not on the rock. The walls we put up keep us from seeing the face of God. The walls we put up keep us from repenting. God is pulling all of those walls down. As Peter wrote, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray” (1 Peter 4:7). The word “sober” in the Greek means to be calm, collected, good sense, good judgment, good wisdom, and level-headed in times of distress. That is what we have been born to do. The Spirit of God is saying to be sober. Don’t trust in the flesh. Be sober. Seek the face of God and love Him passionately. Return to your first love: passionately love the Savior.
America has an epidemic of backslidden churches, pastored by backslidden pastors who are drunk on their own wine, obsessed with success and numbers, who refuse to preach repentance or the cross. Do you know how you can tell it? Ask yourself one question. When was the last time your pastor got up in the pulpit crying and trembling and said, “I’ve got to repent”? God showed me something this week. This week…not 10 years ago…not 20 years ago. He showed it to me this week. I need to repent and so do you and so do all of God’s people.
Yes, God has allowed the coronavirus to call us into repentance, to stop running and be quiet before Him. God is shutting down our busyness and our businesses because flesh has been on the throne of our lives, and chaos has been the norm. Everything is programmed, the songs, the sermon. There’s not even room for the Holy Ghost. The Spirit is saying, the rains and the floods and the winds will not knock down the house that is built on the rock. The house Jesus is building is intimacy with Christ, Holy Ghost prayer life, a passion for the Word of God and souls, and that building begins with repentance.
The support of the United States for Israel is so crucial because so much of the world is openly anti-Israel. Just before the end of 2019, the International Criminal Court refused to dismiss the ridiculous false claims against Israel filed by the Palestinian Authority. The ICC only has jurisdiction in disputes between nations, and the PA is not and never has been a nation. Yet the judge allowed the case against Israel’s “occupation” and “war crimes” to continue.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The claim by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court that Jews do not have a right to live in the Jewish homeland is pure antisemitism. So is the claim that Jews have no right to defend themselves against those who seek their annihilation. As we celebrate Hanukkah, the ICC issues decrees that are just as antisemitic as those of the ancient Seleucid Empire against the Maccabees.”
The International Criminal Court has willingly allowed itself to become a political weapon in the ongoing war against Israel. Any court that is open to criminalizing self-defense and condemning Jewish people living in the land of Israel is a deadly threat.
Here’s another example. In November of 2019, the United Nations passed a series of resolutions condemning Israel. There were six resolutions issued concerning various countries and human rights issues. There were twenty others issued concerning Israel. Most of these passed overwhelmingly. Even countries like Canada, which once routinely voted with Israel, voted for these condemnations. Here are some excerpts from the resolution “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan,” which passed by a vote of 156 to 6 with 15 countries abstaining.
“The General Assembly, Guided by the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and the need to respect the obligations arising from the Charter and other instruments and rules of international law, Reaffirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, Recalling its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 73/97 and 73/98 of 7 December 2018, as well as those resolutions adopted at its tenth emergency special session,
Bearing in mind the extremely detrimental impact of Israeli settlement policies, decisions and activities on the ongoing regional and international efforts to resume and advance the peace process, on the prospects for the achievement of peace in the Middle East in accordance with the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, and on the viability and credibility of that solution,
Condemning settlement activities by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as violations of international humanitarian law, relevant United Nations resolutions, the agreements reached between the parties and obligations under the Quartet road map and as actions in defiance of the calls by the international community to cease all settlement activities.”
It goes on and on for five full pages…and this is just one of the 20 resolutions condemning Israel. Several of these resolutions talk about the Temple Mount, but without exception, they refer to it only by its Islamic name, “Haram al-Sharif.” The Jewish connection to the holy site, dating back some 3,000 years, is ignored. Only Islamic claims are considered.