Today is the National Day of Prayer.
We will be observing it two times today.
First,at 12 noon at Harvest Christian fellowship in Riverside.
Then,at 7:00 pm in Orange County where I will give a message titled “The Power of Prayer”
For more info,go to http://www.harvest.org/oc/
Abraham Lincoln was the first President to call for such a Day.
It became an Annual event in 1952 and then was signed into law by President Reagan.
Yet some U.S. District Judge from Wisconsin ruled that holding
a National Day of Prayer was Unconstitutional.
Some people just don’t think Prayer is Important.
I am certainly not one of them.
When we look at the problems facing our country today, it can be overwhelming.
We want to know where to place the blame for the moral breakdown and spiritual emptiness on the part of so many Americans. We want to know who to blame for the social ills plaguing our country today, like violence, adultery, divorce, and the rest.
Some lay the blame at the feet of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. We will say, “It’s all those evil movies, music, and TV that are destroying our nation!”
Others would blame our political leaders. We will say, “The government is not doing enough, or it’s doing too much. It’s their fault!”
The real problem
But when God looks at a sick nation, His diagnosis is a bit different than ours:
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Essentially, the Lord says to a large degree the problem is with His people. In other words, those of us who claim His name.
We who are Christians.
We need to be healed first
We need to understand that before our nation can be healed, we need to be healed. And that healing is not unlike going to see a doctor. He diagnoses our problem, and then recommends the solution.
God, the Great Physician, says that we need to be “turning from our wicked ways.” You see, revival starts with you and me.
Do you have any “wicked ways” you need to turn from today?
Understand, there are both sins of omission as well as the sins of commission. A sin of commission is when we do what we should not do. A sin of omission is when we don’t do what we should do.
Scripture tells us, “Whatever is not from faith is sin.”(Romans 14:23), and “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
We need to repent
Is there a sin of omission or commission you need to repent of today?
What exactly is repentance?
The word repent means more than merely regret or sorrow. We may feel sorry for sin, especially if we reap the consequences of it.
Repentance means a change of mind and a confession that you were wrong. It means to turn around, to change one’s direction, to change both the mind and will.
It does not denote just any change but always a change from wrong to right, away from sin to righteousness.
More than remorse
Repentance is not just sorrow alone, or mere remorse.
Remorse is being sorry. Repentance is being sorry enough to stop.
The Bible says, “The sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NASB)
C.S.Lewis wrote, “Repentance is no fun at all. It is something harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years.”
No, repentance is not fun at all.
But it is necessary if we want to see our sin forgiven. It is necessary if we want to see personal revival in our own lives. It is necessary if we want to see a spiritual awakening in America.
All the fervent praying in the world will do us no good if we don’t repent of unconfessed sin.
The psalmist wrote, “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18 NLT).
How do we repent?
How do we come to God to repent? Jesus gave us the answer in the story of the Pharisee and the Publican.
The Pharisee “prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men . . . ’” He then went on to list all the things he had done that week for God.
He came to God with pride and arrogance. That is not the way for us approach God. The Bible says to “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord.”
Next to him was a sinner who simply prayed, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Jesus said that it was this man, not the Pharisee, who had his prayer heard by God.
Today, and every day, we need to pray. We need to obey God’s conditions and “turn from our wicked ways.”
Let’s pray . . .
Lord, we pray for America today.
We pray that you would heal our land. We pray for a mighty revival that would sweep our country.
Yet we also understand that Revival must begin with us.
Revival has been defined as your finger pointing at us.
Lord, search us today and see if there be any wicked way in us and lead us in the way everlasting.
Shine the spotlight of your Holy Spirit in our hearts and may your searing light expose any area of our lives that may be displeasing to you. Whether it be a sin of commission or omission, we want to confess it to you now.
We don’t want to make excuses for it or blame it on someone else. Like that sinner we heard about, we say, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
You have told us in Scripture that if we would confess our sin, You are faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
So Father, we confess our sin. We know it is offensive to you. We repent of it. We “turn from our wicked ways.”
And Lord, we thank You that because of Jesus’ death on the cross and our complete trust in and surrender to Him, we are forgiven.
In Jesus’ name, we pray,