If you knew you were going to die and leave this earth, what would your last words be?
I will talk about that and much more in the message this Sunday, ”Come, Lord Jesus!”
This is the final message from the Book of Revelation. By the way, this is message # 30!
There is a specific blessing promised in Revelation to the person who reads, hears, and keeps it (Revelation 1:3). I can tell you I have personally experienced that blessing in my preparation for these messages. I hope you have been blessed hearing them.
Now we come the dramatic final verses.
We effectively come to the last recorded words of Jesus in Scripture.
You can join us in person at one of our campuses or join us for a live HD webcast at
If you knew you were going to die and leave this earth, what would your last words be?
Thank you Dr. and Mrs. Dobson for asking me to serve as the Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer for 2013. It really has been a privilege.
The National Day of Prayer
You may have heard about the woman who was walking along the beach and found a bottle. She picked it up, wiped the sand off, and—poof!—a genie appeared! He said “I will grant you one wish!”
She said, “I thought genies grant three wishes.” The genie responded, “Times are hard; we’ve had to cut back. One wish!”
She pulled out a map of the Middle East and said, “I want these countries to stop fighting and to get along. In fact, I want peace and harmony in all of the world!”
The genie looked at the map and said, “Lady, be reasonable! These countries have been fighting for hundreds of years, and every peace treaty they sign is broken. This simply cannot be done. Wish for something else!”
The woman thought for a minute and said, “Well, I’ve never found the right man. You know . . . a man who’s considerate and fun, likes to cook and help with the house cleaning. A man who would get along with my family, and not sit around and watch sports all the time. A man who will smother me with love and affection for all of my life. That is what I wish for: a good man!”
The genie let out a sigh and said, “OK, you win. Let me see that map again!”
Some things just seem impossible. But with God, nothing is impossible.
He can even turn around the United States of America.
We think to ourselves, is that really possible, or are things going to just get worse? We see horrific acts of violence like those in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut—and, of course, the terrorist acts in Boston. Will our streets ever be safe again? Add to this the very real threats from Iran and North Korea, who vow to destroy us.
We can look at enemies on the outside, but we would be wise, as a country, to look within. Historian Will Durant in his book on Rome’s history, Caesar and Christ, said, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has first destroyed itself from within. The essential cause of Rome’s decline lay in her people and morals.”
There is a difference between Rome and the US, however. America was founded on Judeo-Christian values. We’ve strayed from that original vision of our founding fathers, and what was once “freedom of religion” has now become “freedom from religion.” We have succeeded in pushing God out of our schools, sporting events, public venues, and workplaces.
Then there is the breakdown of the family. So many of our social ills today can be traced to broken homes and, more specifically, fatherless homes. Most children born in the US are born out of wedlock now. I’ve read that
• 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
• 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
• 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in fatherless homes.
It’s been said, “A family can survive without a nation, but a nation cannot survive without the family.”
I am not speaking from a vacuum here. I myself was born out of wedlock and my own mother was married and divorced seven times. She was also an alcoholic. I never had a father growing up, and I could have easily become another statistic to add to this list. But I heard the message of the gospel on my high school campus in my teens and committed my life to Jesus Christ.
The odds were against me and I could have easily been divorced at least once by now. (Studies show that those who come from divorced homes are far more likely than the general population to also get divorced.) But by God’s grace, my wife Cathe and I have been married for 39 years! I believe our nation can turn around—one person at a time.
We need to turn to God in prayer and turn back to His Word. Peter Marshall, former Chaplain to the US Senate, once said, “The choice before us is plain: Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration.”
America has seen a number of revivals historically, called “awakenings.” The first was during the 1700s, and was led by such men as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield. During just two years of this revival (from 1740 to 1742) some 25,000–50,000 people were added to the New England churches. This, out of a population of only 300,000!
The second great awakening (1790s to 1840) was led by many, including Charles Finney. It was during the time of the “wild west.” The law was disregarded and sexual sin was rampant. The “camp meetings,” where crowds numbered as high as 15,000, would be held for several days at a time. Thousands came to faith. More than 10,000 in Kentucky alone, between 1800 and 1803.
The third great awakening in America was from about 1857 to 1859. How this revival began is unique. A 48-year-old businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier began a prayer meeting on Fulton Street in New York City. It began slowly and soon exploded. The New York Stock Market crashed around that time and soon Lanphier’s prayer meeting was attended by hundreds.
Prayer meetings broke out all over New York City, filling theaters on Broadway. Within six months, 10,000 people gathered daily for prayer throughout the city! It is reported that 50,000 New Yorkers were converted from March to May. During that single year, the number of reported conversions throughout the country reached an average of 50,000 a week for a couple of years. Over one million people came to Christ in this brief period.
I think you could include the Jesus Movement as a genuine American revival as well. The church was influenced globally by what God did in the Jesus Movement. But that was over 40 years ago; the kids of this movement are now grandparents! (I know because I am one of them.)
Now we look at the current generation and we realize we need another revival. Our hearts cry out, “Lord, do it again!”
The prophet Habakkuk understood this when He prayed this prayer: “I have heard all about you, LORD, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things you have done. In this time of our deep need, revive your work, as you did in years gone by. Show us your power to save us. And in your anger, remember your mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2 NLT and NASB).
America needs God’s intervention. We saw many turn to the Lord after 9/11. Remember those prayer vigils on street corners, and the packed churches? Remember the members of Congress spontaneously singing “God Bless America”? These things give me hope that there could be at least one more great revival in America’s future.
By the way, the song “God Bless America,” written by Irving Berlin in 1938, is a prayer.
While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free.
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer:
God bless America, land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America,
My home sweet home.
Yes, I have hope for America!
We need to pray for God’s blessing on America “through the night with a light from above,” and for a national spiritual awakening. That is what we must pray for. But how?
God gives the answer in 2 Chronicles 7:14. It is His cure for a sick country. Contextually it was given to Israel, but in principle it applies to any nation: “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” (NKJV).
Notice that God says if we want our land to be healed, it starts with His people. “If My people who are called by My name . . .”) God does not point His finger at the White House, but at His house. It is easy as Christians to put the blame on Hollywood or Washington. But God says that we need to be living as true followers of Jesus Christ. We must turn from our wicked ways.
The Bible tells us about a time when things were very bleak, a time when things seemed hopeless to believers:
“Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover. Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church” (Acts 12:1–5).
Thinks were looking mighty bleak for the fledgling church. King Herod had murdered James. As a consummate politician, Herod saw that it pleased his constituents. So he then had the leader of this new church, Simon Peter, arrested. It looked like Peter was next in line for execution.
So what did the church do? Organize a protest and storm Herod’s palace? Hold a boycott of all products made in Rome? Pull out their swords and smite Herod and his soldiers? No, instead the church used their “secret weapon.” Though all other doors were closed, one remained open: the door of prayer!
So often we think of prayer as the last resort when it should be our first! This passage gives some important insight into the kind of prayer that prevails with God:
1. The prayer that changes things is the one that is offered to God. Isn’t all prayer offered to God? Not necessarily. Often in prayer there is very little thought of God. Our mind is taken up with the thought of what we need instead of our Heavenly Father. Sometimes it’s even taken up with how we sound or look to others. In Matthew 15:8, Jesus spoke of those who “honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” (NLT).
For prayer to be powerful and effective, there needs to be acknowledgement of who it is exactly that we are speaking to. The key is to get our will into an alignment with God’s will. And how do we know what His will is? By the careful study of Scripture.
“This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us . . . and we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14–15 NKJV). Knowing God’s will also comes from living in communion with Him. Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7 NKJV). Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God. God only answers the requests which He inspires. Yet there are times we think we know God’s will, but we are not sure, so we pray, “Nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done.”
Does God want to send a spiritual awakening to our country? Yes!
2. We should pray with passion and persistence. We are told that the church was in “constant prayer” for Peter. That phrase carries the idea of “earnestly” or “stretched outwardly” or “with agony.”
This was not a flippant “Lord, (yawn) please save Peter, or whatever.” This was a storm-the-gates-of-heaven prayer: “Oh Lord, deliver Peter!” Have you prayed like that for your marriage and family? Have you prayed like that for your church and your country?
The church prayed with intense desire. Much of our prayer has no power in it because there is no heart in it! If we put so little heart in our prayers, we can’t expect God to put much heart in answering them. God promises that His people will find Him when they search for Him with all their heart!
3. We should be praying together. Verse 5 says, “Constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. There is power in united prayer!
Jesus said, “If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19 NKJV) This speaks of two people with the same God-given burden praying together.
When you have a prayer need, get other believers to pray with you about it. We should be praying together for the needs of America.
I have been told that this year’s National Day of Prayer observance is the largest gathering of Americans praying for our country in our history! How exciting to think of thousands and thousands of American citizens praying for our great nation on this very day!
4. God can work despite our doubts when we pray. The early church prayed to God. They prayed passionately. They prayed together. But they also prayed doubtingly. Now that’s not something to commend, but it is important to understand. Even though their prayer was weakened by doubt, it was still mightier than Herod, and mightier than hell!
God answered the prayer of the church and sent an angel to deliver Peter. The doors of the prison opened and he was led out to the street. Then the angel left him and Peter went to a house where the believers gathered for prayer—probably praying for him!
He knocks at the front door and a girl named Rhoda answers. She can’t believe her eyes, so she goes and tells the disciples that Peter is at the door! How did these great men of faith react? “‘You’re out of your mind!’ they said. When she insisted, they decided, ‘It must be his angel.’ Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed” (Acts 12:15–16).
So you see, in spite of their lack of faith, God still came through! Clearly there is an important place for faith in our prayers. And, no doubt, we on many occasions have hindered the working of God by our unbelief. But sometimes we just don’t have as much faith as we ought. Even then, God can intervene as He did for these believers.
There is the story in Mark 9 of a man who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus. Jesus told him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes!” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” And Jesus delivered that man’s son from demon powers.
Look at how things change as a result of powerful prayer! In the beginning, we saw a seemingly all- powerful Herod wreaking havoc on the church. Herod had on his side the power of government, the sword, and the threat of prison. But the church used their “secret weapon”: prayer.
The story ends with the great Herod giving a speech met with adulation. The people shouted, “It’s the voice of a god and not a man!” Herod did not rebuke them or reject their flattery. He was judged because he glorified himself instead of God, and he was killed on the spot.
At the beginning of the chapter, Herod is on the rampage—arresting and persecuting church leaders. At the end, Herod is struck down and dies. The chapter opens with James dead, Peter in prison, and Herod triumphing. It closes with Herod dead, Peter free, and the Word of God triumphing.
Man has his will, but God will have His way. “It ain’t over till it’s over!” So, let’s pray for America!
Let’s pray for a great spiritual awakening to sweep our land.
Matthew 12:21 says, “In his name the nations put their hope” (NIV). Our hope is not in politics, though they have their place. Our hope is not in technology, or the economy, or in any human solution. Our hope is in God. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19 NIV).
I have hope for America as we pray for its healing.
You might say, “I want to learn how to pray to a God that powerful!” Perhaps you have prayed many times in life and it seems that your prayers never got any higher than the ceiling. But I will tell you a prayer that God will surely hear: “God, be merciful to me a sinner.”
You see, prayer is a privilege given to the child of God. If your prayers are not answered, it could be because you don’t know Him yet. Isaiah 59:1 says, “Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is His ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, He has turned away and will not listen anymore” (NLT).
Let’s call on the Lord for America! He said in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
This is my prayer for America:
Father, we come to You to pray for our nation, the United States of America.
How You have blessed us through the years, Lord! We rightly sing, “America, America, God shed His grace on thee.” Yet we see trouble in our culture today. We see the breakdown of the family, crippling addictions, and random acts of horrific violence.
Lord, we need Your help in America. In recent days, we have done our best to remove Your Word and Your counsel from our courtrooms, classrooms, and culture. It seems, as President Lincoln once said, that we have “forgotten God.” But Lord, You have not forgotten us! You can bless and help and revive our country again.
Scripture tells us that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). Lord, in Your mercy, we ask that You would exalt our country again. We have had a number of great awakenings in America. We have experienced times of refreshing, and revivals that changed not only the spiritual but also the moral landscape. As the psalmist said, “Will You not revive us again, so that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6).
That is our prayer for America today, Lord. Send a mighty spiritual awakening that will turn the hearts of men and women, boys and girls, back to you. You have told us if we will humble ourselves and pray, and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, that You will forgive our sins and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Forgive us today, Lord, and heal this troubled land that we love so much.
We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ.
So pray for the United States of America.
I will be speaking and leading in prayer for our nation from Washington D.C. in what I am told will be the largest prayer gathering for America in our history as a nation!
This will also be webcast LIVE from D.C.
To find out more, go to
I heard the story of three ministers debating the best posture for prayer.
One minister shared that he felt that the key was in the hands. He always held his hands together and
pointed them upward as a symbolic form of worship.
Another minister suggested that real prayer was conducted on one’s knees. That was the only way to
The third said that they were both wrong. The only position in which to pray was to lie on the floor, flat
on your face.
As they were talking, a telephone repairman had been working in the background, listening. Finally, he
couldn’t take it any longer. He blurted out, “For me, the most powerful prayer I ever prayed was while I
was dangling upside down by my heels from a power pole, 40 feet above the ground!”
Listen: the posture of prayer is not the most important thing.
The main thing is to pray!
You can pray in any position, at any time, anywhere.
You can pray publically, privately, verbally, silently.
You can be kneeling, standing, sitting, lying down, or even driving.
You can pray with your eyes open or closed! (Ever make eye contact with someone while praying?)
Sometimes we think that perhaps the Lord will hear our prayers more readily if they are prayed in a
church building. But that is not necessarily true.
Daniel prayed in a lion’s den.
David prayed in a field.
Peter prayed on and under the water.
Jonah’s prayer was heard from the belly of a whale!
It doesn’t matter where you are . . . Just pray!
Ephesians 6:18 says, “Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert
and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere” (NLT).
I would appreciate your prayers as I pray for our nation.
We all need to take the very real challenges facing our nation seriously.
America need God’s help.
We cannot back away from what He says in Scripture.
The enemy will always attack when we seek to do God’s work, so let’s keep praying!
We need to pray for America like never before.
And God clearly promises if we, His people, will pray and “turn from our wicked ways” that He will hear from heaven and forgive our sin and heal our land.
This Sunday at Harvest I want to talk about just that: the need to pray for the United States of America.
We will also be showing the just completed video for our upcoming SoCal Harvest Crusade.
Our services will be webcast live at www.harvest.org.
Have you ever been bored?
Did you know that the word boredom did not even exist in premodern languages? So it seems that boredom is a relatively modern term, a condition that affects more people today than it did centuries ago.
Not only are we bored as a modern society; we are also depressed. Antidepressants led the market in prescription drugs in 2007, totaling $12 billion in sales. But the fact is, there is “nothing new under the sun.” Boredom and depression are not unique to our time only.
There was a man who lived centuries ago who had untold wealth and power. He had what rock stars and billionaires only dream of…and more. Yet he wrote these words: ”‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher; ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’ What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3).
The word vanity means “emptiness” or “nothingness.”
This man’s name was Solomon. Though he was known in his day as the wisest man who ever lived, for the most part, he lived like a fool. There is a lot that we can learn from his life, and that is what I will be speaking on tonight at Harvest Orange County from my Greatest Stories Ever Told series. My message will be “The Foolish Wise Man.”
It all starts at 7:00 PM Pacific and will be we webcast live in HD at www.harvest.org
“Behold I make all things new.” —Revelation 21:5
In Revelation chapters 21–22, God promises to make “all things new.”
As believers we can look forward to a new world with:
No more terminal diseases.
No more hospitals.
No more wheelchairs.
No more funerals.
No more suffering.
No more separations.
No more accidents.
No more courts.
No more prisons.
No more lawyers.
No more divorces.
No more breakdowns or breakups.
No more heart attacks.
No more strokes.
No more Alzheimer’s.
No more cancer.
No more famines.
No more disasters.
What else would you add to the list?
The pundits take their usual positions, each looking for someone to blame… But let’s not miss the obvious here—the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart!
The Bible tells us our heart is wicked beyond comprehension, as demonstrated recently in Aurora, Colo., Newtown, Conn., and now Boston, Mass.
Speaking of the darkness of the human heart, the Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV)
There has been a lot of talk lately about gun control, but perhaps we should talk more about self-control—a change of heart!
Two iconic figures left the world stage yesterday: George Beverly Shea and Pat Summerall.
I had the opportunity to meet both of them.
George or “Bev” as everyone called him was the longtime soloist of the Billy Graham Crusades. We all can recall Bev taking the stage before Billy would speak and singing with his beautiful baritone voice.
He introduced the song “How Great Thou Art” to the Christian world and it quickly became a standard sung in churches to this day.
On of my favorite George Beverly Shea songs though was “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”
Among its lyrics,
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold,
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I’d rather be led by his nail-pierced hands.
Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause,
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame,
I’d rather be true to His holy name.
George Beverly Shea was true to His holy name.
Bev lived to be 104 years old and was active almost to the very end.
And Bev is now in heaven with the Lord that he loved and served.
Pat was known to most people as “the voice of football” and he had a long and successful career as a sports announcer.
He had his struggles in life, especially with alcohol, and eventually became a Christian.
Pat would give his testimony of how Christ transformed him many times throughout his life.
He graciously agreed to be the narrator for my autobiographical film, Lost Boy, and he did a fantastic job.
Pat Summerall is now in heaven with Bev now and I thank God for both of them.
They will be missed.