"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

If My People . . .

By Lois J. Stucky

    May 6 was a significant day in U.S.A. For the benefit of those living outside the country, we mention that it was our "National Day of Prayer." The government has declared that the first Thursday of May each year should be so designated. Doubtlessly many Americans took little or no notice of the day, and some even may have ridiculed. But to some of us Americans it was a cherished day of opportunity to unite with other Christians across the land to seek the face of God. This could be a more significant effort than all the political and diplomatic maneuverings that are going on in our nation.

    Has not God said, "If My people, which are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land"? (2 Chronicles 7:14). Christians recognize that God is this world’s only hope for healing. Oh God, heal our land! For Your sake, for the sake of Your people, heal our land!

    Again God says, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city [or nation], the watchman waketh but in vain" (Psalm 127:1).

    Do you not think it is a day of significance in Heaven when multitudes of God’s people unite to seek His face? Enthroned in Heaven is the ultimate Sovereign of the earth. This glorious and gracious One has promised that His eyes are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers. He is the One who has promised that when the righteous cry, He will hear and deliver out of troubles. He will be nigh unto them; He will save...keep... redeem (Psalm 34:15-22). How desperately this is needed! What can be more significant than seeking God for His intervention in this day’s deepening quagmire of trouble?

    Notice of what great significance it is that those who are praying be righteous. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Psalm 66:18). God’s promises are to those who humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways. His promises are to the righteous. We can be sure God will keep His part of His promises. The question is, are we keeping our part? We must let God’s Word search our hearts. Throughout the National Day of Prayer the word "Repent" was heard again and again. This concerns Christians as well as unbelievers. Oh God, lead the hearts of all of us to repent, to turn from all sin, that You as a holy God, might honor our sincere prayers and do as You have said You would do!

    Many of you reader friends outside U.S.A. are intercessors for your nation. We encourage you in this. We can all be thankful for the Christian leaders who invest time and effort to encourage and prepare Christians of every denomination as well as the undenominational, to gather for prayer as well as to pray individually.

    Here in Newton, an estimated gathering of about 50 Christians met at noon on the court house lawn. Overhead nearby was our nation’s flag, vigorously flapping in the Kansas winds. We are thankful to be under that flag. This nation has provided us with innumerable opportunities and blessings and liberties. But who of us American Christians does not have to acknowledge with sorrow and shame that much of the valued heritage of this land, which was brought forth by the providence of God and has been sustained by His gracious and undeserved mercies, is eroding away?

    Much as we are thankful to be under the flag of America, we are more than thankful to be also under the Banner of the Cross and to have citizenship also in the Kingdom of Heaven. Together, reader friends scattered throughout the world, we are citizens of a kingdom whose builder and maker is God. The Kingdom is as holy and righteous and eternal as He is! Still, while we are here on this earth, we have responsibility for the earthly nation in which God has placed us. Our prayers for governments are tied in with the salvation of "all men."

    "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

    At the Newton court house meeting, local pastors present and a revival-burdened layman, took the microphone in turn to lead the group to God in prayer. For good reason there was a solemn tone to the prayers. Sin of every sort rages and ravages across the land. Oh God, "In wrath remember mercy!" (Habakkuk 3:2). Let judgment be swallowed up in mercy!

    In the evening a small group gathered at a local church to participate by television in the nation-wide Concert of Prayer directed by Mission America and America’s National Prayer Committee. Modern technology made it possible to switch back and forth between four locations where gatherings were in progress--from Washington, D.C. and New York City on the east coast, to the state of Washington, and Van Nuys, California on the west coast.

    A number of Christian leaders, representing several nationalities, led in pointed exhortation, or in united reading of Scripture pictured on the screen, and in prayer. Congregations in the host churches as well as television viewers broke up into triplets and took part in prayer. The first section focused on praise and thanksgiving to God. This was followed by humbling of ourselves and prayers of repentance. The concluding emphasis was on hope and expectation for the future, and exhortation to continue in prayer.

United Call to Prayer

    A day of united prayer inspires us to give ourselves with fresh zeal to prayer as we sense anew the potential in it. Will you take to heart the call issued by Mission America and America’s National Prayer Committee, as they urge us to maintain united action by observing five "rhythms of prayer":

    "1. By daily spending time with the Lord in prayer and in the reading of His Word so as to yield ourselves fully to the control and empowerment of the Holy Spirit
     2. By weekly humbling ourselves before God by designating a day (Friday, if possible) for united prayer with fasting, as the Lord leads
    3. By monthly designating, in individual churches, one service for concerted prayer emphasizing this call, with special focus on its neighborhood applications
     4. By quarterly assembling in multi-church prayer events emphasizing this call, with special focus on its citywide applications
   5. By annually participating in nation-wide prayer events emphasizing this call, with special focus on its national and global applications."

Our Sacred Privilege, Our Solemn Responsibility

    It is a sacred privilege for us Christians to go to God in prayer. God has planned and Christ has provided a wonderful open door into the Holy of Holies. It beckons us to enter boldly through the Blood of Jesus and by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to ask and receive. Oh then, let us go regularly! Let us go unselfishly, for the sake of Him who plans and eagerly awaits our coming, and for the sake of those who so urgently need us to go on their behalf.

    A touching incident happened in a severe tornado in neighboring Oklahoma. The furious winds swept a little child hardly a year old, out of the home away from the family into the darkness of the storm. Later, during daylight hours, a policeman on duty in the devastated area, noticed amid debris lodged around the base of a tree, what appeared to be a baby. It was the child, alive but covered from head to toe with mud. The policeman gently picked up the child and took her to his patrol car and set her on the hood (bonnet) while he briefly checked her to see if there were serious injuries. There did not appear to be.

    The little tot began with weakened voice to cry and she reached out her little arms to the policeman in a plea to be sheltered again in those strong, caring arms. The policeman picked her up not minding her muddied body and clothes against his neat uniform, and whisked her away to the hospital for a thorough examination and for restoration to her family.

    Do you not see here a picture of souls muddied by sin, swept and mauled in the fearful darkness but reaching out with pathetic cry for caring arms? Can we not carry them with our prayers and whatever help we can give, to the Saviour, who will restore them to the Father’s family? Maybe we ourselves feel like that storm-tossed tot, so greatly needing the cleansing and healing touch of the Saviour. We can humbly acknowledge by outstretched arms to the Saviour and with tears of repentance, that we need His forgiveness and restoration. He will see our tears; He will hear our cries; He will take us into His arms and His heart to the Father. "Precious hiding place, in the shelter of His love!"