“Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the LORD is coming, For it is at hand: So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.” Joel 2:1, 13 (NKJ)
On July 1st, Anne Graham Lotz launched a worldwide initiative entitled, “777: An Urgent Call to Prayer.” Followers of Jesus Christ are asked to “return to God, rend our hearts, repent of our sin, and cry out to God for mercy on behalf of our nation.” Pray is the battle cry and weapon! So during the 7th month (July) and on the first 7 days of July special prayers are lifted to God as we examine our hearts and the heart of this nation through the lens of prayer.
“Calling upon the Lord” in united prayer was frequently done in the Old Testament. Israel’s kings often sought Jehovah’s favor when faced with threats from without and within (2 Chron. 14:11-12; 20:4-15). Their prayers included fasting, confession of sin and immediate repentance. Old Testament prophets not only spoke on behalf of God but also “cried out” (Daniel 9:1-19) on behalf of their countrymen. Whether experiencing good times, threats of war, or even during times of exile, there was always someone who would pray for the restoration of God’s people.
It’s not unusual for the people of God to unite in prayer in response to national needs. Every year on the first Thursday in May, Christians join together for the National Day of Prayer. In Kansas City, there are numerous ecumenical groups that lay aside their denominational differences to pray for the city (down to specific zip codes), the state, the nation, and the world. These groups understand the power and purpose of prayer. They “come boldly to the throne of God” consistently and expectantly (Heb. 11:6). During both World Wars, leaders around the world would call upon their constituents to pray for the success of their military efforts. America, during those times, gladly professed to be “one nation under God.”
Now, this July, believers are asked to respond to this “urgent call to prayer.” There can be no greater calling! My concern with Ms. Lotz’s initiative, however, is whether we, individually or collectively as a nation, will genuinely “return, rend, and repent”? Will we rise from our knees truly repentant and committed to an obedient relationship with the Father or will we return to business as usual? Are our prayers merely urgent but not authentic?
It is time for believers to undertake the gauntlet of prayer especially as we enter into these final days before the return of Christ (1 Thess. 5:17). Prayer should not be seen as a last resort but instead the “indispensable necessity” for both spiritual transformation and social reformation. As we enter into serious prayer we must prepare our hearts through true confession and earnest repentance “for godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). If we are to be fruitful in our prayer life, we must enter into it “soberly, humbly, and confidently” (1 John 5:14). To begin this prayer journey, WordBytes invites you to join us as we focus this month’s teachings on the prayer-filled life.
Good to the Last Drop…
Learn more about 777: An Urgent Call to Pray at the AnGel Ministries website. It’s not too late to engage in the daily readings which will truly transform your thinking about prayer.