“If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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 7:14For several weeks we have been increasingly suffering from the results of the Coronavirus pandemic here in America; and there have been many calls for the Church (defined as ALL Christians, both individually and corporately) to fast and pray to our God for healing. However, there is one essential word missing in those calls. We haven’t heard a cry for public humiliation, fasting and prayer such as those spread throughout the Bible1 and Christianity’s past history2.
It seems today’s Church has largely forgotten this most important, yet priceless element:
If ever there is to be a national healing and revival it must be preceded by repentance.
Is this a “teachable moment”, as they say? Is God trying to speak to us in this storm? If so, we will not hear Him without humbling ourselves before our Almighty God who is Lord over all.
As we approach the National Day of Prayer on May 7, would it not be appropriate for us to bow down before God with the deepest humility and petition Him to make clear the reasons why He has sent this crisis to us all?
Hear how Daniel put it,
“All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against Him… As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth.” (Daniel 9:11,13)
Throughout biblical history, God sent plagues, natural catastrophes, and man-caused disasters to accomplish His purposes for His people. Consider the Flood; the plagues upon Egypt; the 7 years of drought that led to the growth of the nation of Israel; the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity in Babylon; the second destruction of Jerusalem through Rome; and the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire, among others. Each and every time, God had a purpose and a plan, and His people were brought to their collective knees in humility to examine their collective sins, beg for His mercy, and seek His guidance.
Will our current crisis compare to these when the dust settles? At this point, who knows? It is certainly nothing to ignore. We actually couldn’t if we tried. It has invaded every home in the modern world and is deeply affecting the lives of countless millions around the world. But in America in particular it is having an effect that will linger long past the lifespan of this virus.
For us, God’s people, who have inherited the innumerable blessings of living in the only nation in history to be built upon the precepts of a Judeo-Christian worldview, is it possible that this is God’s judgment upon this “nation under God” for our gradual rejection of Him over the last 150 years?
The question is, how should the Church respond? Might we be missing this most critical element necessary to learn from this tragedy? Again, our Christian fathers always began by looking inward. If anyone is going to learn from this calamity God has sent to us, it must be God’s people.
Therefore, what are we not seeing that, if ignored, will keep God from releasing us from captivity and healing our land? Let's humbly ask ourselves, what should we do that we’re not doing and what should we turn from that we are doing?
Here are a few possibilities:
- Have we not abandoned our responsibility to be Salt and Light in the nation?
- Have we not surrendered our children to be educated by the state – within a system that hates God, Christ, and Christianity?
- Have we not allowed abortion to continue, marriage and gender to be redefined, and “science” to reign over God?
1 Peter 4:17 says, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God”
Therefore, let us commit together to humble ourselves, seek His face, pray to hear His voice of correction, and change our direction - - and may God hear our prayer and heal our land!
Proverbs 28:13 - He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Jonah 3:10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it. Revelation 3:19 - Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore, be zealous and repent. Jeremiah 31:19 - ‘For after I turned back, I repented; And after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed and also humiliated Because I bore the reproach of my youth.’ Joel 2:12-13 - “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.
Congress issued a proclamation recommending "a day of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer" be observed by the "English Colonies" on Thursday, July 20, 1775.
General George Washington acknowledged a day of "fasting, humiliation and prayer" proclaimed by the Continental Congress to be held on Thursday, May 6, 1779.
In March 1780, Congress announced a day of "fasting, humiliation and prayer" to be held on Wednesday, April 26, 1780.
On April 30, 1863, in the midst of the horrific Civil War in America, Abraham Lincoln called for a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer (read his profound proclamation HERE)