GRACE TO DIE
Isaiah 57:15 Amp. For thus says the high and lofty One—He Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, but with him also who is of a thoroughly penitent and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the thoroughly penitent [bruised with sorrow for sin].
This passage equates the holy place with the heart that is broken and contrite. If there is truly contrition in a person’s heart, God is therein able to find a place to come and to occupy, and He will. The way He must work with us may seem strange to us, because of our soul. Our soul needs a doctor every minute of the day. Temporal doctors do not want to go in and break in order to heal. I am sure they would prefer to be able to heal in any other way. I hope what I am going to say does not seem offensive to you, but the Lord finds holy delight in breaking the power of the soul so that the Spirit can reign. He loves making His dwelling place within us. He loves His people whom He has made. His Spirit is ever calling, “Come higher. Go deeper. Expand your horizons in God.”
Something good happened to dear friends of mine early this week. I will not go into details, however, when it occurred, I went into my prayer closet. I humbly and quietly said to the Lord, “I’m so happy and excited that You have blessed them in this way. However, with what You have asked us to do, it feels like we also need such a blessing if we’re going to prosper in our obedience.” He responded by taking me to His Word. He led me to the book of Hebrews, and it was all about going into the holy of holies. As I read, verse by verse, each Scripture was like a new deposit of His holiness. It was similar to walking into a lake. I began at the shallow end, and as I kept reading in Hebrews, the verses took me deeper and deeper, down into the depths of this deposit. He gave it to me until my whole soul was fully saturated like a sponge that had absorbed the beauty of His holiness. I was brought to such a place of brokenness of Spirit, of contrition and humility, that at the last verse I could not receive any more of what He was giving me.
Then He said to me, “You made a covenant with Me to always depend upon Me. I will supply the resources for all I give you to do, right on time. So, I want you to enjoy this moment and remember our covenant.” That brokenness stayed with me all week. Contrition calls our soul out of the dependency on the things of the world and calls us into dependency on the beauty of who He is. I feel so overwhelmed with His loveliness and His faithfulness. I am not saying that the blessings that my friends received were not from the Lord. He was blessing them in the way that He wanted to bless them, praise His holy Name. However, that day, He had something else that He wanted to say to me with which to bless me, a blessing far greater than any temporal blessing, as He gave me part of Himself.
I will let you take a peek into a very intimate place. Just remember to look at Him and not at me, okay? As I was entering into the very depths of the Holy of Holies, He took me up into His Spirit. I found myself taken into an expanse of Divine Love. It was as if wrapped in a bubble of God, with the stability of love, peace, joy, and holiness. That place breaks the pride and the self-life until you feel one with Him.
Isaiah 57:15 Amp. For thus says the high and lofty One—He Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, but with him also who is of a thoroughly penitent and humble spirit….
When we become truly broken over our self-life, we see ourselves the way we really are. And when we see, we do not run or get offended with God, but we find ourselves more broken before Him over the true condition of our fleshly vessel, just as was Paul (Rom 7:18). We want to do what is right, but often we feel so self-righteous in what we have done wrong that we end up doing the wrong thing again in running. I think we all have experienced that. He dwells with the one who is contrite. His desire is to rid us of self-idolatry.
About twenty years ago, He took me through a time where I made every wrong decision a person could make. These were not decisions to sin, but rather, I thought that I was supposed to go to a certain place, and it turned out I was not supposed to go there. This continued happening. Finally, I was so frustrated that I broke down and cried. I said to the Lord, “How am I ever going to be a shepherd of Your sheep when I can’t shepherd me?” He responded to me with the strangest statement, “I have been in this season.” I said, “You?” He said, “There is a part of you that has been a great strength in your Christian walk, but it was you. I had to break it. My wisdom confounds the wise. As long as you think you are wise, you’re going to have to be confounded before Me for awhile.” Being there doesn’t feel like a safe place when you’re going through it, does it? He said, “When I have broken this thing, I will use you as the foolish one to confound the wise. Are you willing?” I said, “Lord, You know no one likes to look foolish.” He asked again, “Are you willing?” I said, “Lord, I don’t have a particular need to confound the wise. I just want to please You.” Again, He asked, “Are you willing?” I responded, “Uh—” He waited silently.
I do not know how much time passed, but finally I said, “Alright, Lord. This has not been fun. It’s been very scary.” Then He said, “But now you know I’m in it, and I will keep you through it. Let Me break this pride in you.” So He takes us through these avenues of divinely directed lessons.
There is a very fun story about a friend of mine. He was saved, and he realized that he was called as a prophet. At the time, he was a professional golfer. Day and night, he cried out to the Lord to see His face. Every day, he would cry out, “I want You to come to me. I will go through anything to see Your face.” The Lord did not say, “Okay, we’re going to start today.” What happened instead was that he would go out to practice his golf before the tournament every morning. He would hit perfect shots every time. Later that same day, during the match, he would hit the ball, and it would go every place except where it was supposed to go. He said, “It would go out into the water or into the trees—any place but toward the green. Now remember, he was a professional golfer. There were companies who were spending a lot of money on him, believing he was going to make money for them. He was in insufferable pain because his pride could not take the embarrassment of the almost daily failure.”
Nevertheless, after the match, he would return to his room and throw himself on the floor. He would cry, “Why are You doing this to me? What did I do to offend You? How did I hurt You? What is wrong?” After his many tears, the Lord would appear to Him. He finally said to him, “This is our agreement. You would let me do anything that you would need in order to see My face. So I’m here to talk to you.” Then He spoke to him about the mysteries of the world and of the kingdom.
The next day, he would go out to practice his golf. He was an excellent golfer, and every ball would go exactly where it was supposed to go. Then the game started. He told me, “I would hit the ball, and it would even go backwards! There isn’t any place that ball wouldn’t go.” You wouldn’t want to be a caddy around a golfer like that. He said, “By the end of the game, I was in so much pain because I was so ashamed. It was unbearable. My pride was being severely affected, and so was my pocketbook.”
This went on for a whole year. Every day, he went to his room and wept. He cried to the Lord, “What do I need to repent of? What is wrong? Why are You doing this to me?” Have you ever felt that way? Then the Lord would appear to him, and say, “Now you’re ready to talk.” So, they would talk. At the end of the year, he was kicked off the Pro Tournament circuit, but He had developed an awesome relationship with the Lord.
Many, many years ago, I came up to the pulpit in the Church in which I was ministering. Every time I started to speak in English, it came out in tongues. I could not communicate at all. The Lord was reproving me because I did not do something He told me to do. God is so kind and faithful to reprove us when we really need it. Sometimes we need it so badly, He brings in a friend to make sure the message is clear. When I could not talk, and it kept coming out in tongues, my friend, the pastor, got up and stormed up to the middle of the room.
He pointed his finger right in my face and said, “You are in sin! You have not done what God told you to do!” I could not believe he would do that to me. I stared at him in shocked amazement. He then said, “He told you to quit using notes and that He wanted to start speaking through you impromptu. Here you are using notes, and He’s not going to release your tongue until you repent.” You have to understand, I was very methodical. I was a teacher, so everything was outlined. The congregation gasped at what was happening. So I had to tell them, “Your pastor is right; I am wrong. God did say that to me. He is being a friend up here, pointing his finger in my face, because now you can hear what the Lord has to say because I am repenting.”
When God wants to occupy, He has to break down the old to establish the new. We can stubbornly hold onto our pride and our wonderful love of self, but then the Lord cannot occupy. What we want in this life is His occupation. His glory is about to come. He is soon going to visit His Church. We must not look at this tremendous appearance of the Holy One as a time when Church is finally going to be fun. Instead, look at it as a graveyard where you are going to go to die. People may be dancing in the aisles, and God is going to be wonderful, but if a gloriously fun circus is what you are looking for, you are missing the whole point. God wants you to come and die so that you can be His habitation.
In New Orleans, when we looked at the place to rent that became The Sanctuary, you could almost see a pitiful look on the owner’s face that said, “If you really want this trash, you can have it.” I had a similar look as well because I really did not want it, but it was all that was available in the area where the Lord told us to set up camp. Our team gathered together to discuss it. Finally, we decided to take it. I was the last one to agree, incidentally. It needed so much work. We would need to gut this place. Every time we thought we had gutted enough, we had to gut some more before we could refurbish it. When we finished our work it was beautiful. Tony and Danny did such an extraordinary job, even the owner could not believe it was the same property.
That is a picture of what God has to do in us. He has to gut all of the paraphernalia, all of the images that we have established, and all of our human passion and desire. It sounds so painful, doesn’t it? It is, but if we really allow Him to remove all this stuff in a season of the altar, painful though it may be at times, it is in the end worth whatever He asks of us. Do you realize that when you sing songs such as “All Consuming Fire! You’re my heart’s desire,” you are saying that the pain of the fire is your desire? Nevertheless, in that place is love and life in its fullness. In that place is unfeigned faith and the experiential knowledge of God.
If He is trying to correct you in an area, and you are running from the correction, seeking instead to sit at the feet of someone who will feel sorry for you while you feel sorry for yourself, then God is not going to be there at the end of that. He wants you to embrace correction. Complaining, moaning, and groaning will not help you in Him. It will not produce what He wants to produce in you. I saw today pillars filled with the fire of God. They were extraordinarily beautiful to gaze upon. When the fire has affected its most holy work, your inside is so beautiful to Him it becomes an open invitation for Him to come, stay and reign. That is what He desires. He is not disciplining you because He is angry with you. He is chastening you that He might fill you with Himself. He is like the master sculptor who chisels away little by little until, at last, He has before Him what He can fill with Himself. (Heb.12:10)
If this is the truth, then what is our responsibility in the fire? Hit the dust in humility, and with praise! This is your sacrifice of praise when you do not understand. Praise Him for His goodness. Praise Him for His faithfulness when it looks like He is not being faithful. In this time, you learn thankfulness and stability because in every situation when it looks impossible, somehow He always comes through. If you fail in the test; not to worry! Just stand up, repent, and move on. You may go around the mountain three, four, or even twelve times, but keep moving around and upwards with each lap. You might say, “Okay, I have seen this side of the mountain fifteen times now; I would like to learn the lesson.”
Even if you are just inching up a couple of inches, that is better than nothing. As long as you are trying, God will keep working with you. If you stand there and say to Him, “I can’t do it—only You can,” then He shakes His head and asks a question. “What about laboring together? Did we have something about that in My Word?” If you make the decision, “Lord, You have to do this, because I can’t,” then you are going to stay stuck right where you are. You must labor together with Him or you will not grow. He will not do for us what He already knows we can do. He will take us by the hand, put His fingers in our little fingers, and He will teach us how to walk. But a baby that does not want to walk will not walk. When you take your fingers out of his little hands, what does he do? He sits down. So when Papa comes back, where is he? It is the same with us. If that is the way we are going to behave, He will let us stay there forever. However, as long as we are working toward the goal, desiring His help, and are willing to humble ourselves in the fire with a teachable and correctable heart, then He can work with us. He will correct, teach, and bring us through to our desired end.
We are looking for a visitation from God. We can call it a habitation because that is really what we are looking for, but it is for the purpose of the knowledge of God… to be transformed into His image. Then we can become all that He has created us to be and experience all that He wants us to experience. For whose pleasure were we created? His. Not ours? Are you sure that is what you are looking for? “You may say, “Yeah, but I like going to movies sometimes.” No, this is not the way.. If you have time to go to a movie, you have time to pray and be in the Word. You have time to be learning His ways. Be correctable and teachable. When He says to you, “Deal with this area in your soul,” then deal with it. Don’t sit before Him and say, “I cannot change. If it’s ever going to happen, You’re going to have to do it for me.”
This is a holy thing that I am going to share with you. This is a tiny bit of one man’s testimony. When he went to get saved, he did not do it to merely better his life. He was an extremely intelligent attorney, the leader of the choir, and highly respected in his community. He had many friends. The Spirit of the Lord called him out of all of that into Himself. So he thought that the first thing he needed to do was to get saved. Mind you, he was in Church every Sunday; he led the choir. However, he realized he needed to get out of what had become a religious service and get saved to get to God.
Early one morning, he went out to the woods. He was determined to either give His heart to the Lord and get saved or die trying. In the woods, he found that he could not even pray because his heart was so lifted up in pride. Have you ever experienced your real heart before the Lord? As God began to show him the pride that was in his heart, he began to weep, wail, and cry out to God, but he did not know how to get saved. He thought that certainly his pride had ruled him out. I am going to share with you what this man experienced, in his own words, before it was over. He was not like the average believer today who wants to be saved to make his life a little better. No, Charles Finney went out to the woods to be transformed and to die. In Finney’s own words, he describes what happened that evening after being out in the woods the entire day, wailing, crying, and groaning because he could not get rid of his pride.
“There was no fire, and no light, in the room; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It did not occur to me then, nor did it for some time afterward, that it was a wholly mental state. On the contrary, it seemed that I saw Him as I would see any other man.”
Remember, this was in 1821. It was not like today where so many people have visions, and we know and understand them. This was a day when visions were very, very rare. He saw the Lord face to face.
“He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at His feet. I have always since regarded this as a most remarkable state of mind; for it seemed to me a reality that He stood before me, and I fell down at His feet and poured out my soul to Him. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. It seemed to me that I bathed His feet with my tears; and yet I had no distinct impression that I had touched Him, that I could recollect.
“I must have continued in this state for a good while; but my mind was too much absorbed with the interview to recollect anything that I said. But I know, as soon as my mind became calm enough to break off from the interview, I returned to the front office, and found that the fire that I had made of large wood was nearly burned out. But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul.
“I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can recollect distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings. No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love, and I do not know but I should say, I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of my heart. These waves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, “I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.” I said, “Lord, I cannot bear any more;” yet I had no fear of death.
“How long I continued in this state, with this baptism continuing to roll over me and go through me, I do not know. But I know it was late in the evening when a member of my choir—for I was the leader of the choir—came into my office to see me.”
Charles G. Finney, Memoirs (NY: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1876)
Finney went out to the woods to leave everything behind and to die. He had already made a covenant with the Lord by saying, “If You will save me, I will leave my Law Practice, and I will serve You the rest of the days of my life.” He went out thinking that when he got done, Finney would not return, but the new man in Christ would return. He knew he could not make his life his own anymore. He knew that God had placed him under a covenant relationship which meant that his old life had passed, and he was going to be taken into the new. He went far into the new in an era where the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was not even a consideration. He belonged to a Presbyterian Church. God taught him how to know, study, and be developed by the Word. He learned how to enter into the deeper things of Christ, and he entered into union before he died.
From his earliest days as a Christian, God taught him. He sat with his open Bible in front of him, and he wept and wailed for the truth. His friend, who knew what had happened to him and believed in him completely, sat beside him and wept along with him. They would wail for God to open the mysteries of the Word to Finney. What Finney taught was so new to that era that the pastor of the Presbyterian Church thought that this man was into every kind of false doctrine there was, starting with his belief that the doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was not for the Church of his time. Finney not only went out to die in the woods, but the very place where he thought his soul would be nurtured became his casket. God lit a fire inside that man, and that fire burned and burned. It burned so much, the persecution from the Presbyterian Church only caused the fire to grow more intense. When it was finally time, God sent Finney forth to carry revival wherever he went.
There was a city to which he was invited. When he arrived there, he walked around the city and surveyed it with his mind and eyes. Thoughts came to mind of what he needed to preach to the people. He sent out invitations to the entire city to come out and hear what he had to say. During the worship, God gave him the text, “Up, get you out of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city.” He preached on Abraham and Lot, and the destruction of Sodom, and before long, the people were so angry with him that they were grinding their teeth. He pressed the message upon them with a heart almost bursting. Suddenly, an awful solemnity seemed to settle upon the people. They fell to their knees, crying for mercy.
Later, he learned that the community was so desperately wicked that they had called themselves, “Sodom.” The only Christian in it was the one who had invited him to preach, and they had named him “Lot.”
Finney had so many of these kinds of experiences where people were about ready to tear him apart, and then the Spirit fell, after which they all got saved. He had two suits and he traveled from place to place on a horse. He went through three wives. One time, he put his new wife in their new home, and he went out to preach and did not come back as long as she was alive. He did not do this on purpose, of course; he loved her enough to marry her. But the Spirit of the Lord was carrying him from place to place to deal with this nation.
If you are looking for revival to experience fun things, you need to readjust your understanding and your heart. Someone might think that revival makes everything easier. Not so; revival makes things a little harder. You have to be willing to give up whatever He asks once revival falls in order to maintain it. If He calls you at two o’clock in the morning to get up and pray, you do not say, “Okay, I’ll get up with you at four, Lord,” and go back to sleep. You go to revival to die. I know that when the Brownsville Revival happened, they would give wonderful, incredible testimonies for an hour, but I want you to know something. The revival that happened at Brownsville was not the kind of revival that happened under Finney, the reason being because Finney was willing to die. He raised up children just like himself.
If all you want to do is make religion fun, God cannot dwell there. That is a temporary visitation. God wants to find a people who will come and pray whenever the doors are open to pray, if there is any way you can. Once prayer brings forth the baby, come and die. Come up to the altar and weep and pour your heart out until God has broken the hardness of your prideful heart. Do this because you want to be His dwelling place — His habitation. Come and cry, weep, and travail. Come and break before the Lord.
I just love it when I take an altar call and I say, “Come up and repent of your sins,” and what I hear is prayer in the Spirit. I wonder, “How are you repenting of your sins, praying in tongues?” God understands your tongues, but I do not see a broken heart over your sins. Break your heart over the things that break His. Now you are preparing a place for His Spirit to enter and do a work. Eventually, you are preparing a place for Him to dwell.
My dear friends, I am telling you the truth as a friend. We have to come to a place of understanding how to grow in Christ. This nation is about to go through a very, very difficult time. Personally, I would like to go there in a Spirit of Revival. I do not know about you, but I think we do not have the grace today for where we are going. The only way to get it is to be enlarged in capacity in God. This means we have to have our spirit eyes opened and our spirit revived. Our biggest problem as a Church is that because we dream, we think we are awake. In reality, we are asleep. Sometimes when we wake up from a dream, we say, “Boy, was that real!” That is where we live. We think we are awake because we know something with our minds.
Years ago, I had received so many visitations from the Lord, the Father, and from angels which showed the future. That was great except the future I saw was horrible. The Lord said to me, “I’m going to send you out. In every Church, I want you to share the things I’ve been giving you.” So I went, and every Church was filled to capacity. Many of them had overflow rooms that were also full. The people wanted to hear what the angels said. When they left the week of meetings, they felt so enlarged and super-spiritual. They felt like they had met God and had been changed.
After a few months, I would call the pastor back to see how the people were doing. His Church was on fire when I left, with the people at the altars crying. They thought they were ready to charge into whatever God called them to. You know how it goes, right? I asked the pastor, “How are they doing?” He said, “It was not easy to see the fire go out. It went out pretty quickly.” I said, “That’s so sad.” He said, “Nita, they think they’re so spiritual because now they know everything you told them. I don’t understand this. They’re so asleep, and they think they’re wide awake because they heard the things the angels had to say.” I said, “Oh my! Is that for real?” He said, “That’s for real.”
I went through Church after Church, and I came to a place of realizing that the Church has it all wrong. The Bible says that the song of the prophet is a lovely song (Ezek 33:32). The Church thinks they can hear what the prophets are experiencing and saying, and then they can go and live their life the way they have always lived it. They think they have prospered by the word of the prophet. You have to quit doing that.
Come to Church to meet Jesus. When you meet Him, you have to be willing to die if you are going to be part of Him. James warned us not to look into the mirror and walk away and forget what we have read because then we deceive ourselves (James 1:22). What we want and need from Christ is His power to die and His resurrection to bring us back again. Give me the grace to die, Lord. Give me the grace to come to where You are, to be willing to see what I need to see, and to change what I need to change. Give me the grace. If you are not praying for that grace, dying is going to be impossible. You must have His grace, and the only way to maintain it is in prayer. The Word is also vitally important, or you will lose your way, but the Word without prayer will not bring forth the fruit that God wants to bring forth in you. You have to plow up the fallow ground, which means a lot of repentance is required. People do not really like to repent because that means they have to change. Plow up the fallow ground.
I am feeling His heart right now. Jesus does not want to walk by the earth of the Church today and see one field after another untouched. He throws the seed into the field and what happens? The birds of the air come and take it away very easily because the ground has not been plowed. You must make repentance a way of life until God has broken the power of the self-life. When the power of the self-life is broken, there will not be so much need for repentance because you will be wholly yielded to the Spirit of the Lord.
It is amazing to me when people say, “I’ve repented. I’ve changed,” and they have not changed at all. They have deceived themselves. There must be change; the Spirit of the Lord will provoke it. He will put a desire in your heart that is so passionate to be more like Jesus. Then you will not be able to stand the self-life.
Jesus said to Martha, “Take away the stone.” (John 11:39) Martha said, “But the flesh, Lord, it stinks.” That is where we are today. The Lord is saying, “Take away the stone from your heart.” We say, “The flesh stinks.” He knows it stinks; it stinks to Him, too. He wants that stone removed so that He can gain entrance into that private place where He has to inhale all of those fumes from the stench so that He can create in you a new heart. He desires to give you the strength, grace, power, and nobility to be all that He wants you to be.
Paul said, “I am the least of the apostles.” (1 Cor 15:9) He did not think that in the beginning, but before his life was over, he said he was the least. Humility comes in brokenness and contrition results. We want humility because we want Christ. This is the most beautiful Gospel in the world because Jesus is teaching you how to hate that self-life so that He can give you Christ. As long as you want everyone to think how beautiful and wonderful you are, you will never let Him into those places in you He must touch to bring you into the nobility of the Son.
Let’s believe God for revival. Let’s believe God that He is going to send His Kingdom into the earth and produce in the Church what His lofty heart wants to produce. If there is any way you can come to the services to pray or pray along with us via the web streaming or the online intercessor’s vault, come and pray. Tell your friends about it. Don and Lin Warner are heading our Joel’s Army prayer ministry. By the help of the Holy Spirit, we are building an army of intercessors across this nation. Intercessors are calling us from other nations now who want to be a part, either of this army, or to set up and establish the same thing in their own country. This is wonderful, because now we have foreigners praying for America. We have a Church in Shanghai that prays with us. Whenever they find out that we are praying, they call their whole Church to gather and pray at the same time. When we had the Gathering here in Seattle last year about this time; their Church prayed in Shanghai during the entire Gathering. Isn’t that amazing? To this day, they are keeping up with us in prayer. Why is it the people of Shanghai can do it, and the people of America just want to sit in an easy chair and pray a little bit?
When a woman goes into the labor room, she does not say to the doctor, “Look, I’ll go through this if you’ll get me out of here in an hour.” She does not even give the doctor three hours. She is in it until she hears that screaming baby. I cannot remember how many hours my daughter, Ricci, was in labor. I think it was three days with her youngest, and a lot of it was very painful, tough labor. The doctor said, “You know, it probably wouldn’t hurt if you wanted to exercise.” Ricci was an avid exerciser. She was in labor, but she ran up and down the steps, trying to help Grant decide to come out. After a day and a half of labor, she couldn’t say, “I don’t like this. You come out now or Mom’s out of here. No more pain!” The Church needs to bring forth the baby amidst the pain of change, remaining fully committed to stay the course until our prayers have accomplished God’s intended objective. What will happen when God really comes like that? I can promise you that life will change.
Let’s look at Joel, because Joel tells us who is called to come and pray.
Joel 2:12-18 Amp. Therefore also now, says the Lord, turn and keep on coming to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning [until every hindrance is removed and the broken fellowship is restored.] Rend your hearts and not your garments and return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness; and He revokes His sentence of evil [when His conditions are met]. Who knows but what He will turn, revoke your sentence [of evil], and leave a blessing behind Him [giving you the means with which to serve Him], even a cereal or meal offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion; set apart a fast [a day of restraint and humility]; call a solemn assembly. Gather the people, sanctify the congregation; assemble the elderly people, gather the children and the nursing infants; let the bridegroom [who is legally exempt from attending] go forth from his chamber and the bride out of her closet. [None is exempt from the humiliation.] Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; and let them say, Have pity and spare Your people, O Lord, and give not Your heritage to reproach, that the [heathen] nations should rule over them or use a byword against them. Why should they say among the peoples, Where is their God? Then was the Lord jealous for His land and had pity on His people.
See, the elderly are included. Gather the children. “The children; for an all-night prayer meeting?” The Bible includes them. It is a humiliation meeting. It is not a “bless-me club,” where someone prays for you and prophecies over you. No one is exempt from the humiliation. Who else is invited? The priests and the ministers of the Lord! In verse 18, it says that then the Lord was jealous for His land and had pity on His people.
Where are the weepers? Where are those who are not afraid to lay before the altar and moan, groan, weep, and wail? My dear friends, America is in trouble. God is the only one who can fix us. He is the only one who can come, visit His people, and save them from the terrors of the days ahead. Why don’t we pray? Why don’t we gather together the priests and the lay people? Why don’t we gather together anyone we can find and say, “Come with us to the house of the Lord. Let us find His face while there is still time.”
Right now, we are looking down the barrel of the gun, and we still cannot see how serious it is. If we do not open our eyes and start doing the extraordinary, the gun is going to go off. However, we can stop it. He said He would leave behind a blessing. You have no idea how much we can stop if we will just pray and repent. Will a few people save a nation? No. He goes down the list, and He has the whole Nation included. You think you are exempt? No. Even the women who were not allowed in the deeper places of the temple were invited. No one is exempt.
How bad does it have to get before we will pray? The economy has come so close to failing so many times. I cannot tell you how many times the Lord has spoken to me, “I want you to stop what you’re doing. Go into your prayer closet. I’ll give you instruction when you get there.” Later, I found out that the instruction He gave me stopped the crash that was going to happen that day. What do we have to look at before we decide we do not want to entertain ourselves with Egypt anymore? We want to go in and give God the best of the priestly gift that He has given us, and we want to intercede for this nation so that we can stop the worst.
Some people say, “Well, why do you worry about it? Don’t you know that the Word says that man will not learn righteousness until God’s judgments are in the earth?” What you are trying to say to me is that God needs to send an earthquake straight through the middle of a city, tearing it to shreds, with thousands of people dying because we did not bother to pray. What about those who died and went to hell because they did not know the judgment of God? Is that okay for us? No. It is not okay for God, either. He does not want to send what He is going to have to send. Thankfully, we have come to a place in this nation through intercession that the worst is not going to happen for a long time. But still, He will have to discipline us to bring us into His best because we will not discipline ourselves. Because we will not do it, He will have to.
Get your friends, your loved ones, and the neighbor next door, and invite them to come to one of our prayer meetings, to join us online, or to come to a Joel’s Army prayer cell. I have been feeling the tears of the Lord upon my heart over this. Pray like you have never prayed before. God is willing to listen. Hunger for Him like Finney did. Do not come out of the woods until you are changed. Pray so that God is moving to change this nation. You have that power with Him if you will use it.
In His Love,