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September 1988


Editorial Comment

The Misunderstanding of the Mission Agencies

1. Is the Mission Field "Overseas"? 2. Are Lay Tentmakers the Manpower Answer?

SEPs: Partnering for Kingdom Profits

Paraclete Mission Group: Fostering Cooperation Among Agencies at USCWM

For Wan of a Secretary Might the War Be Lost?

At the Center

Malcom Hunter and the Adopt-A-People Concept

Adopt-A-People: Alive and Growing

Why God Will Not Bring Revival in America

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Why God Will Not Bring Revival in America Perspectives on the Call to 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

—Phil Bogosian

Recently, the National Prayer Summit, in cooperation with the National Prayer Committee and Intercessors for America have called Christians in the U.S. to “40 days of repentence, prayer and fasting for America” (see back cover of MF, last issue).

There is no question that such a call is needed and could have a tremendous impact on the work of God’s kingdom. However, for such fasting and prayer to be effective, definite Biblical conditions must be met.

Most of the current rhetoric about revival and repentence simply focuses on asking God to remove evil practices such as abortion, drug abuse, etc., from our land; to remove drought and economic distress; to restore peace and prosperity to the land; and to bless our churches. The entire aim is to bless us and to make our lives more comfortable.

Astoundingly, few if any references are made to the problem of disobedience to the major command Christ gave His church: to make disciples of all nations.

Acts 6:32 and John 14:15-24 make it very clear that the Lord pours out His Spirit, bringing blessing and fellowship with Him, only as we obey Him. In fact, almost every reference our Lord made to the sending of the Holy Spirit was to fulfill the Great Commission. Check out Mark 16:15-18, Luke 24:47-49, John 20:21-22, Acts 1:8.

With reference to fasting and prayer, revival and missions, Isaiah 58 is remarkably pertinent. The Lord through Isaiah says Israel has been seeking Him day by day with fasting and prayer (v. 2). Yet they are aware that God is not responding to their prayer and fasting (v. 3).

God told them that prayer and fasting are no substitute for obeying what His word says to do for those in need (vv. 3-6).

He told them to loosen the bonds of wickedness, share their bread with the hungry, bring the homeless poor into the house, and to clothe the naked.

As they obeyed His word in reaching out to those in need, God said He would give them light and recovery; He would surround them with His glory and they would enjoy His presence (vv. 7-9).

God knows very well that we would rather pray and fast for prostitutes and drug addicts than go out to share the Gospel with them and help them get training for jobs. The same goes for the hungry and the naked.

Our cities here and the nations overseas are full of people needing someone to go and help them in Jesus’ name.

Jesus doesn’t say in Matthew 25, “I was hungry and you prayed for me.” He says, “I was hungry and you fed me.”

Don’t misunderstand. Prayer is needed. Much of it. And with fasting. But not just to bring revival to our country (“my” country!).

Prayer needs to be regular and sustained, day by day, year by year out of a broken heart for the lost.

Of course, the greater implications of these verses we know clearly from the New Testament. There are millions of spiritually hungry who need the Gospel. There are millions of spiritually naked, who need the covering of Christ’s righteousness.

Today, in 16,000 unreached people groups where there is no church to share God’s love, 72,000 people for whom Jesus bled and died will be eternally lost.

Today, millions of evangelical Christians in the U.S. will sit in front of their TVs for three hours or more watching nonsense. They will spend 99.7 per cent of their disposable income for their own comfort. They will pray for the lost almost not at all.

Can we seriously wonder if the Lord is angry and broken-hearted over His people?

Unless there is a determination to radically change this lifestyle, no amount of fasting and prayer will save America from God’s judgment and the deterioration resulting from a selfish and decadent lifestyle.

Yet if evangelicals were to shut off their TVs, stop their unnecessary spending, and use their time and money to reach out to the lost, I believe the Lord would again bless America and she would be His instrument to bless the nations.

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