A Sketch of our Godly History
Two hundred forty one years ago a miracle took place in Philadelphia. Men and women chose, under threat of hanging for treason, to form a nation based on God-given unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Many of the founders had had the experience of Godly liberty through a decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord in their personal lives. They saw that He came in God’s perfect timing and in fulfillment of Scriptures as a gift to all humanity to set all captives free through His blood, death, and resurrection. Having experienced God’s Liberty through Christ and His Holy Spirit these passionate founders could no longer stand the ongoing tyranny of a monarch. Patrick Henry, bold for Christ in public, said it best: “give me Liberty or give me death.”
These founders set up a republic, not a theocracy. But as a witness to His impact in their lives, and as a way to open the heavens to bring about the miracles they needed, many honored Jesus publicly. “We have no King but Jesus” was a common statement. At the signing of the Declaration of Independence Samuel Adams said:” “We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and…from the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.” John Hancock said at the signing: “Let us humbly commit our righteous cause to the great Lord of the Universe… Let us joyfully leave our concerns in the hands of Him who raises up and puts down the empires and kingdoms of the earth as He pleases.”
John Adams also was bold in honoring the Living God. July 2, 1776 was the day in Philadelphia that the vote was taken without dissent to dissolve all ties with Great Britain. The bondage to man’s rule by a tyrant was now about to be replaced by God’s Almighty Liberty bought by the blood of Christ for all men everywhere. John Adams said: “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epoche in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” (emphasis added)
They not only honored Jesus publicly. On their knees they also repented, personally and as a community. In 1774, for example, learning of the British blockade of Boston, fearful that thousands of troops on the ships were about to invade the city, legislators in Virginia’s House of Burgesses led by Thomas Jefferson used a spiritual strategy: they called the public to observe June 1, 1774 as a “Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer…devoutly to implore the Divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights.” Many men and women throughout the colonies that Day got on their knees. Many prayed, fasted and (1) repented. God honored that strategy; the battle became the Lord’s. The British fleet ultimately left with no casualties.
More Godly miracles followed. As a beacon of His Liberty to people everywhere the nation was clearly birthed by God’s Hand.
John Adams’ boldness for Christ came from his love of the Bible and his understanding of spiritual warfare. In 1777, a year after the Declaration of Independence, a gathering of the founders was held again in Philadelphia at great risk. Philadelphia was about to be invaded; Washington’s troops were losing battles; the far superior British troops seemed invincible. One local delegate asked John Adams: “Sir, how can we possibly defeat the British given their skill and their size? Adams replied: “We will defeat them—– if we fear God and repent of our sins.”
These two key spiritual strategies: publicly honoring Christ and repenting of sins, personally and as a people, opened the heavens for the Lord to make the battle His: “….if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Seeking to avoid war with France in 1798 and 1799 President Adams called for national days of “Public Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer.” Adams noted: “..the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgement of this truth is…an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him….this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty and of danger….”
By 1815 almost eight hundred separate calls for days of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer had been issued by colonial, State, and Federal governments.
Under God’s providence the nation grew increasingly prosperous. Many leaders, including President Lincoln in 1861, 1863, and 1864, understood the ongoing need for prayer, fasting and repentance to invoke God’s ongoing blessings. Soon after Lincoln’s call for a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer on April 30, 1863 (extensively cited in Appendix A) the momentum in the Civil War suddenly shifted. That horrific bloodbath finally ended with Lincoln quoting Scripture and giving God the glory.
But over time these Godly truths including the use of “spiritual warfare” were lost. Godly roots withered. As humanism and progressivism began to replace Judeo-Christian principles in the nation’s thinking, the last “National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Repentance” was held in 1918.
Since 1918 there have been national days of prayer but not a national day that also called for repentance. However, in 2016 Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado, citing historic precedents including President Lincoln’s 1863 Resolution, sought to designate July 2 as a “National Day of Personal Reflection and Repentance” (Appendix A). Only three other members of Congress supported the measure; it died in committee.
With some exceptions, for a hundred years the leaders of our nation have looked to “human ingenuity” to solve our problems. Few national leaders have publicly honored the Lord; few have evidenced a deep respect for His providence and wisdom in their speeches and policies. The result: nearly one hundred years of human strategies without His wisdom and blessing created a massive mess in this nation. Pick the most obvious—- 20 trillion in debt, 50 million on food stamps, 95 million out of work, threats of ISIS, 20% of young people professing atheism, a massive bureaucracy, increased attacks on religious freedom. By the election of 2016 the United States had a mounting disaster—-God-sized problems seemingly beyond human solutions—- made worse by the scandals or lies of key leaders lost in their egos.
To many in the Body of Christ the election of 2016 thus became a crossroads. Both candidates had major character flaws. The nation’s morality was at a low ebb with perversions sanctified by our highest court. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) What God calls a sin, same sex marriage, the White House blatantly supported, decorating our national symbol in the false colors of God’s rainbow.
In the midst of increasing depravity, corruption, and polarization the Republican party’s platform on key issues such as the protection of life in the womb, marriage, and support of Israel appeared closer to Biblical standards. The Democrat’s platform followed more of the same humanist, godless programs. Some could not stomach either candidate and wrote in “Jesus Christ” as their candidate.
It looked like a losing battle. Looking at the funds raised, the number of staff, her standing in the polls, Trump’s ongoing gaffes, it appeared virtually certain that Mrs. Clinton would win the Presidency. It seemed inevitable that programs such as Planned Parenthood would continue to be funded, despite being directly in opposition to God’s Word to protect life.
The flame of His Liberty was dimming, flickering, nearly extinguished.
Desperation invited spiritual action. The Lord allowed the circumstances and the candidates to awaken His believers in advance of the election. More than an election was at stake. The process was also His test of the presence of “salt and light” in the Christians in this nation.
The awakening was not just to register and vote Biblical values. The awakening was also to dust off His spiritual weapons so vital to the founding of this nation: prayer, fasting, repentance, worshiping and honoring Him publicly.
Many believers got on their knees and prayed seeking His wisdom, His strategies. Psalm 119:126 was activated: “It is time for You to act, O LORD, for they have regarded Your law as void.” Many sought God’s mercy. “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation.” (Psalm 85:6-7)
In prayer His strategies surfaced. The Capitol Hill Prayer Partners, for example, started a 24 hour a day, 12 day Bible-reading marathon. Over a conference phone line Christians from all over the nation took turns reading the Bible aloud from Genesis to Revelation, verse after verse for twelve days including on election day. This created a “vortex” honoring the word of God as sovereign and foundational to the nation’s Godly roots and destiny. Like the founders 240 years earlier, they publicly honored God. Over two thousand readers read the Bible aloud, each reader becoming strengthened, emboldened by the power of the spoken word. Love and understanding of the Living God spread among prayer networks as His Word bathed the nation. That Bible-reading marathon bathing the nation with the word of God continues today. In response, in His mercy, the Lord became a shield of protection to the nation: “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” (Proverbs 30:5).
Another of His strategies prior to the election was an “Esther fast.”(Esther 4: 14-16). A number of national prayer leaders, meeting as a National Prayer Assembly, committed to an Esther fast, going without water and food for three days just prior to the election. They understood and practiced the spiritual truth that fasting strengthens the spirit from the things of the world and the flesh and (2) releases God’s power!
At the same time a prayer and worship ministry, “David’s Tent” held worship services near the White House and the Capitol day after day 24/7 for fourteen months prior to the election. Welcoming worship teams from all fifty States and every tribe, tongue, nation, and denomination, believers sought the Lord’s will for this nation through humble, ongoing worship of Him. As with King David’s 24/7 worship three thousand years earlier, the Lord had to have been pleased and honored. This project honored the rebuilding of “the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the LORD who does all these things.”
Adding to the awakening, many believers in Christ became intercessors for the first time, watchmen on the walls, seeking God’s Sovereign Hand. Prayer chains spread. As part of their prayers they prayed in Jesus’ Name and spoke out loud key Scriptures such as: All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18); …there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (Romans 13:1); May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble (Psalm 20:1); Restore us, O God; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved! (Psalm 80:3) The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; The LORD alone will be exalted in that day, But the idols He shall utterly abolish. (Isaiah 2:17-18). Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. (Psalm 127: 1). And this key Scripture from Isaiah 9:6-7: For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
All these efforts added to prayers and sermons in churches. An increasing number of church leaders such as Franklin Graham spoke out for God’s Hand to be restored to the nation. A few pastors even urged believers to take time for prayers for personal and national repentance.
Jesus said: “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.” (Matthew 10:26-27). Because our “hearts had grown dull” (Isaiah 6:9, Matthew 13:15) and with the hope that “they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn so that I should heal them” (Isaiah 6:9-10, Matthew 13:14-15) the Lord allowed the entire election process over nearly two years to expose the sins of the nation and the major candidates.
Seeing their sins, we had the opportunity to see our own sins also. There is a resemblance to Trump and Clinton in each of us.
Less than two weeks before the election a key event occurred: FBI Director James Comey released a letter to congressional leaders announcing that additional emails had been discovered relating to its investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private server.
All these events caused parts of the Body of Christ to stir and remove the strongholds of apathy and cowardice. Many had not registered, had not voted before, but this time many voted in key States. More Evangelicals, more Catholics voted for Republicans than before. The issue in the election became more than one person, one party, one platform. The issue became whether God’s destiny for this nation would be snuffed out. Would we return to the heart of the Father and humbly depend upon Him? Or would we continue marching over the cliff, following lockstep the way of failed humanism?
On the night of the election many thousands with a contrite heart sought the LORD for His Mercy. “When I cry out to You, then my enemies will turn back. This I know because God is for me.” (Psalm 56:9). “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:1-3)
The Reprieve is for Repentance
Like Daniel’s cry (Daniel 9:3-19) God heard the prayers of His people. He saw many on their knees. He heard many speaking His holy Word over the nation, hour after hour. He saw many in a sacrificial Esther fast. He saw 24/7 worship honoring Him. His mercy triumphed over judgment.
He granted the nation a reprieve from the judgment it deserved.
For the Lord will not abandon His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance. For judgment will again be righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it. Psalm 94:14-15 (NASB)
But the reprieve from Him is temporary and is for repentance. The Lord wishes to get the word “repentance” into the market place as well as the church.
The word “reprieve” means a delay, a temporary respite from impending punishment. In a literal sense it means to “test again.” The Living God didn’t “relent” from His judgment—- which might have been the case had He seen more of us repenting, turning from our wicked ways. He only granted a reprieve.
It’s only when we repent that God will relent.
So we have to thank God for the reprieve. Now we, who are called by His name, can be “tested again.” God’s written strategy to forgive sin and heal a nation is set forth clearly in 2 Chronicles 7:14. It has four parts. His people called by His name are to 1) humble themselves 2) pray 3) seek His face and 4) turn from their 3wicked ways. In the process of this extraordinary election a number of believers in this nation followed the first three parts. A few, possibly a growing number, followed the fourth. Now the test is whether we personally and as a nation will turn from our “wicked” ways.
Once a person has repented to come into the Kingdom, the Holy Spirit still calls us to repent to remove old sin strongholds. Repent means to refocus on God; to turn about face, to walk towards Him: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). “…but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15-16)
In this new test will we follow the spiritual strategies of our founders, fearing God, honoring Him publicly, repenting of our sins? Will we, His called out ones, the ecclesia, awaken to His Word, His wisdom, and His love? Will repentance appear in the market place as well as in the church?
The Lord calls us to rend our hearts, not our garments. Jesus calls us to enter the narrow gate: “Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Will we personally and as a nation, enter His narrow gate? Or will we continue being lukewarm like the believers in Jesus Christ in Laodicea? (Revelation 3:14-21):
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: (15) “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. (16) So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot I will vomit you out of My mouth. (17) Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— (18) I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. (19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (20) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (21) To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
(22) “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The Risen Christ calls me and you, members of His royal priesthood, His Bride, to be holy, to be zealous to repent. (Revelation 3:19). He urges us to be “overcomers” to receive a remarkable, nearly inconceivable gift— to sit with Him on His throne, as He overcame and sits on His Father’s throne. (Revelation 3:21). And to that end, to assist me and you to be zealous to repent, He stands at the door of our minds and hearts, knocking. If—if— you or I will open the door He will come in and dine, and have communion with us. (Revelation 3:20). If you and I then in prayer are willing to get rid of the old sin pattern baggage we all carry, He will then lead each of us through His Holy Spirit in confessing our sins, receiving His forgiveness, and renouncing that sin under His name and His blood. We can then replace that sin with His eternal Word as foundational in our lives. Joy and freedom in Christ then will follow that repentance, replacing old strongholds of evil with His good. (Appendix B).
If indeed the destiny of the United States is to be a city set on the hill that can not be hidden, a torch of His Liberty to others, we have to display His love, His holiness to our neighbors, to a dying culture, here and in other nations. Personal and national repentance is central to that process. As members of His royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) we each have to determine to love Him enough to continue to clean our vessels from the traps of the world and the flesh, to renounce old sin patterns under His Name and His blood. As we repent we display new “fruits of the Holy Spirit” to others. One by one we begin to display His holiness to a dying culture, a torch of His Liberty to others. It’s the goodness of God that leads people to repentance.
Daily repentance is also an excellent spiritual discipline to prepare ourselves and others for the tribulation that His word tells us, and that we sense, is coming. His judgments will be coming. The more we repent the more we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. We will need the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of Jesus, as events unfold: “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring.” (Luke 21:25). Jesus not only commanded the winds and water to obey Him (Luke 8:24-25), but then as the Risen Christ, He was given all authority in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18). The more we repent and restore our souls with God’s Word as the foundation for our lives, the more there is room for us to abide daily in His Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit enables us to take a stand against the evil in our old sin patterns and in the culture. We have to be a voice for His righteousness: “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the LORD had been my help, My soul would soon have settled in silence.” (Psalm 94: 16-17)
Like the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13) the Lord calls us, as His vessels, to be wise, having oil of the Holy Spirit in our lamps. He sees us as His Bride. He is the soon arriving Bridegroom. The more we repent and cleanse the more we can truly abide with Him and can lean on Him through the judgments He predicts are coming. He prunes us so that we may bear more fruit. (John 15:2). He will shake all that can be shaken. At the same time He gives us His peace that passes all understanding. This peace, in turn, we can pass on to others all around us who will need Him in the days to come: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
We now have a reprieve, a test: will we follow the spiritual strategies of our founders, fearing God, honoring Him publicly, repenting of our sins? With His peace, with clean vessels thanks to repentance, His destiny for our nation can begin to be renewed: we are to be a city set on the hill that can not be hidden, a torch of His Liberty to others, here and in other nations.
A Time of Testing
The time of testing may be very short. The new President of the United States has made mistakes. More will be coming; some may be catastrophic. Humility, not hubris, opens the door to God’s Wisdom. The first President to reside in the White House, John Adams, had this prayer for future Presidents, now on the wall in the State dining room: “I pray to Heaven to bestow THE BEST OF BLESSINGS ON THIS HOUSE and All that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but Honest and Wise Men ever rule under This Roof. (Appendix C). Will Adams’ prayer stand? Will God’s word and His righteousness characterize Trump’s policies? God promises to bless nations that obey His commands and to curse those who do not. We can’t trust in humans, even as we pray for those in authority. (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Daniel understood that God removes and raises up kings: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.” (Daniel 2:20-22)
To take advantage of the reprieve, real repentance is required in the Body of Christ. Repentance needs to take root and to spread. The process of repentance, known and regularly used by our founders and leaders up until a hundred years ago, needs to be re-discovered and experienced. Instead of a dry, theological concept, nearly lost, it needs to come to life as a liberating, joyful process open to everyone. It needs to be experienced person after person at the local level and then shared as a powerful, joyful experience with others.
But there is great resistance to repentance among church leaders even though “judgment begins at the house of God.” (1 Peter 4:17). Repentance is nearly lost as a spiritual discipline in today’s often seeker-friendly, watered down church. The concept offends many. Many pastors consider repentance not necessary, given their theology that God’s grace covers all sin. Others see it as “penance” “a religious work”, a process which includes a penalty and requires a priest, used by orthodox Christians only. Some see repentance as simply saying “I’m sorry” and then going forward with a worldly-focused lifestyle. But God is not mocked. This is lip service, not heart and mind transformation. As well, some church leaders are increasingly apostate. (Jude 18). Some will follow the spirit of the false prophet (Revelation 19:20) who will arise in the end times, leading us into a one world, watered down “world religion” where being “nice” will replace God’s concept of sin. Real repentance will not be required.
Time to Seek His Strategies
Given the resistance to repentance and given the timing of the reprieve it’s time to seek the Holy Spirit for His strategies to spread the power and joy of repentance. There can be no revival before personal and national repentance. How can repentance be transformed from a dry, theological concept? How can it be experienced person after person at the grassroots as a liberating, joyful process open to everyone? One obvious suggestion is for each of us to take prayer time actually to repent. It’s time to taste and see that the Lord is good. There’s joy and freedom upon actually spending time in repentance. (Appendix B, Forty Five Minutes to Joy Using Repentance).
Repentance Weeks, Repentance Relays
Those who have actually experienced the liberation and joy of repentance can then pass that great news on to others in their networks and community.
One strategy of the Holy Spirit is to hold “repentance weeks.” Repentance weeks would bring together church leaders and individual believers in one town or section of a city for a week of joint worship, prayer, fasting, fellowship, and repentance services across Christian denominations. Repentance prayer points could be posted for each community, generated by believers in that town or city. During that week prayer teams across the nation, including those continuing to read in Bible Marathons, would intercede for believers in that community. Fervent prayers, like Jacob and Elijah prayed, would spring forth locally and nationally, like a match lighting a fuse, releasing the power of the Holy Spirit. By the end of that week repentance would be more than a theory; it would be a new spiritual experience for many. Enemy strongholds would be taken down. Those willing to share personal testimonies of the value and joy of repentance would post their experiences on social media and on a new website, makingAmericaGodlyagain.com, providing repentance and prayer points and calendaring repentance weeks. Soon momentum would build for more repentance weeks in more towns.
Through the website and social media church leaders in other towns or cities, moved by the Holy Spirit, would respond, picking up the experience, creating new repentance prayer points for their particular location. God willing a “repentance relay” would spring forth as a personal and national blessing. There would be additional joy in picking up the next repentance week in a new location in the same way that the Bible Marathon continues to inspire reader after reader (now over 2,000 readers) to pick up the next chapter of Scripture from the previous reader.
Repentance would be experienced at the grassroots. Healing and joy would flow into that community. Strongholds of pride, fear, lust, and apathy would be cast down. Neighbors will learn about Jesus’ love. Judgment will again be founded on justice and the “upright in heart” will follow it. (Psalm 94: 15-16)
God willing, the Congress will again take up a Resolution to hold a national day of repentance. (Appendix A). May there be great support for this key spiritual weapon among our national leaders.
Unity would build. New souls would come into the Kingdom. The Bride would begin to be cleansed. (Ephesians 5: 25-30.) God’s Light would take on the darkness in community after community, spreading across the nation, as an eagle takes on a storm, confident of direction.
The Body of Christ, “members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones” (Ephesians 5:30) would begin to answer the prayer of Jesus in John 17:11-23 (NASB):
(11) I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. (12) While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.
(13) But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. (14) I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (15) I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. (16) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (17) Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (18) As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. (19) For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. (20) “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; (21) that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
(22) The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; (23) I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
Moving from Reprieve to Relent
Our precious LORD wishes to bless us. His will is to save each soul on this planet. He wants each of us to reach our neighbors with His love. We are to be His salt and light to make disciples in all nations. He calls us to be holy in all our conduct as He is holy. We who have repented and by faith believe in Him are washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, and His word makes us holy. At the same time the Holy Spirit serves to convict us of sin so that we can be absolutely devoted to Christ, not to the flesh or the world. “He who says ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” 1 John 2:4-6.
Jesus urges us to take personal responsibility for any lukewarmness and to be zealous to repent. Idolatry in all forms needs to be renounced. You and I can willingly submit to Jesus’ discipline because we recognize His love in it. We want to renounce our old strongholds of sin to bless Him and show Him our love for Him. He knocks at the door of our hearts and minds, wishing to come in and “dine” with us to help us to become overcomers.
Repeatedly the Lord calls us to repent and seek Him. Listen to the Lord’s cry to us in the Book of Joel 2:12-17:
“’Now, therefore, ‘says the LORD, Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ 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. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him—a grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly, gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, ‘Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them.”
As with Jonah and Nineveh, God’s message of judgment always has the intent of repentance and reconciliation. If He observes real repentance, turning from our evil ways, as in the case of the wicked pagan city of Nineveh, He will relent: “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” Jonah 3:10.
If one reluctant man’s words to a grossly wicked pagan nation could lead to repentance, moving the Hand of God to relent from judgment, how much more would the Lord bless this nation, and relent from the judgment we deserve, if many of us called by His name, join together to repent, town by town, city by city?
What’s Next for this Grassroots Repentance Process?
God is no respecter of persons. Our Lord Jesus sees each believer in Him as part of His Bride, a member of the royal priesthood. He tells us: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set upon a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 13-16).
In Revelation 3:19 the Risen Christ urges you and me as members of His flock to be zealous to repent because He loves us. Then in the next verse He knocks on the “door” of our hearts and minds, whether we are church leaders or not, seeking to “dine” with each of us. He wants each of us to become overcomers to sit with Him as He overcame and sits with His Father. (Revelation 3:20-21).
It’s time to find His strategies to activate the Body of Christ to restore God’s role in our nation. One strategy is a repentance relay process to be activated at the grassroots. Daniel and Nehemiah not only confessed their own sins, and the sins of their families, but also the sins of their nation. We, too, can confess such sins: the horrific ongoing killing of children in wombs; the sanctification and governmental approval of sexual perversions; the depravity of the media; the failure to confront ISIS; the enemy’s attempt to divide the races; the need to protect children in homes, schools, public bathrooms and social media; our failure fully to support Israel, the apple of God’s eye; our failure to help those caught in the tragic events unfolding in this and in other nations.
Each repentance week can turn into a “sacred assembly” as noted in Joel 2: 12-13: “’Now, therefore, says the Lord, Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ 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.” With prayers of repentance the Holy Spirit will be poured out: “Blessed are those who mourn (repent) for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) Humble prayers of repentance will bring to the surface all that needs to be exposed for God’s cleansing.
There’s no condemnation in Christ. Instead, there is His Liberty and glory: “Now the LORD is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the LORD, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the LORD.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
The Holy Spirit has to be in the center of this grassroots repentance relay process. The repentance gatherings will have all the characteristics of Christian fellowship: a common doctrine based on the Person and work of Jesus/Yeshua (1 John 3:16-24); worshiping the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24); intercessory prayer in the power of His might (Ephesians 6: 10-20); sharing meals together, either as communion or daily meals (Acts 2:42); time for confession of sins and praying for one another for healing (James 5:16); fasting to loose the bonds of wickedness (Isaiah 58:6-12); repenting personally and for the nation (Revelation 3: 19-21); meeting one another’s physical and social needs (Acts 2:45); encouraging good deeds and perseverance (Hebrews 10:24-25).
A whole week of prayer and repentance services in different churches or informal gatherings will display our mutual love for one another through the Holy Spirit (John 13:34-35). Living out our faith in Christ our neighbors will see His love through our repentance and our unity, loving each other as one local Body of Christ.
The LORD will be smiling. It’s His nation, part of His destiny for all on this planet. God willing, our Godly roots planted in this nation by earlier believers in Him will begin to be restored person by person, community by community. God willing, we can then share this process with His believers in other nations.
Will You Join In?
Now is the time to build upon God’s Miracles in this nation using His spiritual “warfare” weapons, including repentance. He has placed us in this nation at this “preappointed time” (Acts 17:26).
Will you join in? Pass this free ebook along to others and pray with the Holy Spirit to see if He is calling you to be a part of a small planning group in your town or city. Connect with several others in the same Spirit as did the seven called to resolve the food distribution issue in the early church. (Acts 6:3). Like those seven, seek believers who are of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Meet, break bread together, and then pray together inviting the Spirit to give His wisdom and direction. Often the prayer only needs to be five to ten minutes. Then share that wisdom together so that the Lord alone has all the glory and directs your repentance week. Make it His project, not your own. Then let us know how we can support you, including publicizing the days your repentance week will take place and your prayer points so that the rest of the Body of Christ will check with the calendar and pray with you during that week. Other prayer intercessors in other nations will also join to support you.
A website has been established, makingAmericaGodlyagain.com, to monitor the repentance week relays. Volunteers will be forming a new ministry with a small staff to encourage repentance and monitor results. We will begin the relays when we learn of at least a dozen towns or cities wishing to hold a repentance week in their town or city.
Please sign up here at the website to pray with us and support the ongoing repentance process in this nation. Let us seek and put into practice His strategies to refresh our Godly roots.
Join me, if you will, in this prayer: “Lord God Almighty, in Jesus’ Holy Name, I pray for a wave of conviction of the Holy Spirit in me and in all others reading this book, that we would be zealous to repent. Help me to remove apathy and fear. Help me to remove pride, sins of the flesh, and worldliness. Forgive me for failing time after time to fear and honor and trust You. Show me the other strongholds in my life which now need to be renounced under Your Blood and Your Name. Please show me where I need to forgive. I want to be a pure vessel of Your Holy Spirit to reach others with Your gospel. I want Your light in me to so shine before men that they may see the works You have given me to advance Your kingdom and glorify our Father in heaven. Thank you for the reprieve you have given this nation. May repentance become a daily practice among Your people called by Your name in this nation. Bless us as we proceed to use this brief time to turn from our wicked ways so that You will hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land. I pray this in Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.”
Thank you Lord Jesus for saving me and giving me Your loving Holy Spirit. Thank you, Laurie, my precious wife, for your tireless love and support. Thank you Jean Lamborn for your provision of such powerful, Bible-centered artwork bringing this text alive. May many see and be blessed by your God-given talent (thegoodWordproject.com). Thank you Derrick Cook (BreakthroughGraphics.com) for your excellent work producing this as an ebook. Thank you faithful prayer warriors, in this and in other nations, who have been standing in the gap for this nation and for His spiritual warriors to follow His assignment to display His love, His beacon, His Liberty everywhere.
Scriptures are based upon the New King James version except where otherwise noted.
House Resolution 790 designating July 2, 2016 as the “National Day of Personal Reflection and Repentance”
Expressing support for designation of July 2, 2016 as the “National Day of Personal Reflection and Repentance.”
Whereas, on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the language of the Declaration of Independence, and we now annually celebrate July 4 as Independence Day;
Whereas two days earlier on July 2, 1776, Congress voted to dissolve all ties with Great Britain and become an independent Nation;
Whereas John Adams said that July 2 “ought to be commemorated as a day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty”;
Where this practice of offering “solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty” became an oft-repeated precedent across the centuries of our history;
Whereas President John Adams declared that April 13, 1798 was to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of public Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer, as well as April 25, 1799;
Whereas President James Madison declared June 9, 1812 as a day to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of public Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer, as well as July 23, 1813, and November 16, 1814;
Whereas by 1815, there had been 794 separate calls for days of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer issued by colonial, State and Federal governments;
Whereas national leaders after that time continued that tradition, including when President John Tyler called for a Day of Fasting and Prayer on May 14, 1841; as did President Zachary Taylor on August 3, 1849; President James Buchanan on January 4, 1861; President Abraham Lincoln on September 26, 1861, April 30, 1863, and August 4, 1864; President Andrew Johnson on May 25, 1865; President Chester A. Arthur on September 26, 1881; President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1918; and so forth;
Whereas Congress itself separately issued eights calls to Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer during the American Revolution and continued the practice across the generations, up to and including the congressional call for a Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer on April 30, 1974; and
Whereas President Lincoln, in his April 30, 1863, call for a Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer, expressed timeless sentiments that remain applicable to this day, including that “it is the duty of nations, as well as of men to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is Lord… We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God; we have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness”; and
Whereas, we have failed to respond, personally and collectively, with sacrifice and uncompromised commitment to the unmet needs of our fellowman, both at home and abroad, and as a people, we have become so absorbed with the selfish pursuits of pleasure and profit that we have blinded ourselves to God’s standard of justice and righteousness for this society;
Now, therefore be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives, in following the numerous wholesome and positive examples set forth by previous Congresses and presidents—
1) Supports the designation of a “National Day of Personal Reflection and Repentance”; and
2) Calls upon the people of the Nation to humble ourselves as they see fit before our Creator to repent of our national sins and to acknowledge our final dependence upon Him.
—Resolution 790 was authored by Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado. It was supported by Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona, and Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. It was sent to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for consideration. This was the first time in forty three years that any resolution seeking national repentance was submitted to Congress. Previously in 1973, after the Watergate scandal, then Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon submitted a similar resolution calling for a “National Day of Humiliation, Prayer and Fasting” set for April 30, 2014. It passed unanimously in the Senate by voice vote but then failed either to be introduced or to be passed in the House. No such National Day of Humiliation, Prayer and Fasting took place in 1974. The last such Day was in 1918.
45 Minutes to Joy Using Repentance
Dr. Robert Heidler in his book, The Messianic Church Arising, pages 201-202, (Heidler, 2006) has developed some suggested exercises for repentance. This exercise below is largely based on his suggestions. During any national day of repentance, or any day of the year for that matter, this is an excellent exercise. Some will complete it in forty five minutes or less; others will make it the center of a leisurely “dinner” with the Lord as you welcome Him into your heart and He assists you in the repenting process to be an overcomer. (Revelation 3:19-22). It’s essentially “sin to joy” in a few basic steps.
Joy follows repentance in the same way that each year the most joyous seven day Hebrew festival, the feast of tabernacles, follows five days after the most solemn day of atonement. Leviticus 23:40 says: “…you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.”
Step one is setting aside time to be alone with God for at least forty five minutes. For many this will be just before bed or early in the morning. Dr. Heidler suggests: “As you come before the Lord, bring your Bible, a pen, and paper. Begin by reading Psalms 32 and 51, where David shares his testimony of confessing sin. Thank God for His love and ask His Spirit to minister to you.”
There’s no rush! Revelation 3:20 says He’s standing at the door of your heart and mind; let Him in! Enter His courts with thanksgiving; enter His gates with praise. Allow love and adoration to flow out of your heart towards God. When you sense His presence, open your heart and mind to repentance— turning away from the flesh and the world to His Purity.
Next, ask God to bring to mind any sins He wants you to confess. We all have them; this is not about condemnation but becoming His clean vessel. Pray, as David did, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me.’ (Psalm 139:23). As God brings your sins to mind, write them down. Often this can include vows you made when you were younger which no longer are needed. It could also include generational curses; it could include strongholds, filters to His Truths. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). When God stops bringing them to mind, ask Him, ‘Is there anything else?’
As He shows you more sins, write them down also. Write down every sin He shows you. Don’t be in a hurry and don’t try to make excuses…make your list as complete as possible. …When you ask, ‘Is there anything else?’ and God doesn’t show you any more, you know your list is complete. You now have a list of every sin God wants you to confess.
The third step is confession. When you feel your list is complete, pray carefully through the list, confessing them one at a time. Ask Him for forgiveness. In 1 John 1:9, God assures us that: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
At any point of confessing a sin when you sincerely wish to be done with its hold on you, when you exercise your free will to repent, renounce it by name using the Name of Yeshua/Jesus Christ, the Name above all names, using the full power of the Holy Spirit available to you at that point, including any heavenly language you may have.
When we come into agreement with God about our sin, He restores us. We are forgiven and cleansed. The blood of Jesus has already paid the price for every sin in your life. Before you even existed, God loved you so much He took the penalty for your sin upon Himself. As we come before Him in humility to confess our sin, God applies the ‘Atoning Sacrifice’ of Jesus’ blood to our lives and restores us to full fellowship with Him.
When you have prayed over every item on the list, confessing every sin, renouncing those you wish to be complete with, there are two more steps. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to the Truth in Scripture to replace that sin. That Scripture is now foundational to you.
Finally, take your sheet of paper listing all the sins you’ve confessed, turn the paper sideways and write across the list in BOLD letters the promise of 1 John 1:9: ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.’
Thank God that every sin is now confessed and forgiven! The Truth in Scripture now replaces that sin. You’re in the process of purification. Now, take that list, tear it up and destroy it! As you tear up your list, you will experience a great joy similar to the one the Israelites experienced when they watched that second goat led away into the wilderness! You will be assured that God has dealt with your sins and that your defilement has been taken away! At that point our Lord Jesus’ truth in John 16:24 will become real; His joy awaits us: “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
Pastor Jeff Daly – National Day of Repentance
www.dayofrepentance.org – email@example.com
More Quotes and Some Highlights of American Christian History
From the prayer book of George Washington, 1752: “O Eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before Thy Divine Majesty, beseeching Thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks…Direct my thoughts, words and work, wash away my sins in the immaculate Blood of the Lamb, and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit….Daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy Son, Jesus Christ, that living in Thy fear, and dying in Thy favor, I may in Thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life. Bless my family, friends and kindred, and unite us all in praising and glorifying Thee in all our works.”
George Washington: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports.”
John Adams, in his diary, age 21, graduating from Harvard: “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obligated in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God…What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”
Patrick Henry: “Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the Holy cause of Liberty, and in such a country that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battle for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave…. Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me Liberty or give me death”!
On June 21, 1776, John Adams wrote: “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure, than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.”
John Adams: “It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.”
The Ten Commandments were the plumb line of our founders. The God of the Bible needs to be the God of America again. “In God We Trust” has to come alive and have real meaning. James Madison, chief architect of the Constitution, our fourth President, said: “We have staked the whole of our political Institutions upon the capacity of mankind for Self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
Patrick Henry: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religion but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Given the days of “humiliation, fasting and prayer” and given bold statements by public officials honoring God, God answered with His miracles in the Revolutionary War. The battle became the Lord’s. In 1777 Congress issued a Proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving for November of that year. December 18 was also to be set aside for “solemn thanksgiving and praise.” The Proclamation called upon all citizens to “join the penitent confession of their manifold sins,“and to offer” their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance.”
Eleven years after 1776 many devout men gathered again in Philadelphia to improve the Articles of Confederation. In the middle of the tension among competing factions, prayers to God were instituted, resulting in a brilliant document forged with God’s help, our Constitution. Humble prayers brought forth God’s Wisdom.
Benjamin Franklin said: “In this situation of this assembly, groping as it were, in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the Divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard; they were graciously answered…. Have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? …I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe, that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little, partial, local interests, our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest. I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers, imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business; and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.”
God’s wisdom produced a brilliant document signed “in the year of our Lord.”
Washington, too, honored God publicly. In his inauguration address on April 30, 1789 President Washington, having just added “so help me God” to the oath of office, said to his fellow countrymen: “No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency….[W]e ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.”
John Adams continued to honor God publicly and used God’s gift of repentance to avoid war with France in 1798. Proclaiming a national day of “humiliation, prayer and fasting”, Adams said: “As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him…this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty and of danger, with existing or threatening calamities….the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity are a loud call to repentance and reformation.”
The first President to reside in the White House, John Adams, had this prayer for future Presidents: “I pray to Heaven to bestow THE BEST OF BLESSINGS ON THIS HOUSE and All that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but Honest and Wise Men ever rule under This Roof.
Thomas Jefferson was clear about the source of our Liberty: “The God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?”
In 1819, John Adams wrote to Jefferson: “Have you ever found in history, one single example of a nation thoroughly corrupted that was afterwards restored to virtue?… And without virtue, there can be no political liberty…Will you tell me how to prevent luxury from producing effeminacy, intoxication, extravagance, vice and folly?… No effort in favor of virtue is lost.”
John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, later President of the American Bible Society, said: “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
Noah Webster, educator and compiler of the 1828 “American Dictionary of the English Language”: “Education without the Bible is useless.”
Some public servants were so bold in their reliance on Jesus Christ that their public proclamations called for a “compleat and universal reformation.” For example, New Hampshire Governor John Langdon, proclaiming a Day of Public Fasting and Prayer February 21, 1786, declared: “That the citizens of this State may with one heart and voice, penitently confess their manifold sins and transgressions, and fervently implore the Divine benediction, that a true spirit of repentance and humiliation may be poured out upon all orders and degrees of men, and a compleat and universal reformation take place…that He would be pleased to bless the great Council of the United States of America, and direct their deliberations to the wise and best determinations… and above all, that He would rain down righteousness upon the earth, revive religion, and spread abroad the knowledge of the true GOD, the Savior of man, throughout the world.”
That boldness to proclaim God’s Name and God’s Hand in the nation’s destiny, displaying His Liberty to all nations, continued for generations. Sixty one years after the Declaration, on July 4, 1837, Adams’ son, President John Quincy Adams, said: “Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? [I]t laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets 600 years before.”
From an eulogy by Pastor Abel Flint upon the death of George Washington: “To this view of his character I beg leave to add another trait which tended still more highly to exalt and enoble him. I allude to his reverence for the God of his fathers. The superintending Providence of the Most High he ever acknowledged. To this he ascribed his successes, not to his own skill and prowess; to this he ascribed the prosperity of the United States, not to the wisdom and labors of their rulers. On all suitable occasions he expressed a becoming gratitude to God for his kind interpositions in behalf of the army or the nation; and when defeated in any of his expectations, he devoutly acknowledged the same Providence and submissively bowed to the rod. Thus was he ever both great and good; great as a warrior; —great as a politician;—great as a private citizen; and good as a humble worshipper of God.”
President Dwight Eisenhower, 1954, upon the inclusion of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance: “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.” (emphasis added)
President Reagan, on freedom, virtue, and One Nation Under God: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience…without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and can not long endure…If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.”
Some Highlights of American Christian History—
Martyrs and Pilgrims
This nation has deep Christian roots planted by bold martyrs and pilgrims. These brave souls were soaked in God’s Holy Word, staking their lives on Jesus’ Victory over all enemy spirits thanks to His name and His precious blood. Because of that blood and His holy name, they sincerely believed all humans had an inheritance in true Liberty that He had purchased. Men could now form One Nation Under God.
The first pure Christian roots in America were planted by Huguenot Christian “martyrs of Matanzas” at Fort Caroline, in present day Florida, in 1565. These brave Christians fleeing church and state corruption in France “loved not their lives unto death..” (Revelation 12:11). These protestant worshipers seeking Liberty in Christ were hunted down by mercenaries from Spain in service to the state and the established church. Their leader, Jean Ribault, prayed Psalm 132: 1-5 as he was dying: “Lord, remember David and all his afflictions; How he swore to the LORD, and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.”
That martyrs’ blood is a priceless treasure, a perfect sacrifice to the Lord on our behalf today: our nation’s roots are planted in the Living God.
Years later, in 1607, settlers from England arrived on the shores of Virginia. Having taken time to “wait before God for personal examination and cleansing” they then erected a seven-foot rough-hewn wooden cross on the sand. Colonists and sailors gathered around the cross, holding the first formal prayer service in Virginia to give thanksgiving for God’s mercy and grace. America was founded by those on a spiritual mission. Raising his hands to heaven, Rev. Robert Hunt claimed “to reach the people within these shores with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise up Godly generations after us and with these generations take the Kingdom of God to all the earth.”
More Christian roots were then planted in 1620 by the Pilgrims. Having experienced persecution from unbiblical denominations in Europe, the Pilgrims sought a new land to worship Jesus Christ and the Bible. In contrast to the apostasy and antichristian darkness they saw in the established church they believed God wished them to restore the church to its “ancient purity.” They sought to live out the simplicity of the Gospel, ruled by laws based on God’s Word only, returning to the original condition of believers in Christ as portrayed in the New Testament. They were on a pilgrimage for the Truth to be found solely on His Holy Word. Arriving in the wilderness for the “glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith” they wished the Liberty of Jesus Christ to walk with God in a Christian life, free of threat from the government, honoring the Bible as the Way of life. In an age of absolute monarchy they propounded representative government making a covenant among themselves in the Mayflower Compact. They “joined themselves, by a covenant of the Lord, into a church estate, in the fellowship of the gospel, to walk in all His ways made known, or to be made known unto them, according to their best endeavors, whatsoever it should cost them, the Lord assisting them.” (William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, p.9) In advancing the Kingdom of Christ they saw themselves as “steppingstones unto others for the performing of so great a work.” (p 25).
The pilgrims understood spiritual warfare. To achieve their spiritual goals the Pilgrims used prayer and fasting and repentance. Before leaving from Leyden, to travel briefly back to England to get aboard the Mayflower, “being ready to depart, they had a day of solemn humiliation, their pastor John Robinson taking his text from Ezra 8:21: ’And there at the river, by Ahava, I proclaimed a fast, that we might humble ourselves before our God, and seek of him a right way for us, and for our children, and for all our substance.’”
Several years later, in the summer of 1623, the corn crop, so vital to the colony, was threatened in a “great drought from May to July.. with great heat..the corn began to wither away…Upon which they set apart a solemn day of humiliation to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer…. And He was pleased to give then a gracious and speedy answer, both to their own and the Indians’ admiration…For all the morning, and great part of the day, it was clear weather and very hot, and not a cloud or any sign of rain to be seen; yet toward evening it began to overcast, and shortly after to rain with such sweet and gentle showers as gave them cause of rejoicing and blessing God.” (p131).
By their devotion to God’s Word, the Pilgrims added to the martyrs’ blood of the Hugeonots and to the Cross at Jamestown.
They set the foundation spiritually and politically for this nation, “raising up the foundations of many generations….the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.” [Isaiah 58:12].
Godly roots were planted which we can now refresh: “Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance. The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. No king is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, just as we hope in You.” (Psalm 33: 8-22)
“Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O LORD, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.” (Revelation 15:3-4)
(1) “We returned home, and in our several counties invited the clergy to meet assemblies of the people on the 1st of June, to perform the ceremonies of the day, and to address to them discourses suited to the occasion. The people met generally with anxiety and alarm in their countenances and the effect of the day through the whole Colony was like a shock of electricity, arousing every man and placing him erect and solidly on his center.” (from The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia: a Comprehensive Collection of the Views of Thomas Jefferson, pp. 323-324). (emphasis added)
(2) “Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, ‘Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, where is their God?’ Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, and pity His people.” Joel 2:15-18
(3) Many see themselves as inherently “good.” But as much as our Creator loves us and we are made in His image, we are made of dust, and “filthy as rags.” We are clay; He is the Potter. We all fall short of His Glory. One definition of “wicked” is “violating divine law.”