Praying Concerning National Judgment (Part 4)

NOAA Lightning Strike 2In recent weeks, some fairly well-known Christian leaders have urged the Church to pray for judgment to come to America. A few seem to feel that they are partnering with God’s righteous indignation by taking this position. Some have reasoned that only severe judgment will cause the people of our nation to repent and return to the Lord. I think such a viewpoint might end up as a “You know not what you ask for” kind of prayer philosophy.

One problem with the “pray for judgment” approach is the assumption that what worked to get people’s attention in Old Testament times will still work exactly the same today. It is argued that when catastrophes struck ancient Israel, or when their enemies invaded, it caused the Israelites to repent. Among the people of that time, not just the Israelites, the common understanding was that bad things happening meant God (or a god) was not pleased, and that to regain His favor, they had to change their ways. In our day, with humanism and intellectualism having made such inroads, people are more likely to attribute weather or geologic catastrophes to scientific explanations.

The people of ancient Israel had a biblical framework ingrained in them. They understood that there was a direct correlation between being obedient to God and being blessed, while disobedience brought a curse. The Scriptures laid this out for them quite clearly. In our secular society, a biblical framework has not been a part of many, many people’s background for several decades.

Between the  prevailing intellectual, scientific mindset and the lack of scriptural understanding, I doubt if most people in our nation, outside of devout Christians, would connect hurricanes, earthquakes, economic collapse, terrorists, or even an out-and-out enemy invasion with a need to repent and turn to God. Hence, catastrophic events are not likely to bring them to a desire to repent and embrace the Lord.

Another problem with the “pray for judgment” reasoning is that the people encouraging it are trying to apply Old Testament principles, based upon the Law, not recognizing that God’s methods of interacting with mankind have shifted since Jesus died, rose, and sent the Holy Spirit to be actively at work in the earth.

Let’s be clear that God’s nature never changes. But His methods do. He has always been completely just, but He has also always been merciful, bearing long with the wicked and holding back judgment to give people time to repent. He says in James 2:13 that “mercy rejoices against judgment” and in 2 Peter 3:9 that He is “long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

In the Psalms and other Old Testament books,  the writers sometimes prayed what are called “prayers of imprecation” — prayers which curse or call down judgment on others. However, when Jesus came, He began to shift people’s thinking to align with a new and better covenant. When James and John wished to call down fire from heaven on a Samaritan village which had slighted Jesus, He rebuked them, saying, “You do not realize what manner of spirit you are of, for the Son of man has not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:51-56).

Old Testament believers depended on the rigid code of the Law to guide them. The Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out upon the general population. They heard God speak to them through the Scriptures and through the prophets, but most were not able to hear Him speak clearly into their own hearts. But when Jesus ascended into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to be at work among men. In John 16:8, Jesus said of the Spirit, “When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.” We can now depend on the Holy Spirit not only to guide believers, but also to be poured out wholesale, according to Joel’s prophecy of the end times: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28).

Rather than praying for judgment to fall, I believe we should diligently intercede for the Holy Spirit to be shed abroad across our land. We can pray for Him to prick consciences, soften hearts, remove deception from people’s thinking, and bring awakening to them. All of these changes can only come about by people embracing Jesus — but they can only receive Him as the Holy Spirit enables them to do so. Let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to come down in a fresh Pentecost upon America.

Do I think that some of the bad things already happening are due to rejection of the Lord? Yes. When a nation turns from honoring God, His protection and blessings begin to be pulled back. Do I think greater judgment will come? Yes, the Scriptures assure us that in the last days it will inevitably happen. But our position should not be to pray in that judgment before its time, but to pray in a huge harvest of souls before that final day.

Next time, I will share with you a dream I had, which gives me a great deal of hope for America’s future.

Previous: Praying Concerning National Judgment (Part 3)

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12 responses to “Praying Concerning National Judgment (Part 4)

  1. LeeAnn: I feel so sad that there are not many churches teaching repentance and that Hell is real. Many are being deceived and when the Rapture takes place, many people will be angered because they were not told or taught prophecy. Love you, Marie

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  2. There were many ‘personalities’ with Christ during His final days. James and John wanted call down ‘fire’ (Luke 9:54), thankfully our Lord is much more tolerant. Billy Graham said in one of his tent meetings, “If God does not punish America, God will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. I never forgot that. Walking through some of the streets after dark, I constantly see the depravity of man. I am very thankful for His protection and guidance. But Christ’s instruction about ‘shaking the dust off your feet’ that entire city will have judgement that…well, that’s too scary. We already ARE in the last days. Yes, certainly, we are to pray for the city you reside. I’m very thankful for you intercessors. However that is not my calling. One thing I know for certain, if I am suffering, be trials, persecution, I know I am on the ‘straight and narrow’ path. Tribulation here on earth, is going to be far, far worse. But I have settled my heart to sacrifice, obedience (I sometimes stray). But you all should know this, you are invulnerable, until Master calls you home, if you are in full-time employment with Him. Don’t play with that, if you jump off a building, you will die. So back to the point, I would have James and John on my team. When the time comes, I don’t think there will be much of America left, if anything. Our Holy Writ does not offer much hope wherever you live. All three of the synoptic gospels contain ‘shaking off the dust’ why would any city be left? Possibly your prayers may stay the Master’s Hand, but not too much longer. Besides, I would prefer Heaven with nothing, than remaining with all, I pray every day to get off this planet.

    Lee Anne, to your dream next issue. Please be very careful of mixing your understanding with God’s Word.

    God bless all that read, with understanding and discernment.

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    • Hi Michael,

      I can agree with you on many points, such as, we can delay things, but the time of the end is very near at hand. My hope is that we can delay wholesale judgment for a while, and in a short window of time, bring many more souls into the Kingdom through an outpouring of God’s Spirit in answer to our prayers. Once that is accomplished, if the Lord catches away His Church pre-Trib (which is my hope), there will be nothing left to hold back judgment as described in Revelation. The point is to pray for mercy so that people can yet be saved. We’ll just have to see how exactly the end of the end times unfolds, as it happens.

      I would encourage you, although you don’t feel called to intercession as your strongest function in the Body of believers, that all of us can and should “pray without ceasing.” We can all make a difference while we are still here on the earth, so I feel that we must not just “click out” as long as we are here. Jesus did say that “the night is coming when no man can work” (John 9:4), but we are not there yet.

      No worries about the dream. It was a fairly direct message, with a minimum of interpretation necessary. I’ll just throw it out there, and we’ll let God do what He wants to do, how He wants to do it.

      Bless you, Lee Ann

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  3. Something I try to remember is that there’s a difference between judgment and condemnation, between judgment and destruction. Judgment isn’t the absence of mercy but the predecessor. Mercy isn’t needed until judgment shows how far from the center of the target we actually are. Judgment leads to conviction which leads to repentance. Judgment always comes before the sentencing, which is what people sometimes mean when they say “judgment.”

    Often, in praying for judgment, we find our own hearts seeking that God reveal to us where we are missing the mark; the “unclean thing” that David talked about in the Psalms. In that process, we discover humility before God and turning from our wicked ways before praying for God to heal our land.

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    • Hi Judy,
      The prayer for judgment which I see some calling for is more of a prayer for destruction. But you have shared some excellent thoughts here, and I thank you so much for taking the time to do so. I love people’s added perspectives. We round each other out to present God’s greater truths.

      Blessings, Lee Ann

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      • Agreed, some good points to ponder. I had to pull out some books, and am glad there is a ‘Search’ feature in my bible software. I found out that there are almost a dozen words in Greek that are all rendered as ‘Judgement’. I would believe in this situation, judgement set ‘the bar’ so to speak. Most of the renditions, was to allow the Israelites to measure their performance. And I can safely say, I have seen many in the clergy use it as a threat and taints the parishioners global view of God. He is so pleased with His Creation, I wonder if He will be very sad to destroy it. I totally agree that time is short.

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      • You’re absolutely right, unfortunately. Many are praying (and hoping, I think) for God’s destruction to come. There’s a saying – judgment begins in the house of God. It refers to our role as priests in our world and how we are to lead the world by living in righteousness (amazingly not the same as “rightness” which is the act of being “right” all the time). In our role as priests before God, we have the right to call for judgment with the understanding that we are first in line to be judged.

        I have a saying – we should cry for mercy because no one actually survives justice. If justice without mercy is getting exactly what we deserve and we deserve death because of our sin, we have a problem. We cry for mercy because we need mercy more than others. After all, we know the truth so how much more harshly will we be measured? Thank you for not shying away from the hard words that discipline and encourage us to seek God.

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      • Thanks again for your thoughts, Judy! 🙂

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  4. I think it’s important to remember that the judgments of God in scripture are brought about so that people will repent. That is true in both Genesis and Revelation.

    Interestingly, an international minister visiting our church Sunday suggested that judgment is already upon America. He didn’t elaborate on that, but I do believe for example that famine and other natural disasters that have come on California are related to the fact that the west coast is the darkest region spiritually in the U.S. (speaking in general terms, of course). I am praying “Goshen” prayers over Christians and their businesses.

    It is interesting what you say about it being lost on western civilization, because I have been praying for months that God would allow people to connect the dots between what is happening to the land and what will continue to escalate with weather patterns, our dismal economic and international messes, etc. and see it as a spiritual problem. No one, intellectual humanist or otherwise, can see anything without the Spirit’s help. Even those of us who already have the Spirit miss a lot. I believe a lot of Christians would fiercely disagree with what I wrote above about CA, but the reality of so many places where revival took place in the last century is that the crops prospered as well.

    I’ve always marveled at the description of people being burned with intense heat and later nailed with enormous hailstones in Revelation 16, yet instead of repenting they cursed God. This response is opposite of those in Revelation 11 who saw the earthquake kill thousands, and they repented and gave glory to God. In each case, the natural disasters were attributed to God, and yet even as people were watching the world end, their hearts continued to be hardened.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lee Ann, and I appreciate what others have commented. “The sum of your word is truth” and I value in the same way the many insights from the body of Christ concerning what is happening, because I think we’re all seeing/hearing different things and trying to discern what is what.

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    • Hi Emily,

      Much of what I’ve written in this particular post is opinion, and as such is open to debate. My reasoning on whether many people in our secular society would “get” catastrophes as their cue to repent is an opinion. My main point, though, is that I do not think that praying for destruction to happen is in keeping with what God would have us do. How much better if people would continue to have opportunity to turn from their sin, rather than being wiped out in a disaster while they are still in a lost condition.

      I don’t think there is too much question that we are already reaping what has been sown. But I think the Lord’s heart would still be to minimize, delay, and even turn back destructions as we “stand in the gap” for America. I think we will have to leave up to the Lord the details of how He brings Awakening about, whether through increased difficulties, or solely by His Spirit, or through a combination of the two (which is likely the case). But His heart is that people would repent without having to suffer tragedy, and we should pray in keeping with that.

      As an aside, I have a thought on Revelation 11: The setting in that chapter is Jerusalem. It looks as though the remnant who give glory to God there are the Jewish remnant, who, we understand from several places in Scripture, will wholly turn to Jesus their Messiah during the Tribulation years. I don’t think it is referring to people throughout the world repenting. Just an idea of what might be going on there.

      Blessings, Lee Ann

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      • I wholeheartedly agree that we should be praying for repentance and not judgment/destruction. Once in a moment of anger I prayed that everyone who voted for this current administration would feel the sting of their dismal decision. Instantly, God brought to mind two people whom I love dearly and I know voted for him. What I want them to suffer? Even financially? No way. It is quite a different matter when we put faces to the judgment.

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