A friend recently remarked, "Why are prayer meetings dwindling?" Granted, remnant groups are still pursuing God, but overall, our spiritual decline amid today's turmoil is disheartening. Sadly, very few realize that the Titanic has been struck. Most people haven't been affected by America's unstable foundation—at least not yet.
In a recent article, Dr. Michael Brown sheds much-needed light on the jackhammers that are pounding away at this foundation: "H.R. 1 would dramatically reshape our electoral system so as to cement Democratic rule for decades to come. H.R. 5 would effectively gut religious liberties across the nation … and packing the Supreme Court would fundamentally restructure our legal system for good." He added that "attacks on the Second Amendment would further cripple American rights, and that Big Tech censorship would silence all resistance."
What's It Going to Take?
Will you have to lose your job, your retirement, your health, or your comfort before you finally wake up? From mass shootings and civil unrest to the promotion of perverted sexual sin and the indoctrination of children, we can all add to the list. So my question is: What's it going to take to get us back on our knees? It seems that most Christians are bored with God. When everything is on the line, they still have no desire to seek Him.
God's call is not to Washington or Hollywood. He isn't asking agnostics and atheists to cry out to Him. He said that He would heal the land if His people would humble themselves, pray, seek, and turn from their wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14). Sadly, many are fearful but not repentant, anxious but not surrendered to God, worried but not worshipful, confused but not diligently seeking Him. Instead of repenting, we are repeating the same mistakes.
We should be hearing of prayer meetings throughout our cities, pastors being baptized in the power of God, and parishioners worshiping like never before. But instead, there is silence … dead silence. We must change course. God hears the prayers and pleas of His people. He desires to pour out His Spirit on a dry and thirsty land. Are you thirsty for more of God? Hunger for God leads to a spiritual awakening. Again, what's it going to take?
That Which Costs Me Nothing
Imagine heading to lunch in a crowded mall. Just before leaving, you notice that your three-year-old has disappeared—panic sets in! You must find your child at any cost. Are you going to eat first? Not a chance. The passion for finding your child is far greater than the desire to eat. That's precisely what fasting is: The desire to seek God is greater than the desire to eat.
During times of crisis, the power of prayer and fasting leads to wisdom, protection, insight, and guidance. For example, look at the cure for judgment that God gave the prophet Joel: "Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord" (v. 14). Where is the fasting? Where are the daily prayer meetings? Where is the desperation for more of God? Again, it appears that many are bored with God.
I'm startled at how many Christians don't consider fasting even though it's taught throughout the Bible. Fasting doesn't twist God's arm, but it does bend my knee. Fasting isn't a work; it's exchanging one appetite for a greater one. Like David, we should say, I will not give God that which cost me nothing (see 2 Samuel 24:24).
The Cold Hard Truth
The cold hard truth is that many are unwilling to pay the price to rebuild the foundation of prayer. Gone are the days of David Brainerd, who spent nights in agonizing prayer, as well as "praying" John Hyde, William Bramwell, and countless others who prayed fervently for our nation. Instead of carrying their baton and running the race, we are like well-fed, lusty stallions (Jeremiah 5:8). And we wonder why we aren't experiencing a massive move of God in our nation.
When awakenings spread across our landscape, Christians spent countless hours praying and fasting. They paid the price! As a result, pastors stood at the pulpit and preached boldly about the cross and repentance. They could say, "Thus saith the Lord," because they were filled with the Holy Spirit, not Hollywood. They didn't work revival up; God brought it down because His Word was honored.
Full Surrender Is Not Optional. It's Essential
Never before has life seemed so chaotic, but even in the midst of chaos and confusion, you can have hope and direction. Trust fully in Christ today. Complete surrender is not optional, it's essential.
Will you pay the price to truly know Him? God is not boring … He is our only hope.
Special Note: I recently became so broken over what we are leaving the next generation that I began a lengthy water fast, not knowing that it would be one of the hardest things I've ever done. I'm planning to post my experience in May 2021. You can hear about the outcome and join me in fasting by subscribing to my YouTube channel here. Additionally, my new book, 40 Days to Reset Your Life, is scheduled to be released in June. This book demonstrates how prayer and fasting can reset your life and change your spiritual course as well as the course of the nation. You can find my last few articles on sparking a national awakening here.
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
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Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the WCF Radio Network. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com, including free downloads of his eBooks. Visit him on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to his new podcast, Idleman Unplugged. You can also follow Pastor Shane on the new free speech platform Parler.