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I know what has happened to nations in the past when pray-ers abandoned their posts. I know from reading history that just because America was established as a Christian nation doesn’t guarantee it will always remain so. Without eagles of prayer to watch over it, this country could become as heathen as any on earth. What happened in the New Testament region of Illyricum is proof of that.

The apostle Paul wrote about that region in Roman 15:19. He said that when he ministered there, his preaching was accompanied “with the power of signs and wonders, [and all of it] by the power of the Holy Spirit” (amp). As one translation puts it, the people in Illyricum saw the full manifestation of God. Talk about a blessed region! The people there encountered God in a way few people in the world ever have.

But do you know what happened?

Illyricum, which came to be known as Albania, became the first nation in the world to declare itself totally atheistic!

In 1967, a total of 2,000 Albanian Christians and their churches were destroyed. Since that time, the practice of religion has been totally forbidden. Bibles were collected and burned. The mere possession of a Bible warrants execution by a firing squad.

It has been written of this place once called Illyricum that “severe measures had to be taken to erase Christianity from the minds of the people.” Christians were sealed in barrels and rolled into the sea. The bishop of Albania was enclosed in an iron cage the size of his body. Inside it were spikes that pierced his flesh. He was pushed along the streets until he died. Priests were shot. The children of Christian families were put in state nurseries from birth and their parents were not allowed to visit them. If they did visit, they were tortured for every hour that they spent with their child. How sobering it is to think that this seemingly God-forsaken region is the place where the Gospel was preached and manifested in its fullness! This was the place that saw the glory of God!

How could it have possibly descended into such a darkened spiritual condition?

No prayer. The Church abandoned its job. The eagles stopped watching.

Beware the Pattern of Regression

“Well, such a thing could never happen in the United States,” somebody might say.

I wish that were true, but the first chapter of Romans reminds us that it’s not. There, Paul describes the process of moral decline to which nations fall prey. He reveals a pattern of spiritual regression that has clearly begun not only in other nations of the world today, but in America as well. Referring specifically to people who have a history of knowing God, he says:

For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them. For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks) So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification]. (Romans 1:19–20 Amp) Consider this: God made Himself plain to the forefathers of this nation. They knew Him. They walked with Him. Through them the Declaration of Independence was written with a bold acknowledgement of God and His part in the establishment of this nation.

But in recent years, America’s acknowledgement of and dependence upon God has all but disappeared. This nation has in many ways become like those Paul wrote about who, although they recognized the existence of God, “...did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasonings, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened” (Romans 1:21 Amp).

Doesn’t that sound a lot like what has happened in America? This nation that once had the glory of God and experienced His excellence and majesty has stopped giving Him thanks and looking to Him for guidance. Instead, we’ve come up with our own foolish plans and put this country on a course of decline.

That’s serious business—and it leads from bad to worse. The people described in Romans chapter 1 found that out:

Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves]. And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin] because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever. (Romans 1:22–25 Amp)

You can look at any nation in the world and see that to some degree what’s in those verses has already happened. Even in the United States, although God has not abandoned her yet, we can see symptoms of this spiritual regression. Sexual perversion, specifically homosexuality, is one of the signs of it. Almost 30 years ago, Lester Sumrall warned that in America in the last days, homosexuality would become a normal thing. That sounded far out when he first said it, but now we see it happening around us. Homosexuality is presented as a normal lifestyle and Americans are being pushed to accept it.

The Bible says that kind of thing marks the final stage of a culture’s moral decline. It is what indicated in Paul’s day that God had given the people
“...over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions…. For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one, and the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another...And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome, until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice.
(Rom. 1:26–29 Amp)

Clearly, America has already started down this path and, as the Lord told Billye, there’s only one thing that will turn it around. There’s only one thing that will keep this nation from slipping into the depths of degradation described in these verses.

It is an awakening to God!

But for that awakening to come, the Church in America must do some work on her knees—not just a little but a lot of it. And it’s not going to be done by just a few people in a back room praying. It’s going to be the body of Christ coming together in prayer. Whole churches must give themselves to corporate prayer for America now.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God said to the nation of Israel, “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” (NKJV). He is saying the same thing to us today. As we do our part, He will do His part, and America will be saved!

Excerpted from the newsletter Prayer Notes by Lynne Hammond
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Lynne Hammond
Web site: Lynne Hammond Ministries
 
Lynne and her husband, Mac, pastor Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The desire of Lynne’s heart is to impart principles of corporate and Spirit-led prayer to the Church throughout the world. Under her leadership, the prayer ministry at Living Word has become an internationally recognized model for developing effective pray-ers in the local church. Each week at Living Word, 80 prayer groups led by 85 prayer leaders assemble for the purpose of following the direction of the Holy Spirit in prayer. Last year, more than 10,000 people participated in Chapel Prayer, which meets every morning at Living Word. Approximately 13,000 Internet subscribers through the Global Prayer Alert Network, receive daily prayer summaries from these meetings.
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