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5/21/2014

LINCOLN'S CALL FOR A NATIONAL DAY OF REPENTANCE, FASTING & PRAYER

An Historical Precedent for our Senate & President 
and a Model for the Churches of America

During perhaps the darkest hour of this nation's history, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution asking President Abraham Lincoln to appoint a day of national prayer and fasting. The nation was in the throes of a great Civil War and the South seemed to have the upper hand. The nation's very existence was in jeopardy. Lincoln issued the following proclamation on March 30, 1863 designating April 30, 1863 as a national day of humiliation, prayer and fasting. Almost immediately after this day of repentance, prayer and fasting, the tide of the war turned and the Confederate troops led by their commander, General Robert E. Lee, were defeated by Union forces at Gettysburg the following July 3. Here is what President Lincoln said:

Whereas, the Senate of the United States devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation: And whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own 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 only are blessed whose God is Lord:

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. 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 and strengthened 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.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request and fully concurring in the view of the Senate, I do, by this proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the nation will be hard on high and answered with blessing no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. By the President: Abraham Lincoln.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an ordained minister, Bible teacher, church historian and author. His latest book is PURSUING POWER: How the Historic Quest for Apostolic Power & Control Has Divided and Damaged the Church, available from Amazon and from his website at www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html.



5/01/2014

IF MY PEOPLE: Why America's Future is in Our Hands

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (II Chrn. 7:14).

America’s future does not lie with the next election, a political process or a political party. America’s future will be determined by how the people of God respond to the current crises in our land. Will we humble ourselves and pray, acknowledging our absolute dependence on Him, or will we continue to selfishly pursue our own religious agendas and build our own personal kingdoms? America was formed out of a Great Spiritual Awakening that had been birthed in prayer and the only thing that will save her is another great spiritual awakening birthed in prayer.
Today, being the National Day of Prayer, offers an opportunity for the Christians of America to begin to fulfill the conditions that are clearly laid out in Scripture for a national healing and awakening. This day, as a national day of prayer, was formally enacted by Congress in 1952. However, national and regional days of prayer have been part of this nation’s history since colonial times, including 1775 when the Continental Congress designated a time of prayer in forming a new nation.
The 1775 designation was not something new but was actually an expression of the cultural mindset of the populace. Prior to this, for example, a pastor in New England reported that most of the churches had set apart days wherein to seek the Lord by prayer and fasting. In addition, he said, there were “annual fast days appointed by the government. Benjamin Franklin reported that in 1739 his hometown of Philadelphia had been so transformed that one could not walk through the town without hearing prayer and praise coming from houses on every street.
This attitude of prayerful dependence permeated every facet of American life at this time. John Adams (1735-1826), one of the Founding Fathers and the 2nd President of the United States, gave a moving account of the First Continental Congress that convened in September 1774 with Bible reading and prayer. When Psalm 35 was read, many were moved to tears and spontaneous expressions of prayer to God. Verses 9 and 23 were particularly significant: My soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in His salvation. . . . Awake and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord! In a letter to his wife, Abigail, about this event, Adams wrote;
Who can realize the emotions with which they turned imploringly to heaven for divine interposition and aid. It was enough to melt a heart of stone. I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seems as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read that day.
If this nation was birthed out of prayer and spiritual awakening can it hope to be preserved by anything less? Many Christians believe that America’s best days are behind her and that she will continue to decline politically, spiritually and morally. This was my view as well until one day in 2010 when I was surprised by the Holy Spirit who imparted a new hope and expectation in my heart.
It was a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon as I got in my car and began the three-hour drive to Kingfisher, Oklahoma, where I would be speaking the following day for friends in the church they pastored. As I pulled onto the highway, my heart and mind were suddenly and unexpectedly flooded with hope that America could experience another Great Awakening.
I must confess that I had lost hope of America seeing another national revival. It seemed to me thatrevival” had degenerated into the self-serving pursuit of sensational, religious phenomena, rather than being the fruit of a sincere seeking after God. Revival, it seemed, had become a hyped, man-made, religious event rather than a Divine invasion from heaven. I could identify with the words of R. A. Torrey who, almost a century ago, said:
The most fundamental trouble with most of our present- day, so-called revivals is that they are man-made and not God sent. They are worked up (I almost said faked up) by man’s cunningly devised machinerynot prayed down.
But as I drove along the highway that day, my hope for America was renewed. My heart was filled with fresh faith and hope for another Great Awakening that would revive and renew the churches of America, impact our culture, and stem the tide of secularism, immorality, and false religion that is flooding our land.
I could also see that God had preserved this nation through national spiritual awakenings that happened at crucial moments in our history. The Second Great Awakening (1800-1840), for example, took place just in time to save America from the negative influences of Deism and the French Revolution and to tame the bawdy, western frontier. Then, in 1858-1859, the Great Prayer Awakening came just in time to carry the nation through its most difficult time to date—the Civil War. I could also see clearly that, without another Great Awakening, the America we have known will surely cease to exist.
I hope you will join me and many others today in sincerely petitioning God for another Great Spiritual Awakening in our land. 


Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is a Bible teacher, historian and author. This article was derived from his book, America’s Revival Heritage available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html.