As a child, I pictured God as a kind grandfather in heaven, complete with flowing robe and long beard. I imagined him looking over the banisters of paradise watching his children play. In junior high I began reading Greek mythology and changed my image to an angry Zeus throwing lightning bolts at anyone who displeased him, a divine judge who looks for reasons to punish us.
When I became a Christian at the age of 15, my image changed to a Father of grace and mercy. He forgave all my sins and accepted me as his child. From then to today, I have been grateful every day for his compassion and favor.
However, in recent years I have become increasingly burdened that we see our loving Father as also our holy God. Scripture teaches that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Romans 1:18). If a person rejects Jesus' forgiveness, "the wrath of God remains on him" (John 3:36). David taught that "God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day" (Psalm 7:11).
God is especially angered by spiritual leaders who disobey his word and will. He warned the prophet, "My anger is hot against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders" (Zechariah 10:3). Paul warned Christians, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God" (Ephesians 4:30). As Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), I believe he weeps over America and especially American believers when we turn from him in sin and self-reliance. That's why I believe that God is calling the Christians of our nation to repentance.
Anne Graham Lotz agrees. Anne is a dear personal friend and one of the godliest people I have ever known. She recently talked with my wife and me about an initiative she is calling "7-7-7 An Urgent Call to Prayer." After speaking with her, we became convinced that God has put this call to prayer on her heart for our nation.
Here's how it works. On the first seven days of July, the seventh month, we will spend one hour in repentance and prayer. On the seventh day of July, we will spend seven hours of our choosing in prayer and fasting, asking God's blessing for America. Anne is writing a prayer for each of these seven days, and will make it available as a free daily email. I have already registered to receive it and hope you'll do the same.
Do you agree with me that America desperately needs a spiritual awakening? If God's people will humble ourselves, pray, seek his face, and turn from our wicked ways, he promises to hear us, forgive us, and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14). On July 1-7, will Jesus weep over America, or will he rejoice to hear your repentance and intercession for our nation?
Publication date: June 26, 2014