Jack Graham - Patriot Prayers
Today I stand with a particular burden for our country and with a prayer in my heart that God would save America; that we would live again in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The title of the message from Psalm 80 is "Patriot Prayers". And real patriots are men and women of prayer. In December of 1862 Abraham Lincoln described America as the last best hope of earth. It is true that America as we have been founded and framed as a nation is the hope of democracy and freedom on earth. But America is in deep, deep trouble. I come to you as a patriot and I come to you today as a prophet because we are facing a national catastrophe, a national crisis. Indeed we have a beautiful history and a wonderful heritage, but the question we must raise today is: Do we have a future? What is the future of America?
Because even as Francis Schaeffer said a generation ago, "One day we would wake up and find an America far different than the one that we had known". We awaken to that reality today: an America that is far different than what we had known, what our founders and framers, our fathers, our grandfathers imagined. We sing God bless America. It's my prayer that that would be more than a song and more than a slogan for political purposes, but that it would be the cry of our heart. That God could bless America today! And while all blessings are from the good hand of God, His grace, His favor, there are conditions for the blessings of God. Are we as a country in condition to receive the blessings that God desires to give? I think not. America has rebelled against holy God and judgment is sure to follow, as sure as night follows day unless there is a miracle for our nation. Unless there is a new spiritual revolution.
Our nation was born in 1776 in a revolution. May God give us a spiritual revolution in our own generation that America may live again. Psalm 80 was written during a time of national crisis as well. And there are many parallels from what the psalmist prays in this passage to the need of the hour for America today. Because Israel, like America, had forgotten God and was living under discipline and judgment. But David the king, David the patriot prayed passionately, fervently that Almighty God would destroy, but rather save his beloved nation Israel. So he cries out in verse one of Psalm 80: "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come and save us"!
This is the cry that the Christian should express today! "God Almighty! Jesus Lord and Savior, come and save us"! We must pray with the same heart cry and devotion of David, this man who prayed for revival in that day; we pray that we also could live again. That's what revival is: to relive, to be born again, to live again. This is our prayer. And this prayer begins when we remember our national history and heritage. That's what David did. Look at verses 8 through 11 of Psalm 80: "You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it; that it would take deep root and it filled the land. The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches. It sent out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River".
Just as God planted and then prospered the nation of Israel as it is described here, so has God planted and prospered this nation that we love, America. Not in the same sense scripturally as Israel are we planted by God, as the chosen and called out by God, Israel, but we certainly parallel to that have been called out, unique and special in all of the earth. And the founders and framers of this nation recognize and relied upon this truth. For example, we're going to take some time this morning to review the beginnings of our nation and the powerful statements made that describe why this nation was birthed.
Before the Constitution, before the Declaration of Independence, when the first travelers, pilgrims came to this country on the Mayflower, they united together on shore for an original Mayflower Compact in 1620, and listen to what was said, written: "In the name of God, Amen... Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and the advancement of the Christian faith... do solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God,... covenant and combine ourselves together... For the advancement of the Christian faith" they came to this country. In 1643 the New England Confederation gave us these words. Before the Declaration of Independence; these were early papers of our nation's history: "Whereas we all come into these parts with one and the same end and aim... (What was that end and aim?) namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity and peace".
The man known as the father of America, George Washington, He was a Christ follower, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, claimed that if it were not for divine intervention he would have never lived to have seen the revolution or to become the first president of this country. During the French and Indian War Washington led troops into battle, and in one battle over 700 of his men were killed. And when the fighting stopped, Washington was the only one left, mounted on his horse. He looked down at his vest and there were three bullet holes in his vest, but he didn't have a scratch or an injury. And an old, fifteen years later he returned to the site of this battle and an old Indian chief who was now an ally to Washington and to America, said to him, and I quote, "I wanted to meet the man that God had miraculously saved in that battle".
The chief told Washington that he had instructed his braves to aim their muskets at him and, knowing that if the leader was shot, the troops would retreat, all of the braves fired at Washington, he claimed, and even the chief said that he had shot Washington seventeen times, yet he remained unharmed. The hand of God, the divine intervention of God moved in those early days of America.
Samuel Adams who's known as the father of the American Revolution said this: "The rights of the colonists as Christians may be best understood by reading and studying the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Head of the Christian church; which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament". The Declaration of Independence, of course, speaking of everyone being "endowed by their Creator by inalienable rights" also stated in 1776, "and for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence. We mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor". One by one, many of these men who were evangelical believers and followers of Christ Himself, stated their faith that this nation was founded upon the principles of the Bible, the bedrock of truth!
John Quincy Adams, who is the son of the second president, John Q. Adams, the sixth president of the United States (his father signed the Declaration of Independence) stated this in 1821: "From the time of the Declaration of Independence the American people were bound by the laws of God and the laws of the Gospel, which they all acknowledge as the rules of their conduct". Quincy Adams also said, "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: that it tied together into one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity". Again, John Q. said, "All must admit that the reception of the teachings of Christ result in the purest patriotism in the most scrupulous fidelity to public trust and the best type of citizenship".
John Jay, if we could move to the judicial branch. John Jay said (he was the first Justice of the Supreme Court, one of three men most responsible for the formation and the writing of the U. S. Constitution) He said: "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our (what?) Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers". Our seventh president, Old Hickory, Andrew Jackson (these men also believed the Bible), he said, concerning God's Word, "That Book, sir, is the Rock upon which our Republic rests". Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth president, said, in regard to this great Book: "I have this to say: it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book"! Yes, God planted America!
This great nation has flourished. Even as David described the flourishing of Israel, we can stand back and say God has given this great nation a bounty of blessing. And yet our nation's populace, including our leaders, seemingly have forgotten these great truths. We're in process of changing our viewpoint regarding our nation's past; rewriting history. Our children are no longer learning what I just repeated to you regarding our nation's history and founding. Not in the school, not in the church, not in the home. I was recently in Washington D.C. The Tallest structure in Washington is the Washington Monument, pointing to the heavens. And did you know that inscribed on the top of the Washington Monument are these words: "Let God be praised"!
America was established, grounded, founded upon that truth: "May the name of our God be praised"! It's time once again that we lift our eyes to the heavens, to our great God, to the One who is enthroned with the cherubim, and cry out, "Let God be praised"! These truths that I've described to you and share with you have been rewritten to accommodate secularism! The Christian-haters, the God-despisers, the rewriters of history have lied to America! It is patently false to claim that America was established as a secular society without God! Patrick Henry, that redheaded, red-blooded patriot, said in 1776, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians! Not by religions but by the Gospel of Jesus Christ"!
God give us patriot dreams and prayers like that again! Unfortunately a nation is a reflection of its leadership! We need leaders who will unapologetically describe themselves as followers of Christ and point to the fact that this nation is built upon the Judeo-Christian faith forever and ever! I'm not speaking of an institutionalized religion or a state religion, but upon the bedrock truth that this nation is given to us by the hand of God! And when we turn our backs upon this gift, we will face a sure and certain judgment. President Theodore Roosevelt, one of my personal favorites in history, in the 20th century said, "America was born as a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture".
I could go on and on and on. Read your history and read it well! Teach it to your children. Do not allow the secularism of this culture to rob you of the great history, the spiritual history of this country. The fact is we've forgotten our national history and repudiated our national and spiritual heritage. And if we do not turn away from our rebellion, as sure as night follows day, we will face a certain judgment. We will not survive at our current and repugnant way of life! What made us great was God's grace! And our only hope is for revival. Psalm 85, verse 6 says, "Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You"? The Bible tells us that we are to cry out to God! How can we strengthen ourselves and our children for these days ahead? We cry out to God!
Back to Psalm 80, verse 2: "Stir up your might and come and save us"! Verse 17 and 19: "Restore us, O God. Let Your face shine that we may be saved". Verse 14: "Turn again, O God of host, look down from heaven and see; have regard for this vine". Verse 18: "Then we shall not turn our back from you. Give us life and we will call upon your name". We cry out for revival and with tears of repentance. Verse 5 of Psalm 80 says: "You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure". It's our brokenness that may bring us to our blessedness again. Our tears to help us to see the light of the glory again, to wash our eyes that we may see the light of glory again. Our prayers must be fervent and reverent, passionate and persistent. Cry out to God! And then live out the faith that we have been given.
We are ambassadors for Christ! What is an ambassador? An ambassador is a representative of one nation in the land of another. We are ambassadors for Christ as citizens of the heavenly kingdom we are ambassadors for Christ in this land! We are to lift up Christ in our nation and in this world. We are to influence and invite others to Christ. This is not the first time that God's church has faced opposition. And we know that opposition and more opposition is on the way. But our battle is not with flesh and blood. We have a hope beyond the political and cultural landscape. We can rise above the culture. And our hope is not in Washington or the government, our hope is not in more nuclear power or more technology, our hope is not in electing the next candidate; our hope is in God Almighty and God Himself alone! The One who is enthroned on the throne of the universe! I don't want simply to moralize America, to provide some kind of external standard of righteousness for this country.
That's what the Pharisees did. It's not my primary purpose to see to it that prayer gets back into the school. I like what Jim Simble has said, "Our job is not to put prayer back in the public school, but to put it back in our homes and our churches". We need revival! Let judgment begin at the house of God! God's agenda, God's mission is the conversion of the human soul that is eternal and immortal. This is the truth that transforms lives. But there is no life without Jesus! In Him we live and move and have our being. Without Christ we are lifeless, we live in death, we have no reason to exist. The church has no reason to exist apart from Christ and this Gospel!
And the reason that so many churches today are on life support is because they do not preach the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revival must begin in the church! Our job is not simply to dole out good advice, but to proclaim Good News! The Good News of Christ! Jesus is in control of every nation. He is coming back, and I believe coming back soon to put everything in order. But until then He will strengthen us and our families in these dark days if we will cry out to Him and stand out for Him and live out for Him this Gospel!
Our message is very, very clear. It is the message of Jesus. You don't come to God in your own way. You don't pick and choose in a religious smorgasbord your own religion and your own way! That you come by Christ and His cross, or you don't come at all! That no person can come to God apart from Jesus Christ! We announce the Good News of salvation in love and compassion and grace. Our message is that God loves you, He died on the cross for your sins, He rose again that you might have eternal life. He is the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father except by Him! We unapologetically proclaim this message! Some accuse us of trying to Christianize America. I unapologetically want to Christianize America! I want to evangelize every man, woman, boy and girl in this beloved nation!