This past Sunday Pastor Dennis led us in a special prayer service called a Sacred Assembly. In ancient Israel this was part of the Jewish calendar seven times each year. This is a time to stop, pray, repent, worship, be reminded that the Lord God is the one who is in charge, and only He can turn the tide of wickedness knocking at our doors.
The prophet Joel said it best, Joel 1:14, 2:12-14 Proclaim a solemn assembly;
Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God and CRY OUT TO THE LORD. “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping an mourning, and rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. who know whether He will not turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him.
What is a Sacred or Solemn Assembly?
It is a Sacred time for God’s people to cry out to Him for forgiveness and revival.
No one else has the great privilege to intercede before God except the church of Jesus Christ. We stand in the gap between the eminent judgement of God on the sin of our nation and petition… CRY OUT… for mercy that will result in a turning from sin and a return to God. We are CRYING OUT for revival in our land.
Father, today we CRY OUT TO YOU because You are worthy of praise. You sent Your Holy Spirit on Pentecost so that we would never be without Your sweet presence and for that we are most grateful! Now, we offer to you our praise and worship, Father. Be blessed in all we do. In Jesus Name. Amen
We focused on 3 areas of crying out:
(1)…Crying Out to the Lord in Personal Repentance
There is a beautiful picture of prayer in Exodus 33:7-11…
Moses Meets with the Lord:
Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp. So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
Moses pitches a tent outside, far away, from the camp so that everyone who sought the Lord had to leave behind the society, the camp, and move far away from the place that sin took place.
But in the new covenant, that same tabernacle–the place that God resides–is the church of Jesus Christ. That is the whole point of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came from Heaven and set up residence in every one who repents and follows God.
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever: that is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”
1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
This is how we cry out with personal repentance:
Crying out to the Lord, agreeing with and acknowledging God’s grief concerning our sin, failures, attitudes, and hypocrisy. Humbly confessing our broken relationships, especially in the Body of Christ. Crying out to Him in confession and committing our lives to obeying His commandments.
(2)…Crying Out to the Lord for our Nation
No one can contest the fact that there has been a great increase of immorality and decrease of true biblical spirituality in America in the past two decades. It is not because the devil is more powerful and that God is getting old and tired but it is because God has lifted His hand of blessing and judged America with loving discipline by removing his gracious presence and mercy.
We have grieved His Holy Spirit and He has been silent in our midst.
I want us now to CRY OUT TO THE LORD in repentance for our nation, recognizing that it is both our privilege and responsibility to:
– Confess the sins of our nation
– Confess the loss of influence that the church’s lack of holiness has caused.
– And ask God to once again visit us with mercy, grace and revival.
This is not a time to be political. We serve in the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms, nations, politicians and money of this world has failed and will continue to do so! What we need is a revival of holiness and for God to move in healing and mercy… not the right person in the White House or the right party making the laws.
If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.
Now, pray for our nation. Pray out loud for our country! Raise our voices for our nation.
The house is on fire. The people inside are asleep!
Let’s raise our voices to our God who is watching and listening and ask our gracious and compassionate Father to extend His hand of mercy.
(3)…Crying Out to the Lord with Petitions and Thanksgiving
David wrote in Psalm 51, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
God gives grace to the humble.
Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
Paul wrote to the church in Philippi,
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.