The Way Up is Down – Call 2 Fall – July 4th, 2010

The American nation–and the world as a whole–is desperately trying to pull itself up from a debilitating recession, an unending oil spill, and other woes.

Sometimes the way up is down…on our knees.

On July 4, 2010 the second annual Call 2 Fall event will point us the right direction. The greatest need of our time is to fall on our knees, confess our rebellion and sin against a holy and loving God, turn from our self-centered and apathetic ways and rebuild our homes, neighborhoods and societies upon the proven principles of His Word.

I’m excited to again invite you to participate in this year’s Call 2 Fall. This is the second year that Tony Perkins, the head of Family Research Council has called the Body of Christ in America to set aside time on Sunday, July 4, to humble themselves before God by praying on their knees. There’s nothing magical about kneeling. It’s just a good reminder of how sinful we are before a Righteous God and how dependent we are upon Him for renewal in our hearts and reformation and hope in our nation.

July 4 is on Sunday this year. Wouldn’t it be great if millions of believers went to their houses of worship on Saturday night or Sunday morning and fell our their faces to repent of sin and express their utter dependency on God? The remainder of the could be spent with family and friends celebrating our Independence as a nation.

First, repentance and expressing dependence on God.

Second, faith and celebration of our  independence from tyranny.

Right now there are over 275,000 churches and individuals that are committed to be a part of the Call 2 Fall. If you’re not already one of them, go to the Call 2 Fall web-site right now and sign up.

The Call 2 Fall is nothing fancy.  No slick program.  No big production.  Just setting aside a definite time during worship on July 4, 2010 when people get on their knees and faces before the Lord in repentant prayer for God to reshape their lives and renew our land. There are multiplied millions of believers who realize that America is in trouble and that neither Washington nor Wall Street has the answers. We are hoping that at least 40,000 churches will join in a corporate act of humility, repentance, and desperate prayer on our knees before the Lord.

“Call 2 Fall” on our knees will be happening in the many places Christians meet on Sunday, July 4. We realize that the church gathers in worship centers, store-fronts, homes, and various other places all across America.  We are calling believers to kneel at least 3 to 5 minutes before the Lord wherever they may gather that day, Sunday, July 4, 2010. Why that Sunday? Because on the day we celebrate our “Independence,” we should also express our “Dependence” upon the Lord. Throughout this special day, we encourage believers to spend time on their knees in crying out to God to heal our souls and our land.

Why is there a necessity for a Call 2 Fall? First, the Scriptures teach it. The key verse is 2 Chronicles 7:14: “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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The first requirement on the path to renewal is to “humble ourselves,” to fall on our knees and faces before the Lord in repentant prayer.  Over and over the Scriptures teach this.  

Second, our history records it.   Our founding fathers sensed the need for a “Call 2 Fall” in view of the monumental struggle we were engaged in with Britain.  The First Continental Congress called for a day of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer throughout the Colonies on July 20th, 1775 just after war broke out. James Warren wrote Samuel Adams: “Three millions of people on their knees at once, supplicating the aid of Heaven, is a striking circumstance, and a very singular one in America . May the blessings of Heaven follow in answer to our prayers…”

In addition, colonial America and the early years of our republic experienced what observers have called Great Awakenings, which began with God’s people humbling themselves in repentant prayer and led to others becoming followers of Christ. 

Third, our nation needs it. Ponder the past decade.  From 9/11 to war to natural disasters to financial and moral collapse, we are witnessing what happens when a nation turns away from God.  In view of the monumental challenges of our times, do we not find ourselves in a similar situation as that of ancient Israel and early America?  Consequently, we are sensing the need to return to simple but powerful truths like:

God is sovereign.  He is holy and He is love. We are sinners.  We are saved from His severity of His wrath toward sin only by the fierceness of His love in Christ. When we drift away in disobedience, we experience His discipline. His judgments are just. The pathway back must begin with:

  • A humility and brokenness before the Lord.
  • A desperation to find the face of God.
  • A heart cry for the mercy of God.
  • A desire to turn from our sinful ways.
  • A resolve to return to the ways of God.
  • This is what the ancient words of Scripture are calling us to do when we speak of a “Call 2 Fall.” 

I finished a Masters thesis in May and it contains another description of a “Call 2 Fall” in 1857 that brought a great revival to America during the Civil War. Here is the brief story:

“One of the most unusual prayer movements of the period was the lay-led “noon prayer meetings” that helped ignite the Great Revival of 1857. The man most credited with this prayer revival was Jeremiah Lanphier, a New York merchant.

On September 23, 1857, Lanphier climbed creaking stairs to the third story of an old church building on Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan and sat down to wait. He’d place a sign on the street below that read “Prayer Meeting from 12 to 1 o’clock—Stop 5, 10, or 20 minutes, or the whole hour as your time admits.” For months few had joined him. This particular week, six people eventually trudged in. The following week twenty had gathered to pray, and the next week—forty.
 
On October 14, 1857 the nation was staggered by the worst financial panic in its history. Banks closed, men were out of work, and families went hungry. In a few short weeks, the Fulton Street Prayer Meeting had taken over the whole building with crowds of more than 3,000.  Within six months, 10,000 businessmen (out of a population of 800,000) were gathering daily in New York City for prayer.
 
The revival of prayer soon jumped the Atlantic Ocean and spread across the United States, impacting most of the major cities in the nation. After a number of years, and continuing during the American Civil War, it is estimated that more than one million people came to Christ including 43,388 Southern Methodists, 135,517 Northern Methodists, and 92,243 Baptists.  This particular prayer movement was mostly led by laymen, not clergy, and certainly formed the backdrop of the large missionary surge that went around the world in the coming decades.”

I personally feel that a major financial downturn or double-dip recession is very likely in the not-so-distant future. Why? Because as Abraham Lincoln so wisely said during those difficult Civil War years:

“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.”

Those words were uttered by our nation’s greatest president to ask the people of America to fall on their knees in prayer and humiliation on April 30, 1963. God heard their prayers and brought victory and blessing to our nation.

July 4, 2010 is our day–our time. Will you go to your knees in prayer? Will you mobilize your church to participate in national repentance and renewal?

Sometimes the way up is down.

May this Independence Day 2010 become a new beginning of faith and freedom in the United States and all over the world.

 

 

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