GOD DOES RESPOND TO OUR PRAYERS: PRESIDENT TRUMP PRAYS

On Good Friday, President Donald Trump held a service in the Oval Office. I call it a “service” because the things he said were pointing people back to God in this tumultuous time. Once he was done speaking, he turned it over to Bishop Harry R. Jackson. Bishop Jackson took that time to pray a blessing over the president and over the nation.

It was refreshing to see such a spiritual moment in the Oval Office.

“We as Christians believe that prayer changes things,” Bishop Jackson says. “We believe that, although God’s in control of everything, and He has given an opportunity for us to, in a sense, influence the future destiny of a nation, the destiny of our families.

Bishop Jackson believes prayer is especially vital right now with the coronavirus pandemic raging. A few weeks ago, he received a revelation that prayer was going to impact the nation’s destiny. He was reading in Numbers 16 about the time God sent a plague to the people of Israel because a group was rebelling against Moses and Aaron.

Moses knew the plague was because of the people’s rebellion, so he told Aaron to run and grab his censer—which Bishop Jackson says represents the prayers of the saints—and stand “between the dead and the living” (Numbers 16:48a).

When Aaron obeyed, God stopped the plague and showed mercy to Israel.

“Many national prophetic figures got that same Scripture,” Bishop Jackson says. “Many of us have believed that God is going to mitigate the impact of the plague if the church prays. Ironically, from Friday at noon to Monday and Tuesday at noon, all of a sudden, we found the governor talking about the fact that everything had peaked in New York. And it seemed as though our Passover prayer—asking God to pass over, asking God to use our prayers to be like Aaron’s incense, forming a line between the living and the dead—it actually worked.”

Bishop Jackson reiterates that it wasn’t his prayer, or anyone’s prayer specifically, that changed the tide of the coronavirus deaths. But rather, it was God’s mercy in response to His people’s cries.

And more of God’s mercy is certainly on its way. Bishop Jackson believes God is even stirring up awakening in this season.

“I believe that we’re going to see evangelism at its best manifest in this season,” he says. “I’m excited about it. And awakening is at the door, following the shaking, so that our confidence might not be in the arm of the flesh, but in the Word of the living God.”

Let’s hope that Bishop Jackson is right with his evangelism belief but he is certainly right that God answers prayer so let’s make sure we keep that channel open and intensify our prayer efforts.

EVIDENCE GOD ANSWERS PRAYER

Australia has the second lowest coronavirus death rate of the industrialised G20 nations.. The world average is 4.8%, while Australia’s sits at 0.4%. Compare this to the UK’s 6.4%, or Italy’s 11.4%. Our death rate here in Australia is 12 times better than the world average. God is truly protecting our nation.
This has been helped in no small part by the leadership of our Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He was weeks ahead of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in labelling COVID-19 a pandemic. February 28th is when ScoMo made this call, while WHO waited until March 11th to make the same move.

As I have stated in a previous post, the miraculous circumstance by which Scott Morrison became leader of this nation proves beyond doubt that he is God’s man for this hour. He is a man of faith and a man of prayer. On Sunday, he joined almost 1,000 other Aussie believers on a Zoom prayer call. Many were moved to tears as they heard his heartfelt prayers for the nation of Australia in the face of this crisis.

GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS

It’s difficult to overstate how historic it is for a sitting Australian Prime Minister to wear his faith so unapologetically, and humbly bring the nation’s needs before Almighty God. With 21,000 people in attendance, Scott Morrison prayed publicly for Australia at the Hillsong Conference, the biggest annual Christian conference in the nation. Scott Morrison petitioned God to intervene for young people struggling with mental health, veterans, Indigenous Aussies, those with disabilities, and for a break to the drought. Take a listen and be encouraged as we were.

MORRISON’S PENTECOSTALISM A BLESSING FOR AUSTRALIA

AMAZING this article appeared in the AUSTRALIAN (secular press) this morning. Thank you LORD. The article is by Greg Sheridan Foreign Editor.

Illustration: Eric Lobbecke.

Scott Morrison is probably the first leader of a significant Western nation to be a faithful member of a Pentecostal Christian church. It has been widely reported that he worships at the Horizon Pentecostal church in Sydney’s Sutherland (I live just 8Km/5m from this church). There have been national leaders in Africa and very prominent politicians in other parts of the world who have been Pentecostals, but not before in a big Western nation.

On that basis, we should celebrate the Prime Minister’s advancement as a further sign of pluralism and diversity in Australia. Indeed, as usual Australia leads the world in some elements of diversity. Our top three positions in government are now held by a Pentecostal PM, a Catholic deputy PM and a Jewish deputy Liberal leader. The fact this is all incidental to their politics and not in itself a big deal is a sign of what a sensible, good ­society we are at heart.

Nonetheless, it is also the case that the ambient culture is becoming ever more hostile to the belief and practice of Christianity. Morrison was right in parliament to foreshadow that he will be proactive in establishing much needed greater protection for religious freedom. This is good in substance and a popular position in the Coalition parties.

Morrison’s Menzies lecture was given almost in the style of an evangelical preacher and I thought it genuine and effective. Politicians govern on the basis of policy and competence but are also judged on character and personality. Communicating personality in a way that people relate to is beneficial, provided it’s genuine.

ScoMo is genuinely, among other things, a suburban churchgoer. Pentecostals are not well known or understood outside their own tradition. In my recent book, God is Good for You, I write at length about Australian Pentecostals. Let me therefore confess a bias: I like and admire the Pentecostals. In Australia, and around the world, the Pentecostals are one of the most dynamic movements in Christianity.

They are completely mainstream and their doctrine is orthodox in Christian terms and Bible-based. Things that people like about them very much are a tradition of great music, a positive, cheerful outlook and an energy about their worship and their corporate personality. Like all Christian movements, like all human movements, they’ve had their scandals, but that just proves they’re human like everyone else.

Pentecostal theology centres on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the central passage in the New Testament that inspires Pen­tecostals comes in Acts of the Apostles: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all togeth­er in one place. And sudden­ly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tong­ues, as of fire, appear­ed among them, and a tongue raised on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other lang­uages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”

Pentecostals are a Christian denomination, rapidly growing with more than a half-billion followers worldwide, and a movement within many denominations.

Modern Pentecostalism grew out of a little, impoverished, mixed-race church in Azusa Street, Los Angeles, in 1906. It was led by an African-American pastor, William Seymour, a son of freed slaves. This certainly has the right Christian feel about it as the starting point of a big revival.

One of the features that most propels Pentecostal success, I think, is its emphasis on experience rather than intellectualising. This can make its church services emotional and uplifting.

The most controversial aspects of Pentecostalism are traditionally speaking in tongues and faith healing. But almost all Christians of all denominations pray for the sick and accept that occasionally their prayers are answered. Speaking in tongues happens a lot in the New Testament. Pentecostals believe speaking in tongues is the Holy Spirit enabling them to pray. A sceptic may view it as a kind of free-range voc­alisation of the sentiment of pray­er. There is certainly nothing in it of superstition or of the sinister.

Pentecostals are generally different from evangelicals. The latter typically define themselves by the act of being born again, their adherence to the inerrancy of scripture and the need to actively proclaim the faith. Pentecostals would share much of that and add the need to be baptised again in the Spirit. They have had a lot of success recruiting young people.

Happily, the old hostilities and ­rivalries between different Christian denominations have substantially disappeared. The differ­ences now tend to be between those who accept the traditional, orthodox teachings of Christianity — such as the physical resurrection of Christ — and those who interpret all such teachings symbolically or allegorically.

My taste in church music tends towards Gregorian chant. But if I’d paid good money to attend any of the Pentecostal services I’ve been to just for the quality of the rock music, I would have no complaints. Because Pentecostals have been using modern communications techniques to deliver a very traditional message for a long time, they’re good at it.

Traditional message, modern communications. A fertile mix.

GOD APPOINTS OUR LEADERS PART 2

More on God’s intervention in the leadership of Australia as an answer to much prayer going on in this nation. A time for rejoicing, YES! but also a time for us share the good news and expand our efforts with renewed prayer and fasting. Listen to what Warwick Marsh of the National Day of Prayer and Repentance had to say.

Brief summary: “We believe we have had some amazing answers to prayer over the last two weeks. Firstly the Senate rejected Euthanasia on 15 September and a new Christian Prime Minster & Jewish deputy Prime Minster were both unexpectedly elected to lead the Coalition Government on Friday 24 September. We also need to pray that God would intervene to block the Queensland government introducing legalised abortion in Queensland. Please tell your friends to pray, fast and repent for breakthrough in our nation on these dates.”

One article in The Weekend Australian mentions Scott Morrison’s maiden speech in the Federal Parliament in 2008. He described his family and his faith as “the most significant influences in my life”. In that speech he also boldly stated that “our task is not to claim whether God is on our side but to pray earnestly that we are on His”. Consistent with this, we read that “In December Mr Morrison stepped up his role as a leader of the conservative right in the Liberal Party. … He also promised to play a leading role in the push to enshrine further “protections” for religious freedom in law.”