March 22, 2023
As the people in America becomes more and more divided, David and Karen Mains urgently request the members of the clergy to call those in their congregations to pray for our nation.
The time is now for the clergy of America to call their people to sustain and earn as prayer on behalf of this nation we love.
David: A common question asked many times by most of us is, “What time is it?” I’m not sure what the average age is for a child to start asking “what time it is”, but my guess is that it’s somewhere around eight or nine years old. For many years, many women carried a pocket watch. Then during World War II, the wristwatch became an item of military importance. That’s because attacks could be coordinated now by the minute or even the second. The world’s first commercial electronic digital wristwatch was introduced in 1972. The cost was $2,100 or about $12,000 in today’s currency. What time is it? We live in an increasingly time-conscious world.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go podcast featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife noted author, Karen Mains. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
Karen: Then you have been listening to my husband talking about time, asking the question, well what time is it?
David: Karen, I’m going to give just a bit more background and then we’ll dialogue together, okay? It’s probably safe to assume that when Jesus lived here on earth, the culture was less time conscious. Even so, our Lord makes the most interesting comment in Luke chapter 19. This is during the triumphal entry. Our Lord is approaching Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives riding on a cold, and He speaks this prophetic word, “The days will come when your enemies will build an embankment against you and circle you on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you, and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” What we would say is you weren’t smart enough to tell what time it was. God was here on the earth in human form as Jesus. And that very week the impossible would happen. He would be put to death in horrible fashion and the religious world would have a part in what was going on. You didn’t recognize the time of God coming to you is how Jesus expressed it. It’s not on the same scale but my belief is that America has come to a most important time in our nation’s history. Without taking sides in the controversy, let me state that our nation is terribly polarized. In my mind as a minister, it is now time for the church to play an important role in what’s unfolding. I believe it’s time for the clergy of America to call their people to prayer on behalf of this nation. Hear me please, I’m not asking for the church to take sides, that’s the last thing that’s needed. Rather I’m challenging the clergy, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, to rally their people to pray. Not prayers that are political statements but prayers that say we love this nation and the freedom of worship it gives us, but as a people we seem to have lost our way and we need your help, God. We are a part of the great divide and we want somehow to make our way back to love for all people and not straining to remove the speck from someone else’s eye when maybe there’s a log in our own. For too long we’ve demeaned the other side and we need not to talk less and listen more. An appropriate prayer at such times is forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. We need to get back to the basics as Christians. Teach us, Lord, to uphold our leaders in our prayers. Forgive us for failing the prayers we should. We have become far too critical, oh God, we repent. The truth is we’ve gotten ourselves into a mess, God, and we need your help to get out of it without doing further harm to one another. Here’s what I’m saying in a sentence, okay? The time is now for the clergy of America to call their people to sustain and earn as prayer on behalf of this nation we love. You with me in that, Karen?
Karen: Yeah, I am. Although I think you really have a God-given impulse here. I think that your role as someone who has watched the culture, and we’ve been in national radio broadcasting over the Chapel of the Air, you led for 20 years. So I think that you’ve had a national vision for all these many years. So I honor that in you. I think it’s prophetic. I think that it’s a God-given burden that’s been placed on your heart. However, I have realized that I have lapsed in my prayers of intercession for this nation. And so, you have stimulated me to repent of my neglect and to say to the Lord, “Give me a light passion”, because I do believe these passions are holy passions and they’re given to us by God because he raises up for that purpose. And I looked up intercession this morning in the Scripture because that’s what we’re doing.
Karen: When we pray, for we are interceding.
David: Yes. Intercessory prayer.
Karen: Intercessory prayer. This verse from Hebrews I wrote down in my prayer journal, “But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for them.”
David: Hmmm. It’s beautiful.
Karen: So, when we intercede, this is what helps me. This is an imaginative prayer practice I used to do all the time and have become neglectful of it. I would think of Jesus interceding in an intercessory prayer that just went on and on, never ending. And in my mind, I could see this ring of circle, hundreds and thousands of saints who joined with him from all over the world, interceding with him who intercedes constantly for us. And so, to help myself be a practitioner of this kind of prayer in my mind, this is an imaginative tool. I would place myself within that intercessory ring.
Karen: And then I would just let those unspoken prayers, you know, the ones the spirit prays through us. We don’t know how to pray. Scripture tells us in the spirit enables our praise through us. Just open up my being to that intercessory practice. So that I pledge, that I, Karen Mains, want to make a vow, that I will begin to step into that circle of intercessors and lift my heart up in prayer as the Holy Spirit stimulates it to pray for this nation. And for the sort of laxity of the local church, I think sometimes the local church is confused as to what to do, but we can pray. We know we can do that. And through history, I believe, you have a book in hand. I think it’s one of those extraordinary stories you’re going to tell out of the history of the United States.
David: For people who feel like they’re small and their prayers don’t make any difference.
David: I would remind them of our own American history. One of the great revival times was 1857-58. There were lay prayer groups all across this country. It spread from the east first and then the Midwest and up to the far west. People come together to pray it all began in New York City.
Karen: Hmmm… That to give us the years again on this.
David: 1857-58, and you have to realize this was a horrible time in terms of the country. The Civil War began 1861.
Karen: So, there was all this dissent.
David: Terrible division.
Karen: And animosity and division in public discourse. Yeah… Like now.
David: Yeah… only…
Karen: Without the media to make it, you know, non-stop media to keep focus on it all the time.
David: But it was something that no one could let go of.
David: There was a tug of war going on and there was their side and our side.
David: That kind of thing. In New York City, the churches were struggling.
Karen: Uh… hmmm
David: The Old North Dutch church was on hard days. They weren’t sure what to do. They decided as a last minute thing they would hire a fellow who had no clergy background. He had been a businessman.
Karen: Good choice. Ha-ha-ha
David: Jeremiah C. Lanfier.
Karen: Say his name again when we’re laughing.
David: Jeremiah C. Lanfier.
David: Okay, you probably haven’t heard of him, except in my sermons, they’re so often when I bring up his name.
David: But he found that his own personal prayer times were helpful to him. When he would be discouraged, he would turn to prayer, and he thought maybe other businessmen would like to pray with him. So, he said on this given date, it was in 1857, and I don’t remember the exact date, but he advertised a prayer meeting. He sent little flyers around in the neighborhood, and we would pray from 12 until 1.
Karen: Uh… hmmm
David: He was the only guy. Hahaha…
Karen: Hahaha…At the first prayer meeting.
Karen: A prayer group of one. Hahahaha.
David: That was for the first half hour.
David: But after that, he was joined by one person, then by several others. So at the end of the first meeting, there were six people.
Karen: I’m anticipating an extraordinary story that’s building here. So how many after the first meeting there were?
David: They decided they would meet for another week.
David: And they had 20.
David: And the following week, they had 40. And then they decided that they would make it a daily event. And then all of a sudden, things…
Karen: So, all day or just a certain time in the day of every day?
David: Every day.
David: Well, not on Sundays.
David: But every day they would meet from 12 until 1.
Karen: All right.
David: Within six months, 10,000 businessmen.
Karen: Oh Jesus… Oh my
David: …out of a population of 800,000 were gathering daily in New York City for prayer. And what started there began to move all across the country because God was working in response to those prayers. Here in Chicago, 2,000 people joined together for prayer in the Metropolitan Theater.
Karen: Two… How many was it?
Karen: 2,000. Haha… I can’t imagine 2,000 Chicago doing that today.
David: One of the problems they had was there were so many people, they had to set up rules. You know, you can’t pray for more than five minutes.
Karen: Oh, Great. Oh, that’s so great.
David: But there were incredible stories that went on. In Kalamazoo, I remember one story where… someone said, I request the prayers of this group for my unconverted husband.
Karen: It’s a woman and wife.
David: Yeah, a wife had and almost instantly somebody stood up and said, “I have to be that man. I have a praying wife. She prayed for me all the time. I want you to pray for me too.” But then when he sat down, another guy stood up. “No, I think I’m that person that…” Before, you know, there were five, six men and there was a time, even in the prayer meeting, when these people came to the Lord. It was an amazing thing.
Karen: So that swept all the way across the nation.
Karen: …that prayer movement that began in New York swept all across the nation.
David: And you know, it was interrupted by the Civil War. But even during the Civil War, there were huge numbers of conversions. In the Confederate ranks, in the soldiers, there were 150,000 men who came to the Lord during those days. Because there were campfire meetings when then the people would pray together. It was just a time when everyone said, yeah, this is where we are. This is what has to happen. We have to come to the Lord and ask Him to help us. Before doing this podcast, I’ve shared with several people, in fact, more than that, probably, saying, I think it’s the time for the pastors of the churches, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, to call their people to prayer. And it sounds like what difference is that going to make? But this momentum began to build. I found when people, I would talk about this, they would say, “You can’t get people to pray about this. It’s divisive”, you know. But I’ve not found that to be the case. I’m in a prayer group for revival every Wednesday. You know, the same people get together.
Karen: You pray by phone.
David: We do it by phone.
Karen: People from all over the country, not a large group, just, what, seven or eight people?
David: And very diverse.
Karen: Uh, Hmmm. Politically diverse. Yeah
David: Aha! But we’ve learned to pray together. And we have learned how to learn from one another. That’s one of the common statements when the people come together. We learn so much.
Karen: Hearing each other pray, you’re not giving little lectures, mini lectures on prayer. You’re just praying. So, you’re learning as you hear others pray.
David: You’ve just gone on for several years.
David: …and we’ve never gotten it in an argument on anything political, you know,
Karen: And you wouldn’t because it would ruin the spirit of the crew.
David: Yeah, it’s been wonderful.
Karen: David, I think there are listeners, people who are catching those podcasts and they’ve gotten to that point you think there’s nothing that can be done. Everything is so dark and we’re calling one another names. And you do have this constant media. You used to be a time where you had media reports at various times in the day. But now you have daily, hour by hour, by hour, news coverage and it repeats and repeats and repeats and it influences us with what is negative. And most of it is what is wrong. There’s very rarely good reporting on the good things that people do in the world.
David: Very rarely is it too strong.
Karen: So, I think…
David: Sometimes there’s a good report.
Karen: Sometimes but then it’s minimal in comparison to the other.
David: You’re talking about television now.
Karen: I’m talking about television right, mostly television right now. So, what we need to do is not to take our cues from that where we begin to say nothing can be done. Things are looking bad politically, we’re in a hostile environment. I mean we can name all the things that are awful. Because we believe in a God who answers prayers. Who is as scripture says, “Interceding for us, non-stop. And we can join in his powerful….”
David: I think there’s a great picture that you painted at the beginning. I think Jesus would like to see this nation find healing, find love.
Karen: And let’s go on and pray for revival. Pray for that sweeping revival that sparks in some little unlikely spot by believers who begin to gather and pray. The group grows from one person to five to 20 to 40 to 2000. You know, that’s what we need to see.
David: Yeah, I’m just in the position where I’m saying, “Lord there’s not a question in my mind You have said to me put off the call.” I may be the 582nd person to do that. I don’t know where I am in the chain, but I want to be a part of that.
Karen: So, what we’re saying to those who are listening to this podcast. There is a lot of hope out there for us. And if we will commit ourselves, first of all, to ask forgiveness for our prayerlessness… then ask.
David: That will happen, Karen. As you begin to pray, pretty soon you say, hey, I’m a part of this. I can’t remove myself as though I’m the innocent party coming and talking to God. You come and say, “Lord, my tongue is wagged. I’ve called people.”
Karen: I’ve been malicious. God hates a malicious tongue, but I have been malicious.
David: I have repeated things. Probably shouldn’t have been repeated. I have failed to pray for my elected leaders the way I should.
Karen: Right. I’ve spread gossip. I don’t know whether it’s even true or not. Just because it’s gossip. I mean, all of these things are things we need to be.
David: I’ve allowed hatred to be a part of my heart.
Karen: Right. I’ve judged. I’ve judged harshly. Not discriminately, but harshly.
David: Hu, Hmmm. Yeah. So, Lord, begin with us. Begin with us and do what you need to do but bring healing to this land.
Karen: So those are the things we’re praying for. And can we ask those people who are listening to us, “What are you going to pray for today? What time is it? What time do you think it really is”?
David: Yeah. I think that’s a good way to end.
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