November 08, 2019
Well-loved broadcasters David & Karen Mains launch their eighth podcast with a discussion about how in a divided society Christians must take seriously the power of words to wound or to heal.
Karen and I have a strong conviction that now is the time for the clergy of the land to call Christians to prayer. Personal prayer, corporate prayer. This is not a time for partisan prayers. I don’t want us praying Republican prayers or a Democratic prayer.
David: I fear that the next few months will be perilous for America. Regardless of one’s political stance, the impeachment of a president is not an easy process to go through. Whatever the end results, it could leave us even more polarized as a people.
Karen: Yeah, I have those fears too. I think that we are in a time in American history when we’re divided. Our discourse is negative, where we don’t know how to listen to one another and where we’re inundated with negative media messages. I mean you can hardly get away from it. Even those who try to be objective, to practice objective journalism seem to be slanted or biased or opinionated. I think these are treacherous and perilous times.
Outro: Welcome to the Before We Go Podcast featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife, noted author Karen Mains. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
David: Karen and I have a strong conviction that now is the time for the clergy of the land to call Christians to prayer. Personal prayer, corporate prayer. This is not a time for partisan prayers. I don’t want us praying Republican prayers or a Democratic prayer.
Karen: There are such things.
David: What this torn nation needs is sincere prayers that ask for unusual wisdom for all our elected leaders, but also prayers that express repentance for our personal and corporate sins, sins of commission, sins of omission. It’s a time when in the quiet settings of prayer each of us needs to let the Holy Spirit convict us of whatever part we’ve played in bringing us as a people to the place where we are now. So, Lord, let the turnaround begin with the people of your church. Forgive us for words that we speak without thinking as much as we should for judgmental attitudes. That’s what I believe the Lord is saying to my heart, and I’m doing everything I can to encourage my clergy friends to hear this as a word from the Lord. Now, let this call for prayer be heard from pulpits all across this land.
Karen: Yeah, I’m wondering how our listeners feel about the diatribe in our culture, the name calling. I mean, when has that ever been? In generations past, it was scorned.
David: I find that it hurts me. I feel it physically.
Karen: We were raised as children. and not to call other people names. And scripture, I’ve done a book on the scripture’s view of the way we use our tongues and so that took me into an extended period of repentance. And one of the things that scripture says very clearly is that God hates a malicious tongue. Hates a malicious tongue and that’s all that we’re hearing, malicious tongues. You know, whether it’s partisan or political, you know, I think it’s slipped down into our common living. It’s infiltrated or poisoned, our common living. So, it’s easy to say nasty things because we’re seeing it modeled all the time and that’s not the Christian way to behave.
David: It’s easy to get so caught up in this that it becomes the focal point of the day.
David: It’s easy to exclude ourselves and say this is other people’s problems, you know. But I hear this call again saying the church, let it begin the prayers that bring healing and bring understanding and bring a way out as God directs us. I’ve been very interested in this part of the book of Esther and the reason it’s a challenge to me is because it goes beyond what I’ve done so far. Esther, as you know, has been made the queen. Xerxes is the king, he’s mad at his wife, he gets rid of her.
Karen: She’s Jewish, Esther is Jewish in a non-Jewish culture.
David: And at a given point, Haman, who’s the devil in the story…
Karen: …he’s a counselor to the king, right?
David: He worked it so that all the Jewish people are to be put to death. Mordecai is the one who raised Esther.
Karen: He sounds like a wife Jewish leader in some sense. She sort of picked that up, didn’t you?
David: Yeah, very much. And he says to Esther, you need to go and talk to the king.
Karen: Now how come she gets that privilege?
David: Because she’s been placed there by God. But she doesn’t want to do that because it could cost her life.
Karen: People know this. Is she queen at this point in time? She’s married to the king. She’s been chosen by him, actually.
David: But she says to Mordecai, put the word out that I want the people to pray and fast, the Jewish people, to pray and fast for three days. And then all these miracles begin to unfold. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. It’s just a fascinating book. And you see God’s hand in everything that is going on. But that word fast, that’s the word I don’t like to fast and pray. I have been judicious, and I have been faithful to praying for a work of God in our land for…
Karen: … decades.
David: Well, I would say decades is fair and I’ve felt that sincerely that there needs to be that prayer base and I feel it even more so now, more so than I ever have in my life and I believe that there can be a movement of God in the worst of situations. But I haven’t gone fasting. Fasting is not an easy discipline. Maybe it’s hard for everyone. I think it’s especially hard for me. I’ve done it very seldom in my life.
Karen: I have a great idea. I can’t fast because I lost 43 pounds last year due to an eating dysphagia disorder that they finally were able to identify the cause of. But for me to food fast is not a healthy thing to do. I’m struggling to gain weight. I can’t really lose any weight anymore. I really shouldn’t. So I’m fasting. I think I will make a decision to fast from sweet things. You could do that.
David: You don’t make decisions for other people.
Karen: Okay, a suggestion.
David: Why would you fast from sweet things? You’re talking like sugar?
David: Okay, well, that’s not going to be nearly as hard as for me to fast from food.
Karen: The point of that is there are all kinds of ways to fast and in scripture it generally is, it does refer to the discipline of fasting from food over a three-day period of time. Some even went, Christ went for 40 days without food I think in the wilderness.
Karen: But we can fast from watching television as an act of appeal to God. We can fast from; I went on a shopping fast early in my life when I was a young woman not to do any shopping. I think it was for like a year and that totally changed my attitude toward sort of a shopping addiction. You know, you have recreational shopping. So, there are all kinds of ways of fasting and if God is leading you to food fast or if you’re not able to fast from food the way I am unable to fast from food. There are lots of other very sincere things we can do to fast as part of our prayer discipline as a backup sort of the companion to our prayer discipline that says to us, to ourselves, and to the Lord I am really serious. This is an intent I’m very serious about. I’m going to refrain from it.
David: I like the word serious because I think that’s we’re in a very serious time in terms of the land and like the word that goes out from Esther who’s at the very forefront of what is going on we will pray in fast for three days. I will do it along with the women who are with me but all through the kingdom, the kingdom speaking of the Jewish people we must do this together.
Karen: So, tell us what happened again. Some people may not be familiar with this story who are listening to us. Old Testament story.
David: Well, I think if they aren’t a good thing would be to go into the Old Testament and read the book of Esther. It’s not that long and I won’t give away.
Karen: Oh, you’re going to keep people hanging?
David: I think most people know this story very well but I do think that the challenge needs to go out from pulpits all across this land. This is a time for God’s people to begin to pray in fast and we are saying God do a miracle in our days.
Karen: Or miracles in our days. Miracles that we can identify as being from God in our days. Do you have some stories about this from the past at all?
David: In our country again, it was a difficult time. The second great awakening. The early great awakening was like the 1730s and it went on for a good period of time.
Karen: That was just a national spiritual renewal.
David: It was a huge… huge event in the early days of our land. The second great awakening we’re talking about is the early 1800s presidency of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. So that’s a long time back. But it’s a time when the country is expanding, the western boundaries, and a lot of lawlessness. There is within the universities in the land a great deal of kind of laughter at God we’ve grown up beyond those days. So, when you talk about the second great awakening you’re talking about in the east colleges and universities where there’s an incredible movement of God among the students and among many times the faculty and the executive heads of those schools. And in the west, it’s the exact opposite. Instead of colleges it’s campfires. It’s in that rugged territory where you have these massive meetings, people coming in by stagecoach and wagons you know. And in these large open areas you have three or four men preaching at the same time.
They’re far enough apart because they don’t have amplification systems. systems, but just thousands and thousands of people coming.
Karen: So why do they call them campfires? They gather around their campfires at night, is that all these thousands?
David: Yes, right.
Karen: What a picture in my mind. Oh, my goodness.
David: They’re absolutely thrilling times, Karen. You have now with the Billy Graham rally, say, in our lives.
Karen: Something similar, yeah.
David: They’re like that, but not the massive stadiums. And then when the people, they don’t come forward and they’re not a counseling team ready. Take care of the ministers, hold hands in circles.
Karen: Oh, David, it’s a beautiful day here.
David: Yes, so the people come and if they enter the circle, they know the ministers are praying for them and they’re left alone to work out their relationship with the Lord. And you get groanings and you get some of the funny, funny things, the barking and such. And it’s a wild time in comparison to what’s happening in the universities. But there are huge numbers of conversions and it totally changes the character of what is the, when we say the West, when it’s the Second Great Awakening.
Karen: It’s probably Ohio.
David: Well, you’re talking Tennessee, you’re talking Kentucky.
Karen: What would be mid-America now?
David: Yes, right.
Karen: So, give us the time, the date of this again. Now, is this the Great, the Second Great Awakening?
David: The Second Great Awakening. You’re talking in the early 1800s. You also have another very interesting movement of the Holy Spirit. In the Great Awakening, it’s Jonathan Edwards.
Karen: That was earlier.
David: The Great Field, yeah, that’s 60 years earlier. But at this time, you have many unnamed ministers. But because there’s a movement of God in the churches all over the place, you know, we have conversions and you have pastors say it’s like a whole new day for us. All of a sudden, they’re so busy trying to work with the new converts, they don’t have time to get sermons ready. So, they go back to notes of older sermons that they said were dry as dust as far as the people were concerned. But now I preach them over again. And it’s like a live…
Karen: …like a word, David.
David: And it’s a very thrilling time.
Karen: How long did that last?
David: I’ll forget to say this. So, this is very important to me. The ministers were supported by their people. The people formed what they called Aaron and Hur society.
David: Yeah, that’s the story from Aaron and Hur.
Karen: The Bible, the Old Testament.
David: Holding up Moses’ arms when his arms got tired, because when his arms were up, the Israelites were winning the battles. But then his arms got so tired from holding up that Aaron and Hur on both sides, they held his arms up for him so that the battle could be completed and there would be victory. So that’s what they knew. named these times, they were Aaron and Hur societies, to hold up the arms of the ministers and here Karen, the people promise to spend one day a month praying in prayer. The pledge to spend a half hour every Saturday night and every Sunday morning in prayer. Now can you imagine if even a third of the people of our churches would be praying for God to make his presence known in the church, praying Saturday night, others getting up early on Sunday morning, praying a half hour for God to show his hand in the churches. Imagine what a difference that would make today. You know we used to, when I was younger, I’m talking in my 20s and 30s, churches had Wednesday night prayer meetings. There are very few churches who have those anymore. We have become a people who are very busy and don’t have time to pray and I don’t care how God does it. Maybe it’s a spontaneous thing as people learn to get together and pray. And the first time you start to pray together, if you’re anything like I am, you find that you’re very conscious of your words. You’ve learned how to talk to God, but not as somebody else is listening.
Karen: I’m wondering if we should couch this in another kind of phraseology. Maybe we need people who are willing to begin prayer experiments, you know, who are willing to commit themselves to prayer, just to experiment and see what happens. It’s hard to quantify the miraculous, except when you see these huge outpouring that you’ve been describing. But one of the things I have done for over 40 years is keep a prayer journal. And this started kind of as an experiment. I mean, I have piles of journals. They’re all stored under the basement stairs in the laundry room. But part of that was I would record my prayers, my requests of the Lord. And there were many, I’m embarrassed to say how many often there were. And then every time my prayer would be answered, then I would make a check or the date of when they’d been answered or how. So, you do that for five years. You do it for one year, five years, and then ten years, and then ultimately 40 years. You have no doubt in your mind because you have, they’re like field notes. You have made an experiment of prayer, but you have recorded it diligently like a spiritual scientist.
David: In those journals.
Karen: In those journals. So, I would challenge people. to begin to experiment with prayer. You have to do prayer. You have to become a prayer person. You have to sort of record your prayers, like if you were in a laboratory somewhere, and then keep those notes. Don’t toss them away. Keep them, because when I go back through them…
David: That’s your thing. I toss… I pray with a pencil.
Karen: Well, let me just finish my sentence. Then you can tell how you did it, okay? I’m giving you permission. You go back and read. I just went through this year’s prayer journal. It was just… Yeah, and I’m thinking, okay, I’m going to start when I was young and knew it and just read all 40 years over the next couple of years. Not do it all in one sitting. And you have this remarkable reminder of what God has done through the decades of my life, because I’ve kept it. Now go ahead and tell us how you throw your notes away.
David: Well, I decided I probably shouldn’t throw them away.
Karen: I’m teasing you, David. Each of us has a particular style of prayer. We begin to function with that work for us.
David: I am thinking in terms of… A lot of people struggle with prayer, and to be able to pray with someone else, almost a mentor, in a sense, to come together and pray. I have the people I meet with, there are seven of us. We meet every Wednesday from noon until one. I thought maybe we should add more times when we get together. But we’re from all different parts of the country, from Illinois, from California, from Texas, from Michigan, from Ohio, and so on. But you learn from one another when you pray with other people.
In fact, there are times I’ve heard other people as they pray, and I think, boy, that’s really got to live with God. I got to learn.
Karen: Well, you get off that phone call and you always say, oh, that was so good. We just met with the Lord. I mean, I’ve never heard you ever say…
David: It’s a highlight of my week. It’s a highlight of my week.
Karen: Now that’s extraordinary. It’s absolutely extraordinary.
David: Yeah, there are two women and five men, always there.
Karen: So, what are we saying to the people who are listening to this podcast?
David: I’m saying specifically to the pastors of this land.
Karen: So, if your pastors aren’t listening, they have to…
David: Maybe clergy. I’m saying clergy, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox. Call your people to pray. You’re going to have to get with them to find out where they are. Maybe they’re people who hear the word prayer, but don’t do it very often. But let them form whatever they want as far as the groups are concerned. But this is a time very soon now. I’m talking… this coming weekend and the following weekend because where the country is it needs the prayers of God’s people. Call them to prayer, let them do it as they see fit. People have all different ideas as to how it should come about. Don’t worry about trying to organize it, okay, but just call the people to pray because this country desperately needs prayer, and we will not find our way out of this morass. I don’t think without the hand of God.
Karen: This cultural morass, this slip into lack of spirituality.
David: Yeah, you will find that this is a gypsy Smith. Gypsy Smith was an evangelist from time even before my lifetime.
Karen: How the world didn’t get a name like Gypsy Smith.
David: Because he was a gypsy.
Karen: Oh really? He really was.
David: But he said if you want to learn how to pray about revival, he said go in a closet, draw a circle, oh my goodness, stand inside the circle and say God you begin to work on everything inside this circle.
Karen: That’s gorgeous.
David: But that’s what happens. That’s exactly what happens.
Karen: Well, let’s conclude with that. I think that’s a good how to become a person who begins to be stimulated by the Holy Spirit to become a person of prayer. Go into that closet, whatever that closet is. In fact, it might even be good to take a piece of paper and draw a big circle around it. Step into it. And what are they supposed to then pray for?
David: Well, you say Lord begin the work of your Holy Spirit in me. I’m not going to worry about what’s going on in the political scene.
Karen: What do I need to deal with?
David: All the books I’ve read about the big money moguls and all. It’s not other people’s problems at this point in time. It’s my problem. But don’t just be alone either. Give Gypsy Smith credit for what he said. Prayer groups. We need to have groups from all over this country and learn from one another and see God’s hand in a marvelous way. Deliverance even as they saw in the days of Esther.
Karen: So, my question to our listener is what are you going to do about it? It’s a good question to wrestle with right?
David: Yeah, it is. I think they’re listening too.
Outgo: You’ve been listening to the Before We Go Podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast please remember to rate, review, and share on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2019 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60189.
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