What a time to be alive! Everything around us seems to be going from bad to worse. I just heard that in one area close to where I live 75% of the people are classified as “deprived and living in poverty”. And this is in modern Britain!
What has gone wrong and what can bring about change?
Wherever we look – in every walk of life, in every sphere, in multiple communities – standards are being ignored, morality is being turned on its head, truth is flying out the window, violence is increasing, and things increasingly look desperate. People are asking “is there a way out of this mess?”
I am not a prophet of doom. I am aware that God always has an answer. Historically, in times of desperation and decline, God has stepped into situations to bring about radical change and to herald a coming harvest. He does this despite our sinfulness – because He wants to be merciful.
Think of the prophet Jonah sent to Nineveh (in modern-day Iraq) – described as a “very wicked city”. Jonah didn’t want to go because of what it was like there, but God wanted to show mercy. He doesn’t do this, however, without His people. He chooses to use and to bless us in the process.
The book of Romans is addressed to those who are “loved by God and called to be His holy people” (1:7)
What a wonderful description of us, of me, of you! So we can ask ourselves – is this true? Am I loved by God – truly loved by God – a God of fullness, of righteousness and holiness? Am I one of His holy people? Am I holy? If not, what can I do to change that? Holiness is the character of God – “Be holy, for I am holy”, says the Lord (1 Peter 1:15-16).
But the rest of that first chapter is about the depravity of mankind. It reads like a description of our modern times. Three times Paul writes “God gave them over” – to whatever was the issue – sexual immorality and idolatry, shameful lusts (as in same-sex relationships), and to depraved minds – when everything got out of control. Read verses 28-32 to see what I mean.
I believe God has reached the stage of giving us over to our wayward sins. So, what is the answer?
I need to be put right first of all; to get rid of everything that offends God and ask Him to give me a thorough overhaul – a full service – a new engine or heart, one that pursues Him and His holiness.
Secondly, society around me and individuals and families within society, whether the community I live in or the one I work in, need to discover God is for real. The Gospel is the answer. God’s love is the answer. And prayer is the key. When we begin to pray for our neighbours, our colleagues, and our family with both faith and passion and do it from a place of unity, as in prayer triplets – things will begin to change.
God is looking for an unprecedented harvest – and you and I are the key. We are the workers, the labourers in His Harvest. It is time to turn back to God, to pray in desperation for things to change, and to be willing for God to use us as His instruments of change. These are the ingredients for what I am calling “a new Pentecost”.
Pray for an Acts 2 encounter for your community!
Brian Mills is passionate about prayer and is an Executive Member of the International Prayer Council and a partner of Interprayer International Partnership. He is the author of the book God is Still Speaking.