Can America (and the world) achieve racial reconciliation? Can our multicolored, multi-tongued society find common ground for communication? For peace? For cooperation in meeting head-on the great needs of our fractured nation and our world? The answer is a resounding yes!
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28).
God’s Vision for the Church
I believe God is calling His church to enter the greatest hour it has ever seen. We expect an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to begin in the most destitute segment of our society: the inner city—and especially the black community.
It will be a move so great that multitudes will come to the churches beseeching us to lead them to Christ. However, there is only one way that this revival will come about. The church must once again become a house of prayer. It’s time for those who call themselves men of God to stop wasting time on frivolous, unimportant programs and start seriously praying.
How can there be a visitation of God when the altars are empty, when none cry out from a sense of personal sinfulness?
Attitude of the Heart
Humility, brokenness, contrition: These proper heart-conditions are the qualifiers as Jeremiah 51:20 says, for being fully used as God’s “battle-axe” to the nation. The prophet Joel cried out, “Wherefore should they say among the people, ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:17, KJV). That is exactly what the world is saying in this hour. How can you say that God is among you when your lives are no different from those of sinners?
The church must get off its backside and do what God called it to do. We built 50 percent of the black public schools after the Civil War? The black church! But we have become a generation of snivelers. We are afraid to be bold about Jesus in this hour. That’s why the streets are ruled by gang leaders. There are few men of God to take the gospel down there. You can’t find a Bible in 90 percent of the homes in the inner cities, unlike when I was a kid. The church has to take the Bible message down into the inner cities. We must become a spiritual people again and quit sniveling!
Of course, it’s our whole nation, not just blacks or whites, who need a move of God. You can go into the typical board room of any major corporation and find—not men of God giving advice and counsel—but New-Agers or astrologers giving sensitivity training sessions. Our whole nation needs a move of God.
Salt and Light
As long as we are immature and divisive, we can never fulfill the destiny of God. My goal is to fulfill God’s foreordained will for us as a people. Matthew 5 says we are to be salt and light (see vv.13–14). Our challenge is to determine what kind of light we’re putting forth. What is the intensity of the light? I‘m reminded of the phrase, “The smallest penlight dispels the greatest darkness.” If the world isn’t able to see light coming from a church that gives them the answers, we have to question our validity. So, first the church has to be restored.
Our challenge right now is Acts 3:19: “Repent. . . and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come.” And then it says, “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you” (v. 20).
I know historically we Christians have always felt that Jesus was going to return, but usually He returned in a revival or in an awakening or in a move beyond human expectations. Today’s great darkness has us postured for that, but certain conditions must precede another great move of God.
In 2 Corinthians 5:18, Paul says, “All things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” The next verse reads, “to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
Foundations for Revival
These two phrases—the ministry of reconciliation (something to do) and the word of reconciliation (something to say)—are the foundations for revival. I believe the ministry of Jesus is the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation is the key to Jesus’ prayer in John 17 “that we might be one” (see v. 21). It is the key to his statement, “By this they shall know that you are my disciples, when you show love for one another.” (see John 13:35). It’s only when the world sees unity among those who declare themselves Christian that they can have hope for their own divisions, disintegrations, and darkness. That’s why reconciliation is a major theme with me. Not only racial reconciliation—it’s just that that happens to be the most visible way we can demonstrate the reality of Christ in our lives.
After Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, He said, “Just as I have washed your feet, you must wash one another’s feet” (see John 13:14). And He said, “You are to love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44). Love is more than rhetoric. Love is an “opposite” spirit. Those who would kill you, you owe your life. Our challenge isn’t in being accepted by whites. We’re already accepted by God. We need to break out of this ethnic mind-set. It’s all right to be ethnically conscious, but not to be ethnically controlled. My worldview must come from the kingdom, not from my culture. It’s a matter of looking at things from God’s point of view.
We are limited only by our point of views. If we believe that we cannot rise beyond how we are viewed by the majority race, then we’ll continue to use them as an excuse for our failure. Now, what color is the Holy Spirit? The truth of the matter is, we need the Spirit and character of Christ to reach people no matter who they are.
God doesn’t use information to reach people: He uses revelation.
People need to see God coming through a man. You show them God and they’ll forget about color. If I had a choice of being where my race is as opposed to being where Jesus is—I‘d choose Jesus every time.
So How Do We Pray?
PRAYERS TO OFFER
Thank You, Lord, that You have removed racial barriers, for we “have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Rom. 6:18).
Jesus, we celebrate that You remove social barriers among Your people, “to bring them together and make them one” (John 11:52).
Dear God, we are grateful that You have removed status barriers, and “in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Rom. 12:5).
We often do not see God’s vision for the church. Forgive us, Lord, for allowing barriers to remain within the body of Christ. We often do not have the right attitude of the heart. Cleanse us, Dear God, for not being humble, broken, and
contrite. We often are not salt and light in our community. Jesus, we repent of our ineffectiveness. We often do not lay the foundations of revival. Forgive us for not seeking reconciliation.
Jesus, may our hearts be made right, knowing that “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
Dear God, help us avoid barriers; “keep your servant also from willful sins” (Ps. 19:13). Lord, grant us vision for Christ’s Church celebrating together, for “where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint” (Prov. 29:18a).
PROMISES TO CLAIM
God’s Vision for the Church
Dear God, might we hear the hopes that You have for Christ’s Church celebrating together, for “wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares” (Prov. 1:20).
Attitudes of the Heart
Lord, may we experience wholeness in our relationships and overcome racial, social, and status barriers because you have “destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph. 2:14).
Salt and Light
As Your “salt and light,” may we eliminate the darkness of discrimination and injustice, thus yielding to the admonition of Jesus: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:16).
Foundations for Revival
Jesus, might we have courage to “step out” by faith toward reconciliation: “Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light” (John 12:35–36).
Help us to see others with the unconditional love and value that you see in them. Help us to be reconcilers and peacemakers.
In Jesus’ Name,
Taken from Praying for a Christ-Awakening, Great Commandment Ministries. Used by permission.