Senior pastor, Springs Harvest Fellowship, Colorado Springs
Theology degree, Christ for the Nations, Dallas, Texas
"Our message (to the world) should be of grace and truth," explains Dutch. This message however need not leave out the consequences of sin, but as it is shared, it must be laced with hope and mercy. Dutch reminds us that the heart of our message should be, Return to Me and I will return to you (Mal. 3:7).
And rather than have a harsh, judgmental attitude, we should have one of both compassion and mourning. We must be able to explain the results of sin through heartfelt tears. "Too often the world perceives our attitude toward the consequences of other's sins as callous or even smug gladness," cautions Dutch.
How can we effectively pray for the nation? Dutch says we should:
1. Pray that many in the church sense the need for humility and repentance
2. Pray that the church is able to respond to the national crisis with great wisdom
3. Ask for a turning of our nation back to God
4. Ask for God's mercy to triumph over judgment
5. Pray that our president and other government leaders move with great wisdom
6. Pray for comfort in our nation and that each person recognize his/her great spiritual need
7. Forgive those who have wronged us and pray for justice to evildoers.
8. Continue to pray for the salvation of the Muslim world.
Repentance Is A Process
Dutch reminds us that God wants to give witness to the world that Jesus is still alive today. "If we make the right decisions in this nation," says Dutch, "we will see a great return of the miraculous." God will work miracles in our homes, schools, offices and in the streets. He will set people free and deliver them. God has strategies for us to implement to turn this nation around. Anyone who is listening to hear a word from the Lord is in a position to reveal to us these strategies. When these plans are followed, they release an authority from the Lord that opens doors of breakthrough, revival and healing.
Dutch believes God is calling America back to Shechem, or the place of promise. "Shechem is the place where God first spoke to Abraham about giving him the land of Canaan," says Dutch. "God is asking America to partner with Him again, to agree with His purposes and reasons for establishing this nation." We need to come into full agreement with the biblical principles upon which America was founded. Dutch believes God is giving us an opportunity to rid our land of strongholds of idolatry, like materialism, pleasure, greed, lust and pride. "We must bury our idols and return to Him with all our hearts," says Dutch.
Though true repentance and turning bring forgiveness, Dutch says God's goal is much loftier than this. "He's shooting for transformation," says Dutch. The process of revival begins with the process of repentance. But one of the reasons we have difficulty finding repentance is that we don't know what we're looking for.
Dutch says, "It is essential that repentance be first worked through our lives in order for true revival to flow through us and impact the nation. "I refer to repentance as a process," says Dutch. "It usually comes over a period of time as we gradually are transformed into His way of thinking." There are signs of hope: the prayer movement, the men's movement, youth breakthroughs, renewal and unity. All these indicate that things are changing in our country. The process of repentance has begun the process of revival. "The river can and will flow in increasingly deeper levels if we cooperate with the Holy Spirit," says Dutch.
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