4 Reasons Why The “If 7:14” Prayer And Revival Campaign Is Not Such A Good Idea
This week there was a major prayer and revival campaign in the United States called “If 7:14” In fact Iowa governor Terry Branstad even signed a proclamation calling on the nation to pray on Monday July 14.
The moniker “7:14” comes from the well known passage in 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God promises Solomon:
if my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Hey, prayer is a good thing and I want to encourage more of it…
… but I see some warning signs when it comes to this “7:14” revival campaign.
1) If you are using 2 Chronicles 7:14 as your prayer foundation…you’re starting off on the wrong foot
I’ve really learned from my friend Paul Ellis to watch for the “if-then” promises of the Old Testament. “If” we do something, “then” God promises to do something. Back then God’s blessing and favor was contingent on Israel’s performance, which arguably was pretty shoddy at best.
Not unlike ourselves today.
The point of that period of time was to show how we can never perform well enough to be sufficient in our own rightousness. However now in Christ we rest in his performance not ours. We can point to Jesus and know we are always in his favor and blessing.
The 7:14 campaign website is called “If 7:14” with the “If” putting “the ball” of God’s response in our court…a place I never, ever, want to be.
2) The use of fear to heighten people’s emotion and generate a response.
If you go to the “If 7:14” website you’ll see a video clip called The Need for Revival. The very first image you see (after the Earth) is that of Osama Bin Laden followed by the twisted carnage of the World Trade Center. After that there are some pictures from the more heinous gun massacres of the past few years followed by images of job loss and homelessness.
Snake oil salesmen have known this trick for years. Make people fearful and then offer them the antidote which (surprise) the salesman just happens to have. Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t be praying for some of these issues affecting the world (we should) but we should primarily be Christ’s Body addressing and bringing life to these problems affecting society using the Holy Spirit which he has already given us!
As the Apostle Paul instructs Timothy
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Tim 1:7
Lets engage the community around us in compassion and self control rather than fear
3) America is not Israel
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but some Christians will be startled to learn that 2 Chronicles 2:7 was about Israel not America. In the Old Testament God dealt with the world in a different way…through Israel. And Israel was supposed to bring that light to other nations. In fact the rest of that passage is God promising that if Israel turned from His ways the temple they had just dedicated would be destroyed and made an object of ridicule by other nations.
Which was what happened…
God now deals with the world through his Son (Hebrews 1) It’s a much better deal. Let’s embrace this better covenant and quit trying to point to terms on an expired contract that never applied to us to begin with.
4) The underlying root of Nationalism
Couched in the language of repentance and revival is the not so veiled theme of nationalism and American Exceptionalism. There is a message being promoted in many corners of American Evangelicalism that says something like, “America is Great but we are in danger of losing our greatness”
We need to repent so God will revive us and make us Great again!
The prayer goes beyond asking God to intercede for our neighborhoods and communities; Its a call as in the days of ancient Israel for God to make America’s name remain great among the nations.
But we need to understand God is building only one Kingdom…
…and its his.
He is now calling every man, woman, and child from every tribe and tongue to be a citizen of it.
God does want to bless America!
…and Canada…and China…and… India…and South Africa…and so on and so on
So if your agenda for prayer and revival is to see America stay #1…you may not be getting the big picture.
I believe it’s important for people to pray, but when we do let’s make sure we are doing it in a manner that brings life and redemption that advances Christ’s Kingdom.
Let me just finish by quoting Jesus, “You don’t have to be afraid!”
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