Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Weeping and Prayer for the Nation

Dannah Gresh: Here’s Pastor John Piper, praying for his hometown of Minneapolis, where he’s lived and served for decades.

Pastor John Piper: We pray that the compounding of sorrows will not compound our sins but send us desperate and running to the risen Savior our only hope Jesus Christ.

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Forgiveness, for Wednesday, June 3, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh.

As many of us emerge from sheltering in place to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19, people have already been expressing fear and stress—sometimes deep grief and, sadly, conflicts as opinions and sometimes tempers are flaring.

Now we have a nation embroiled in yet another grief and conflict as the city of Minneapolis and other major urban areas have been set aflame protesting the death of George Floyd—a black man who died at the hands of a police officer who was detaining him by force.

Many are weeping . . . and not just over this death, but others like it. And still others are joining in prayer to heal the brokenness of a nation seemingly devoured by hatred, disagreement, and strong discourse.

Nancy, you and I have been grieving and texting over the last few days. So we’re preempting today’s program for a very special broadcast to consider how are God’s people are to be thinking and praying right now in this hard time.

Nancy: Yes, Dannah. Words fail. We don’t have words for some of the horrific experiences or about some of the images we are seeing on the news.

It’s interesting. I’ve been immersed in the Gospels in my quiet time over the last few months. So many passages have come to mind where we see Jesus coming from this pure, glorious, exalted place in heaven where there is no sin, no pain, no tears, no sorrow, no conflict. Then He comes down to this earth, and there’s chaos.

You see Jesus come to His people to minister grace to this earth, to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, to invite people to come into His kingdom, and to come to Him as Savior and Lord.

So we are Good News bearers to people in a bad news broken world. So how is the Church to be different? What are we to say or not say at a time like this?

Dannah: Nancy, one of the things that I’ve been advised as I talk with several of my friends who are women of color . . . I just ask them to help me process this.

They say, “Before you talk to anyone else, before you say anything, you should talk to God. You should check in with Him to guide Your heart, guide Your words.”

So I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few days . . . I’ve attended a prayer event in my own community that was many churches of different ethnicities, different denominations coming together to grieve, to ask God for forgiveness. There were prayers of lament.

Then we asked the Lord, “Okay, what should we say? What should we do?” I think our first conversation has to be with the Lord.

Nancy: The Lord gives wisdom. As we are soaking in His Word, as we are in His presence individually and corporately, the Holy Spirit directs us. He directs our conversations with each other. I think the Lord is opening up opportunities.

Robert and I had the opportunity to talk with a couple in our community who are not believers. We sat across from each other last night on our deck and had a conversation about some of these things. We’re talking with them as believers. Their hearts are being tenderized.

It’s an opportunity for the compassion of Christ and the good news of God’s kingdom to come through us as His people to touch those who are confused, baffled, maybe angry, maybe upset. God’s put all of us into relationships, friendships, opportunities to represent His kingdom and His love at a time like this.

Dannah:Part of that love is weeping with those who are grieving. I was talking with one of my African American friends right before we came into the studio. She said, “Dannah, there is a spectrum of grief here. There’s the George Floyd family who’s in the center of this pain and controversy. Obviously, they need prayers. Obviously we need to weep with them.

“But there were others who were, if you will, caught up in the chaos of the riots—whether literal or verbal—and their foot slipped and they’ve fallen, and they can’t get up and they need our help. They are feeling the fear. They are feeling the grief.

“It would be uncompassionate to walk by them and not stop and help them up. And if you need to, weep with them as well.”

That word picture really helped me as I have talked with my friends and even wept with them.

Nancy: As you were talking Dannah, I thought of this passage in Romans 12 that says so much about how we do life as a body of believers. Even within the church, if you are following social media, you see a lot of different opinions being expressed, a lot of different perspectives. And you’re saying, “Even within believers, there can be contention. There can be confusion.”

This passage in Romans 12, I think, speaks to us as the people of God in our relationships. Let me just read a few verses. This chapter is so marvelous, I’ll begin in verse 9. In my Bible the heading says, “Marks of a True Christian.” These are things that will be true of us. I won’t read all of them, but here are some selected ones.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. . . . Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (vv. 9–10, 15–16, 21)

Boy, if we would take those kinds of instructions, these are marks of a true Christian, and apply them in our conversations—when we speak and when we listen. If we would apply them in our social media commenting and posting and really see how we could outdo one another in showing honor—not just for our brothers and sisters in Christ, but for all human beings created in the image of God.

Life is precious. For those of us who are believers we can’t just value life before it is born, though that’s huge. But we need to value with our words and our attitudes and our actions those who have already been born and who are experiencing attacks of various kinds—verbal, physical, emotional.

Dannah: Nancy, the Revive Our Hearts’ team has had a burden for this. So on Monday, we preempted the Grounded programming. Grounded is, of course, the live videocast that we’ve been providing on YouTube and Facebook to get us through this pandemic. And now there is this other issue at hand.

We wanted to devote Monday’s program to praying for the nation and those grieving over this current heartache.

Nancy: It was so moving to me to sit and watch that program live on Monday morning—to hear those different voices, people impacted by these current issues in a variety of ways, to hear them crying out to the Lord and sharing the grief and heartache that they feel at this time.

Nobody can help us but God. He can help us.

We decided to postpone until tomorrow and Friday the two remaining programs in the prodigal children series—the conversation we’ve been having with Judy Douglass. We’ll pick back up with that tomorrow.

But today, we want to invite our listeners to join their hearts with those who were on this Grounded program a couple of days ago. Let’s cry out to the Lord to come and hear and heal our land as only He can do.

Dannah: Will you join us as we listen in to Grounded?

Erin Davis: Welcome to a special edition of Grounded. I’m Erin Davis.

Robyn McKelvy: I’m Robyn McKelvy, and we’re so glad that you’re here to get your daily dose of hope and perspective. This morning, I know a lot of us around this country, especially, are joining with heavy hearts as protests are all over our nation.

We realize there are tensions—there are racial tensions; there are racial divisions, political divisions, and ultimately, even spiritual divisions on full display.

Through all of this I’ve been angry because I have six African American sons. I have four sons and two sons-in-law. We’ve been able to experience some of the things that are going on in this world.

In my home I have a man who is grounded in God, and he’s my husband. He loves the Lord, and he knows how to bring me back to the foot of the cross. I’d like to introduce Ray. Come and be a part of our day today.

Ray McKelvy: Good morning.

Erin: Also joining us this morning is Pam Larson. We want to welcome you, Pam. Pam is the minister for women’s ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. Those two phrases might ring a bell. Bethlehem Baptist Church is the church where John Piper pastored for a long time, and then Minneapolis is a city that’s on many of our lips in these days. It is the city were George Floyd was arrested, where he died, and where protests and riots just finished their sixth night. Welcome Pam.

Pam Larson: Thank you. I’m very humbled to be here.

Erin: We knew we wanted Grounded to be different this morning. We knew we didn’t want to just talk. We need to pray. Ray would you start us off, leading us in a time of prayer however the Lord leads? Specifically for those in every kind of leadership, pastoral leadership. What amazing days to be in pastoral leadership . . . and every other kind of leadership. Lead us forward with God’s truth as our guide. Would you pray for us this morning?

Ray: Father, what a privilege to call upon Your name with Your people all over the world. Especially right here as we face these things in the U.S. We cry out to You. I thank You that You have called us for such a time as this.

I pray that we would have the courage of Esther. In the times when it would have been easy for her to stay in the palace, not to say anything, and not to risk her own life to go before the king, You used this young woman to rise above her fears and to say, “If I perish, I perish.”

I pray for that type of courage among my white brothers and sisters, my black brothers and sisters, and Latino, Asian, or whatever. I pray that we would rise up and be the voice of God to our culture around us.

I pray as we go through civic unrest, as there’s rioting, and as there’s really an inability in our world to express the hurt that’s been going on especially in the black community, I pray that the Church would not be divided on that and begin to point fingers, but would realize that inability to express grief and hurt over the years many times will find expression in these physical type of ways.

I pray for our cities that You would protect us and that You would use this time for the Church to rise up. I pray for our police officers. Lord, we know it is so hard. I cannot imagine the place that they are in. I pray for believing police officers, those who have faith in Christ, that they would not become weary in well doing in as they walk both worlds. I pray that as they have one foot in Your calling on their lives as ministers and then one foot on the side of the people and upholding law, give them grace, give them courage as well.

I pray for government leaders. Lord, there’s so much division from the president to our governors and our mayors. We find ourselves in the middle of the pandemic. It seems like chaos is everywhere, but we know that You are on the throne. We rest in that. Father we stretch our hands to You. We ask that You would rend our hearts (Jer. 5). That we would return to you (Hosea 6). That we as God’s people, as Your people, would quit looking around for solutions in this world, but that we would say Lord change us, make us new.

We repent of our sins, of our pride, of our self-focus. We repent of really making life about us and forgetting the centrality of God. We repent of that. May that be on our lips. I pray that the Church would hold hands across racial lines, that we would not side with our ethnicity, that we would side with the kingdom of God, that we would not find ourselves polarized by being Republican or Democrat; but that we would realize our citizenship is in heaven, and that we would seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these other things, even racial harmony will be added.

We must seek You first. Give us a heart that hungers and thirsts after righteousness. You promised that You will satisfy us. We thank You for the opportunity to pray to You. You are a good Father. You have heard us. You’re hearing us. Unite Your people. John chapter 17, may we live this out in these last days. We pray in Jesus’ name amen.

Pam: Oh God, we are heartbroken. We are shattered to see the effectives of sin and injustice. We are outraged. We are angry. We are longing for the restoration and the change that only You can work in us.

We can’t forget the horror of the things that we have seen this week. Your image bearers being snuffed out by those that are sworn to protect. God, forgive us for not standing up for justice. Forgive us for not pursuing peace.

Oh Lord, we pray for the family of George Floyd. We pray for his family, his close friends. We pray for our nation. We pray for our leaders. We pray for our government. We pray for leaders in our churches. Lord, would you help us to listen, listen to the voices of the people who are crying out for healing in our country. Lord, I pray that our voices would be heard.

Lord, I pray that You would let our arms go around our brothers and our sisters in love. You told us that as one part of the body suffers and hurts, we all suffer together. Jesus, You are the only way to peace. You are the only way to justice. Jesus, we need You to change our hearts, to bring people from death to life, to bring revival.

Open our eyes in Minneapolis and around our country and around this world. Open our eyes to see Jesus. Oh how we need You. Our only hope is You. Lord, we pray from our hearts that You transform us, that You empower us, that You revive us.

Lord, we don’t know where to turn except to You. When our cities are under attack, fear is rampant, grief is multiplying, suspicion is everywhere. You know our anguish, Lord, and apart from You we have no hope. Lord, You are our source of hope for real transformation. You are the one that can do immeasurably more than we can even ask or imagine. You can reconcile us by Your precious blood. You can make us one in You.

It is only by Your grace that we who were dead in our sins are made alive and in Christ Jesus we who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. He Himself is our peace—who has made us both one and has broken down, in His flesh, the dividing wall of hostility.

Lord, we humble ourselves and we plead with You to heal our land. You were slain, and by Your blood You’ve ransomed people for God from every tribe and tongue and language and people and nation. You have made them a kingdom and priest to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

Lord, we pray that that kingdom would come, Your will would be done here in Minneapolis, in Nashville, in Chicago, in Atlanta all over this country. Lord, would Your will be done as it is in heaven. We pray this in the name of Jesus for Your glory and for the good of Your redeemed people. Amen.

Robyn: Right now we’re going to listen to a short clip by John Piper. We’re going to listen and pray for gospel solutions . . . and do we ever need gospel solutions! This was released last , and it’s entitled “The Sorrows of Minneapolis.”

John Piper: For the haters and the bitter and the hostile and the slanderers of every race, we pray that they will see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. We pray that the light will banish darkness from their souls—the darkness of arrogance and racism and selfishness.

We pray for broken hearts because a broken and contrite heart, oh God, you will not despise. We pray that our city will see miracles of reconciliation and lasting harmony rooted in truth and in the paths of righteousness. We pray for peace. The fullest enjoyment of shalom flowing down from the God of peace and bought at an infinite price for the broken-hearted followers of the Prince of Peace.

As the scourge of COVID-19 has now killed 100,000 people in our nation and still kills twenty people a day in our state, most of them in our city, and as the virus wreaks havoc with our economy and riots send lifetimes of labor up in smoke and the fabric of our common life is torn; we pray that the compounding of sorrows will not compound our sins but send us desperate and running to the risen Savior our only hope Jesus Christ.

Oh Jesus, for this You died. That you might reconcile hopeless and hostile people to God and to each other. You have done it for millions by grace through faith. Do it Lord Jesus in Minneapolis we pray. Amen.

Dannah: That’s Pastor John Piper praying over the city of Minneapolis and the entire nation. We want to thank our friends at Desiring God for giving us permission to use that today. Nancy, when I heard that prayer, my heart was so moved. It just made me want to pray. It made me want to enter into the work that God is doing by praying.

Nancy: I don’t think any of us can imagine what God can and will do as His people cry out to Him at this time. We may not be able to pray as eloquently as John Piper, but we can pray. Just say, “Lord, we need You. We need You.” Even as we don’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit prays for us and within us offering groanings to the Lord that only He can understand.

This is a spiritual battle we’re in. Now is the time for us to lift up our hands and hearts to the Lord and say, “Lord may Your kingdom come and may Your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.”

Dannah: Thank you so much for joining us today as we’ve interceded for our nation. We want to remind you that tomorrow we’ll pick back up with the series “When You Love a Prodigal.” It’s a conversation that Nancy and I had with Judy Douglass.

Nancy: Now to close our time today, we want to share a brief word and then a prayer from Pastor Crawford Loritts, a dear friend of this ministry. This is at the end of a livestream conversation he shared with his church, Fellowship Bible Church, in Roswell, Georgia just a few days ago. Here’s Pastor Crawford Loritts.

Pastor Crawford Loritts: Now is not the time for happy talk about these issues. People are dying. Folks are losing hope. We need to preach an authentic gospel that comforts . . . as well as makes people uncomfortable. Because Jesus demands that every person represent Him and live and tell the complete truth.

Let me pray for us.

Holy Father, thank You for Your grace and mercy. Thank You for who You are. And thank You God that You love us.

Oh God, we pray for our country. We pray, Lord Jesus, for healing. Oh Father, I just can’t get out of my mind George Floyd’s young daughter just weeping and weeping and weeping and weeping and broken.

Jesus, help us, we pray. Do a deep work in our hearts and lives. Not to be passive in our love for one another but to be aggressively intentional in that love. Not to be satisfied with our own little corner. We’re non-racist, but help us to be anti-anything that mars and denigrates and reduces the image of God in the lives of human beings that our Savior came to die for.

Show us what to do and how to respond.

I pray for governors and mayors tonight who are trying to bring order and peace to these cities where the chaos is taking place. Oh God, stem the tide there. Send hope we pray. Show us how to love people and lead. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to invite you to pray for our nation. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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