Prayer Army Arise!

By Francis Frangipane

Many are questioning whether or not the September 11th terrorist act against America was actually a manifestation of the wrath of God or the fury of Satan that struck our land. That we should even be confused seems strange, considering that the Lord and Satan stand at opposite moral extremes. However, Satan specializes in sowing confusion, and into confusion, deception comes. Indeed, the devil typically authors some heinous crime and then deceives people, causing them to blame God for the destruction and heartache.

Beloved, there is nothing more crucial to our spiritual, physical and emotional well-being than our concept of God. Everything in life springs from truly knowing God and embracing His ways. Thus, whenever there is confusion, we must return to basic truth, and nothing is more basic than this: the Lord is good; the devil is bad. If we drift from this foundation, we will inevitably present to the world around us a false, angry image of the Almighty.

In the midst of calamity, it is God who "causes all things to work together for good . . ." (Rom 8:28a). The very fact that God must enter reality and cause something to work for good reveals that there are other "causes" which have evil origins working in our world. Whether we consider the Jewish Holocaust or even the crucifixion of Christ Himself, the evil clearly came from Satan, but the good which came out of it came from God. We must not get the two confused.

Consider the story of Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery and assumed he died there. Yet, the Lord used the evil of Joseph's circumstances to demonstrate that nothing can thwart His plan or His sovereignty. Joseph's analysis of his life is a clear picture of the life conflict between good and evil. He assured his brothers, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Gen 50:20). The Hebrew word translated as "meant" literally means "to weave" or "fabricate." The Spirit of God descended into the injustice and used what was contrived to destroy Joseph to perfect him. God did not author the evil, He redeemed it and wove the treachery into a majestic plan for good.

Current Arguments
But one might debate, "But God is holy. America has sinned and needs to be punished." I ask: what does "holy" mean, that God is cruel? Does holiness mean severe? The Lord's holiness is the composite of all His other attributes. He cannot be "holy" without simultaneously remaining the universal source of unrelenting love, infinite goodness, unfathomable wisdom and unfailing justice. Holiness is not something distinct from God's other characteristics; it is the sum of them.

The argument continues, "The Almighty is a God of judgment." Yes, He is. Judgment means "justice" and speaks of God's verdict, His unbiased analysis of every situation. Isaiah tells us that "when the earth experiences Thy judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness" (Isa 26:9). We assume Isaiah means wrath, but he does not. He is speaking of God's great wisdom and justice.

The Lord is fair, even when punishing for sin. He is not capricious or indiscriminately violent, as were the pagan gods of the heathen nations. The repeated pattern in the Scriptures is that, when the Lord does exercise His wrath, He does not destroy the righteous with the wicked. Consider Noah, Lot and Jeremiah, three godly men who serve as prime examples of God's ways during times of wrath. All were rescued and preserved. Or consider when Jesus warned His followers that, when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by her enemies, to flee to the mountains (Luke 21:20-21). Over and over the Lord's heart seeks to preserve the righteous, His beloved, during times of wrath. The Scripture states plainly that God "has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation" (1 Thess 5:9). Indeed, the very rapture itself tells us that God seeks to separate and protect His own.

Forgive me for laboring, but to say that Jesus Christ strikes the righteous with the wicked is a gross misrepresentation of His character. In the parable of the wheat and tares, when asked if the tares should be uprooted, Jesus replied, "No; lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest . . . " (Matt 13:29-30). The Lord is willing to allow evil to exist side by side with good rather than risk accidently uprooting the good with the evil! This is God's heart. There were many Christians who died in the Twin Towers, Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, thus I do not believe God was acting out His wrath against America. I'm not saying we don't deserve it, but that this is not the wrath of the Almighty. When the righteous do die with the wicked, with very limited exceptions, it is because there is another power at work, one that is either hellish, manmade or geophysical.

Shall Not God Deal Justly?
Abraham understood the fairness of divine justice. As a result, when God was about to destroy Sodom, Abraham boldly prayed, "Far be it from Thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from Thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?" (Gen 18:25). If we cannot say, "Far be it from Thee . . . to slay the righteous with the wicked" then we do not know God as Abraham knew Him. The Judge of the whole earth, according to the Bible, deals justly. He will not slay the righteous with the wicked.

When the Lord does release His anger, it is not indiscriminate, but measured and just. He plainly says, "The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself" (Ezek 18:20).

People have said, "God is judging America for its sins, for the flood of pornography, drug abuse, violence and abortion coming from this nation." This argument amazes me. I doubt that there was one pornographer that died at the World Trade Center. There were no abortion clinics there. Indeed, many who died in the attacks were Christians. It is as though people are saying, "To teach pornographers, abortionists and adulterers a lesson, God killed and wounded business people, tourists and rescuers in New York." How can we believe that God, while justly angry with pornographers in LA, would strike soldiers and airline passengers at the Pentagon? Not only is such thinking fundamentally skewed, it actually describes the mind of the terrorists, who will destroy people who are unrelated to the issues which inflame them.

So, if you are confused by the myriad of prophecies that the terrorist act was actually God's judgment upon modern Babylon, then you need to return to basics: the Lord is good, the devil is bad. God did not cause, authorize or condone these terrorist acts. I am not saying the Lord will never deal with America's sin in His anger, only that when God judges Babylon He will not hire a terrorist to do it. This devastation was an attack from the devil, whom Jesus said, "comes to steal, kill and destroy" (John 8). If God allowed it (or foresaw it but didn't stop it), such is the cost of guaranteeing man a free will. Yes, the Lord watched the terrorist attack. However, not only were there tears in His eyes, there was a promise in His heart. Out of this wounding is coming a great revival in America.

The Emerging Goodness
So, what is God working? Consider the two hijacked planes: United and American. Taking what Satan designed to crush us, God has produced unity, or "United American[s]." We have asked God for revival, and today churches are uniting in brokenness, humility and prayer. David Bryant tells us that there were 10,000 prayer groups meeting in New York before the terrorist attack; today that number is swelling. News anchors and political analysts are marveling at the flood of people returning to church and God, some are even predicting that America is at the threshold of a great spiritual awakening. Repentance must and will come, but remember, it is "the kindness of God [that] leads you to repentance" (Rom 2:4).

Yes, in the midst of all our diversity and bickering, a United America is rising from the rubble and confusion. Though tears may still be in our eyes, black and white, Baptist and Pentecostal, our arms are around one another. We are in this together with God.

Many have warned that this attack has awakened a "sleeping giant." I say it has awakened a praying giant. When the prayer army in America (and around the world) stood to intercede during the Gulf War, many were predicting our military action would lead to Armageddon, one famous pastor even had a full page ad in USA Today warning the Gulf War would lead to Armageddon. Instead of the "end of the world," God answered our prayers. We suffered minimal casualties and the war was over within 100 hours. Additionally, by some counts, over 100,000 American soldiers gave their lives to Christ!

Again, we were warned that many American lives would be lost in Kosovo. Prayer arose and instead NOT ONE American life was lost! Or consider when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred: prayer instantly rose across this nation. Remember, as now, we did not know initially who our enemy was, but we knew Who our God was! Across America we prayed. Incredibly, within hours of the explosion, McVey was apprehended for a traffic violation. While the world searched for the perpetrator of this crime, God already had him arrested and waiting in jail!

So, I say to you: Do not fear the terror that stalks by night, O praying House of the Lord! This is your hour. Stand with the sword of the Holy Spirit and pray for America! Throw off your oppression and know that God is among us to bring great good from this. Your President and national leaders are praying; your church leaders are seeking God. Do not just pray, but BELIEVE IN THE GOODNESS AND POWER OF OUR REDEEMER KING! Take faith: the Spirit has witnessed that God has set His heart to break the stronghold of Islam and release many of its captives. It is time to trust the commission and words of the Son of God. "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come" (Matt 24:14). The Arab world and those trapped in Islam shall have a genuine chance to hear the gospel of Christ.

One Last Thing
The Revelation of John tells of a great spiritual war in the end times: "Michael and his angels waging war against the dragon . . . (Rev 12). You will remember that, in Daniel's time, Michael was revealed as the great archangel who subdued the "prince [read "principality"] over Persia" (see Dan 10). This ancient Persian empire extended from the Danube to India. Today, it is this area in particular that sponsors much of the terrorist activity we see in the world. It is worth considering that the first person to be identified as a fatality at the WTC was a Catholic priest named Father Mychal Judge (Mychal is "Michael"). There is both a prayer and an insight in his name, even a direction we should take in spiritual warfare: "Father, [send] Michael [to] Judge [Your enemies]."

It may be that the worldwide situation will turn worse before it gets better. If you need to repent of sin, do so deeply, but quickly. Beloved, it is time for God's prayer army to arise!

Lord, we ask that You descend into this battle and bring great goodness out of it -- let the world see you as exalted and mighty, as good and merciful. We also ask that You use this to bring repentance and a national awakening to our land. Send Michael, the chief prince of the people of Israel and the archangel who leads Your heavenly hosts into battle; yes, send him against our foes and Yours. We are helpless without You, but come, O Lord, and reveal Your goodness and power to the nations. In Jesus' name.