Amid division and hatred in the nation, one Illinois pastor believes America is “perishing today unnecessarily.”
Addressing fellow church leaders and the public on Monday during America’s Pre-Election Online Prayer and Communion Service, held at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., Pastor James Ward of INSIGHT Church said the future of America “is not guaranteed” and that God is warning His people to return to Him.
“It is most unfortunate and it really breaks my heart that in America, we are perishing today unnecessarily,” he said. “I believe with all my heart that God is calling America to not only turn but to return to Him to live and not die.
“You don’t have to die. You don’t have to perish unnecessarily.”
His comments came during a contentious election season and a day before the general election. A Rasmussen poll conducted in June found that 34% of likely U.S. voters think the United States will experience a second civil war in the next five years.
Ward said many cities across the country are experiencing “Hell on earth” and largely because Christians have stopped praying.
“Whenever God’s people stop praying, stop proclaiming and stop promoting ‘thy Kingdom come and thy will be done here on earth as it is in Heaven,’ Satan’s kingdom will come and his will will be done on earth as it is in Hell in contrast to as it is in Heaven,” he said.
“We don’t have to live the way that we’re living under Hell’s dominion. Christ has made it possible so that the blessing of Abraham can come upon gentiles, any person … because God so loved the world.”
Ward’s call for Christians to get on their knees and return to God was echoed by other church leaders on Monday.
Pastor Mark Daniel of Focal Point Church in Orlando acknowledged that 2020 was not a normal year but that God allows disruptions so that His people can stop drifting from Him and turn back.
“A heavenly alarm has sounded and it is continuing to sound,” Daniel said. “I think the Church has abdicated our hope to a politician or to someone else and we’re needing to return and say our hope is Jesus Christ.”
Christians have “departed from His Word, from His ways” in the family, society and the Church and God is calling them to humility and prayer.
“We say, ‘God come heal our land,’ but He’s saying, ‘I’m looking for you to respond, my people,’” Daniel said. “We should not be trying to get back to normal. We should be looking for an urgency, a humbling to come upon us.”
Pastor Carlton Arthurs, founder of Wheaton Christian Center in Illinois, also warned on Monday that these are the “last days.”
“We’ve entered definitely what the Word of God refers to as the last days. The end of the age is rushing upon us. God’s people must know.”
He said that God spoke to him and told him to now make the emphasis of his life and ministry “preparing people for the soon return of the Lord.”
Also featured at the prayer event was the mother of Jacob Blake, who was hospitalized after being shot by police on Aug. 23 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Police were responding to a 911 call in which a woman reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be at the residence. The shooting, which sparked protests, is still under investigation.
Julia Jackson said that Blake had recommitted his life to Jesus and that his “faith in Christ has grown.”
“He’s reading his Bible daily. God is keeping us and blessing us,” she said.
Although her family’s pain has been immense, it’s a blessing that he lived, she said.
“I hear the LORD telling me, ‘I feel the same pain every time one of my created beings is destroyed or maimed in any area,’” she said. “His pain from the hatred and the violence among humans is great.
“So I pray to the Lord to continue to hold back His wrath as He touches the hearts of men and women to bring us to a place of repentance and love and honor and respect for each other.”
She added, “Until He comes there will be no peace. Until we open our hearts and let Him in, there will be no reconciliation. There will be no true justice because He’s the God of justice, and He’s the God of healing, He’s the God of love. So I’m asking the Lord every day, even before this, ‘Lord, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.’”
As the pastor to Blake’s mother and as someone who had been in talks with President Donald Trump, Ward said that during his prayers in the wake of the shooting, “Jesus began to tell me that He loves President Trump. And Jesus begins to tell me that He loves Jacob Blake.”
These were two persons whom “the culture has put on opposite ends of the playing field,” Ward noted.
“I began to think about the heart of God toward all people and how we fail to see each other the way that God sees us.”
Reminding America of the “unchangeable” message of God’s love and salvation to those who believe, Ward said, “[W]e desperately need to hear good news about a good God who sent a good King who only desires more than anything else to do good and not harm to the people of the United States of America.”
God’s offer of love and repentance extends to all people, he said.