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The greatest need of our day

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza, pauses at his son's name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial during tenth anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2011 (Credit: Reuters/Justin Lane/Pool)

I don’t think we have ever received the kind of response that yesterday’s “Letter to America” elicited.  So many of you posted and emailed comments of support.  I am deeply grateful to each of you for reading these essays, and to every person who took time to reply.  It is a great honor to serve the King with you.

In reading your responses, I sensed the Spirit’s leading to reply to four of them in this morning’s essay.  The first is a simple statement: “I believe this is the only thing that will save America.”  There is no doubt in my mind that you are right.

Democracy requires morality, lest we cast ballots based on personal preferences rather than the collective good.  And morality for fallen people requires a personal relationship with a holy God.  David was right: “There is no one who does good” (Psalm 14:1).  Unless the Holy Spirit purifies my motives, my actions will inevitably dishonor my God and my country.  A national spiritual awakening is without question the greatest need of our day.

A second response follows logically the first: “What does ‘seek my face’ mean?”  God promises that if his people “humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).  “Seek” translates baqas, to “seek diligently” or “run hard after.”  “My” shows that we are to seek God before all others.  “Face” translates panim, symbolic of intimate proximity with God.

To “seek my face” is to strive for a personal, passionate relationship with God.  We obey this command when we begin the day by getting alone with the Father.  We ask his Spirit to reveal our sins, and confess all that comes to our minds.  We glorify him, using “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” to honor him (Ephesians 5:19).  We spend time in his word, knowing that the Bible is “God preaching,” as J. I. Packer reminded us.  We stop to listen to his Spirit’s voice as he speaks to our hearts.  Only in this way can we be catalysts for the spiritual renewal our nation desperately needs.

Here’s a third response I sensed the Spirit’s leading to share with you: “Our church (praise the Lord) spent 15 minutes on our knees praying for our country yesterday.  I wish every church all over our country would do the same.  Our verse is Jeremiah 33:3.  We are to pray every day at 3:33 for our country.”  What would happen if each of us joined them?

Last, a reader cited Zechariah 1:3, which says, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.”  She adds: “I know our Father, our Abba, is just waiting for us to ‘return’–to come home.”

Is he waiting on you this morning?