In recent weeks I have experienced a peculiar sadness, an unexplained grief in my spirit off and on.
No matter what else I was doing – housework, grocery shopping, reading – I would begin to feel grief-stricken, as though something really bad had happened somewhere, or was getting ready to.
I was 14 the first time this happened, June 16, 1957 when my great grandmother Mary Emily Dunnahoe Springs died. I didn’t know her really, had only visited her once or twice with my grandmother. I knew she’d been bedridden because of a broken hip for years, but had no idea she was sick otherwise.
Spending the summer at my grandparents’ farm in Effingham, I had just gone to bed when suddenly a horrible sadness come over me for no reason. I was wondering what on earth was wrong with me when the phone rang and my grandmother Mimi went to answer it. Mimi was upset and tearful when she came to tell me that her mother had just died. All I knew to do was pray.
Over the years that negative sensation has occasionally washed over me without any known cause. I’ve learned to pray whenever it comes, pray until the feeling subsides. Soon afterwards I usually learn that something bad or sad has happened, sometimes to a person I’m close to, sometimes not. Sometimes I never hear of anything bad happening, nothing I can point to, anyway.
This time, July the 4th kept popping up in my thoughts. The closer it got to that day, the stronger the sad feelings got. Each time I asked the Lord to show me who and what to pray for, and as they came to mind I’d intercede for those people, places and things.
The morning of the 4th the grief was still there. It was like waiting for another shoe to fall. The news on television and online wasn’t much different than in recent days. Middle East turmoil. Protests about illegal immigrants in California. Bad weather, like Hurricane Arthur that was traveling up the eastern seaboard.
As the unsettled, grief-struck emotions rose and fell during the morning, I considered it a call to intercession. I prayed for every person, every situation that came to mind, from the President to the Israeli government to my own family. I included the hurricane.
Then — just after 2:30 PM eastern time, the grief instantly vanished, as if it had never been there. It didn’t just die down, diminish and eventually disappear. It was just gone.
What’s going on, Lord, I asked. Has something dreadful happened? In my family or among my friends? Something else, somewhere in the United States? In the Middle East? Or — perhaps was something dreadful prevented from happening, by the prayers of your people?
Doing an online search of national and international media this morning (both secular and Christian), I found no mention of a disaster or tragedy that was particularly unusual.
Wondering if anyone else (or how many others) had perceived the same sort of sadness in the spirit, I did an online search for “prophetic warnings.”
It didn’t take long to discover a wide variety of websites and blog posts. Some Christians are feeling quite positive and upbeat, despite the usual “bad news” in the nation and the world. They believe a revival is just ahead for the United States, and that everything is soon going to be okay, politically, economically, and spiritually.
Some are confident that their personal prayers are about to be answered for themselves and their family, about their health, financial situations, marital problems, you name it.
I also found some who like me have felt a sense of grief. They agree that a worldwide revival has already begun (and it has), that an outpouring of the Holy Spirit is imminent for America, but that a tragedy is also very likely ahead for the United States. They are calling for continued intercession, that the Lord will intervene and show mercy to America.
Okay Lord, I asked, who is right? Here’s what he showed me.
Under cover of celebration last night, while spectacular fireworks were being admired from coast to coast, explosions of a spiritual sort were taking place in cities from Washington to L.A., Chicago to Houston, Seattle to Miami.
A nationwide spiritual battle has been joined. Under cover of apathy, complacency, distraction and spiritual ignorance, the enemy of Christ is flooding in. They are arriving in greater numbers than ever before, spreading to infiltrate every corner of American society.
They are not invisible to the Lord. “We are not ignorant of his devices,” the apostle Paul said. The Holy Spirit sees what he is up to. He will inform God’s warriors that their fervent prayers are needed.
Sometimes that call to intercession is perceived like grief, he said, sometimes like desperation, sometimes like rage. It won’t feel pleasant when it comes, but intercession will be needed more and more in the days ahead, if America is to be rescued. God’s desire is to rescue our nation.
One more warning: It’s going to take American churches filled with prayer warriors equipping themselves with God’s armor, instead of spiritual toddlers taking naps – spiritual boot camps, not kindergartens.