7 Reasons Why We Are Living in Praying Times

hcsp.jpgby Daniel Whyte III

Yes, we know God’s people ought to pray all the time. But these days are certainly ‘praying times.’ Why do I say that? Well, because we are living in perilous times, and perilous times call for men and women of God to rise up, stand together or stand alone, and be faithful in prayer to God.

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:4-14)
Now, perhaps you are living in a fine house, in a quiet neighborhood, on the pleasant side of town. Perhaps you have steady employment, a loving spouse, and healthy children. Perhaps you have money to pay your bills, buy groceries, and even take two vacations a year. You attend church regularly; you pray for and are in a position to help the distant relative who is having some difficulties; you occasionally go golfing with the guys or shopping with the girls –in short, your life is going along just fine. Why, you ask, is this a praying time? Why do we need increased prayer activity in our world today? Well, my friend, there are many reasons why we are living in praying times. Let me share with you seven of the most important reasons why we need more prayer so we can have God’s power to fulfill His purpose and mission in our lives, our communities, and the world.
The Increase of Violence and Criminal Activity
It is unfortunate that when we turn on the evening news to unwind after a long day, we are bombarded with the news of robberies, house invasions, murders, rapes, drug dealing and kidnappings. Hardly a day goes by without someone (or several people) in our own cities being affected by one of these criminal acts of violence. In this day and time, it is nothing to hear about a mother killing her child or a child killing his parents. It is nothing to hear of a husband and father going into his house, killing all the family members, and then killing himself. We live in a day and age when men not only want to sleep with men and women want to sleep with women, but men now want to marry men and women now want to marry women. Then these homosexuals want to adopt children and make them two-fold more a child of hell than themselves. Demons are running rampant in our society today. Indeed, my friend, this is a praying time.
Take a look at the statistics below to give you an idea of the type of criminal activities that are on the increase in the United States today.
Recent statistics show:
•    There were 360,000 robberies and 1,900,000 burglaries in one year.
•    There were 54,000 murders in one year.
•    There were 293,000 forcible rapes in one year.
•    There were 275,000 cases of aggravated assault in one year.
•    Nearly 69,000 children are abducted every year. (U.S. Census Bureau)
While these events may not have impacted your family directly (and there’s nothing to say that they won’t impact your family in the future),  they are certainly devastating to the relatives of those who these crimes happen to.
Before the Great Flood of Noah’s day, the Bible tells us that “the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11). The type of violence that we see today, is the same type of violence that God saw on the earth before He decided to destroy the earth with water. In this case, God’s desire is for us to pray for those who are affected by these crimes so that they can be healed, saved and strengthened. I also believe God wants us to pray for the restraining of the demonic forces which drive the perpetrators of these crimes.
The Rise of Immorality in Our Culture
Christians and many on the conservative end of the political spectrum have long decried the increasing immorality in our society and culture. The sexual revolution of the 1960s gave many the excuse to engage in illicit sexual behavior — sex before marriage, adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. While many claimed that the sexual revolution had a “liberating” effect on our culture, the reality is quite different. Please notice the sad statistics below:
•    There are approximately 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases each year.
•    About half of these cases occur in people between the ages of 15 and 24.
•    750,000 teen pregnancies occur each year.
•    Approximately 33% of females become pregnant before reaching the age of 20.
•    Early sexual activity and multiple partners are also associated with pain and suffering from broken relationships, a sense of betrayal and abandonment, confusion about romantic feelings, low or no self-esteem, depression, and impaired ability to form healthy long-term relationships. (Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons)
Further, according to the Barna Research Group’s survey of American attitudes in 2000:
•    60 percent of Americans consider it acceptable for unmarried people to cohabitate.
•    Nearly half of Americans (45 percent) consider abortion acceptable.
•    30 percent of Americans find homosexuality acceptable.
•    38 percent of the population approve of pornography.
•    42 percent of Americans say extramarital sex is okay.
•    And, according to a 2003 edition of Newsweek magazine, marriage therapists estimate that among their clients, 30-40 percent of married women have had sex with someone they aren’t married to and 50 percent of men have done the same.
These shocking numbers lead to my next point as to why we are living in praying times:


The Breakdown of the Family
I am quite sure that you have heard the devastating statistic of over 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce. This is a sad state of affairs in our country. During the 20th century, the divorce rate skyrocketed by 700%: in 1900, there were 56,000 divorces but in 1992, there were 1,200,000 (1.2 million). According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, within six months of their marriage, 50% of newlyweds begin to doubt that their marriage will last.
The failure of marriages does not only affect the husbands and wives, but it affects the children in a deep and damaging way. Not only are 25% (22 million) of the children in the United States growing up in a single-parent house
hold, but 14 million homes in the U.S. are headed by single parents. This number has not gone down since 1994. Additionally, notice the following statistics from Larry Bilotta’s “Marriage Success Secrets”:
•    Half of all American children will witness the breakup of a parent’s marriage. Of these, close to half will also see the breakup of a parent’s second marriage.
•    Among the millions of children who have seen their parents divorce, one of every 10 will also live through three or more parental marriage breakups.
•    Forty percent of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers.
•    Studies in the early 1980’s showed that children in repeat divorces earned lower grades and their peers rated them as less pleasant to be around. (In fact, in the news recently, the daughter of a well-known man who has been married and divorced several times, was convicted of killing a neighbor’s child.)
•    Teenagers in single-parent families and in blended families are three times more likely to need psychological help within a given year.
•    Compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children from divorced homes have more psychological problems.
•    Following divorce, children are fifty percent more likely to develop health problems than two parent families.
•    Most victims of child molestation come from single-parent households or are the children of drug ring members.
•    A child in a female-headed home is ten times more likely to be beaten or murdered.
•    People who come from broken homes are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who do not come from broken homes. (Marriage-Success-Secrets.com)
Friend, it is easy to see why families are in need of a great amount of intercession. Even if your marriage and family seem strong right now, seek out those families in your community who are on the rocks and make it your mission to pray for them daily.
Increased Natural Disasters
Due to the media attention that natural disasters receive, we do not have to look hard to see that natural disasters or “acts of God,” (which is a legal term for calamities that happen in nature), affect human lives in unimaginable ways, from family members being killed or going missing, to people’s livelihoods being stripped away in one catastrophic moment. Think back to the tsunami which hit Indonesia and other countries bordering the Indian Ocean in 2004: over 230,000 people in 14 nations were killed and coastal communities were washed out by 100 foot waves.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast area of the United States: over 1,800 people died, and there was $81 billion in property damage. Skip forward to January 2010 and the earthquake in Haiti: according to reports, over 300,000 people were killed, another 300,000 were injured and over one million people were homeless after the disaster. That country still has not recovered.
The year 2011 was a heartbreaker for many in regards to natural disasters. The year began with devastating earthquakes in Argentina and China. It is also interesting to note (even though these probably do not qualify as natural disasters) that there were some strange occurrences with animal life during the early part of 2011. Some of these were:
•    More than 1,000 dead birds fell from the sky in Arkansas (January 2).
•    Dead fish covered a 20-mile section of the Arkansas River (January 2).
•    Thousands of birds were found dead in Louisiana, Manitoba (Canada), and South America (January 3).
•    100 tons of dead fish washed up on Brazil’s shores (January 4).
•    40,000 crabs were found dead on England’s beaches (January 6).
We could go on with more examples. But beyond this, on March 11, a massive earthquake struck eastern Japan. It also spawned a fierce tsunami with waves over 120 feet high that stretched as far as six miles inland. Over 15,000 people were killed and 8,000 people were missing. This earthquake also impacted the world’s economy as  Japan is the third largest economy. Japan has yet to recover.
More recently, in the spring of 2011, the Mississippi River flooded more than it has at any other time in the past century. Over 350 people were killed in the accompanying storms and thousands of homes were evacuated. During the same time, a massive storm system spawned hundreds of extremely destructive killer tornadoes that spread across the Midwest, Southeast, and unusually in the Northeast parts of the United States. Nearly 1000 people were killed because of these tornadoes, and 2011 has already been named the deadliest year for tornadoes in U.S. history, and we are only at the halfway point of the year.
In this case, it is easy to see why increased natural disasters are a cause for more prayer. The victims of these disasters need God’s strength and help as they face difficult days–and years–of burying loved ones, salvaging what remains of their lives, and, in many cases, starting all over again.
More Wars and Violent Uprisings
The fifth reason why the people of God need to realize that these are praying times is because the world is becoming an increasingly hostile and violent place. No, I do not mean just common civil violence, but large-scale wars are being fought and violent uprisings are taking place in different parts of the globe like never before. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched longer than World War II. Thousands of American, coalition, and civilian lives have been lost, and both countries still do not have stable governments.
Around the globe, wars and genocide have been happening with increasing frequency. A few of these are: the war in Darfur, the Israel-Lebanon war, the Mexican drug war, the war in Somalia, the ongoing Cambodian-Thai standoff, the  ancient struggle between Israel and the Palestinians, the Israel-Gaza war, and Russia’s invasion of Georgia. Dangerous regimes, such as those in Iran and North Korea also threaten regional peace and global stability. On top of that, acts of terrorism (oftentimes influenced by radical Muslim doctrines) have become shockingly frequent occurrences. In 2007 alone, the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center counted 14,499 acts of terrorism which left 22,685 people dead and 44,310 people injured. This is up from 2004, where only 3,259 acts of terrorism were recorded.
In addition to wars and terrorist activities, 2011 has seen what many are calling the “Arab Spring” — a rash of uprisings (many of which have, at times, turned violent in nature) in the Middle East and North Africa led by people calling for greater freedom from totalitarian governments.
Jesus Christ warned us in Matthew 24:6 that we would see “wars and rumours of wars” as the end times draw near. The prayers of the people of God should go up unceasingly for the peace of every nation around the globe, for the peace of Jerusalem, and for the salvation of the millions of souls who need to find not only freedom from oppressive regimes, but true spiritual freedom in Jesus Christ.
The Church’s Failure in its Mission
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto t
he end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The sixth reason why these times call for increased prayer activity is because, frankly and unfortunately, the church has failed in its fulfillment of the Great Commission. While the world has grown more interconnected through the use of the internet, television, cellphones, and other mass media, many churches have unfortunately withdrawn into their own “Christian ghettoes” (according to a Christian minister in Germany) and have refused to reach out to the world around them. Thank God for those churches and ministries that have recognized the potential and jumped into this brave new world and are doing all they can to win souls for Christ. However, according to the Barna Group, nearly one quarter of Americans do not attend church and have no affiliation with a church family.
Beyond the Great Commission, the church has also failed in making the teachings of the Bible clear to the present culture. Many Christian “leaders” are guilty of watering down the Gospel, being unclear on matters that the Bible speaks clearly on, and stripping Biblical doctrine down to happy go lucky theology that will make any adherent healthy, wealthy, and (hopefully) wise. This is evidenced by the relatively low number of Americans who hold to traditional Christian beliefs.
According to the Barna Group,
•    Currently, just one-third of Americans strongly disagree that Jesus sinned (37%) and just one-quarter strongly reject the idea that Satan is not a real spiritual being (24%).
•    Currently two-thirds of Americans believe that God is best described as the all-powerful, all-knowing perfect creator of the universe who rules the world today (66%). However, this proportion is lower than it was a year ago (71%) and represents the lowest percentage in more than twenty years of similar surveys.
•    Although large majorities of the public claim to be “deeply spiritual” and say that their religious faith is “very important” in their life, only 15% of those who regularly attend a Christian church ranked their relationship with God as the top priority in their life.
•    Only one-third of 8-12 year olds say a church has made “a positive difference” in their life.
Friend, next time you pray for the church, pray that God would reignite the fire in the hearts of Christians everywhere to love, live, preach, and serve as Jesus did — and then go out and do those things yourself.
More People Turning Away from God
It goes without saying that our world is turning into an increasingly secular place. Many individuals are giving up traditional beliefs in God for New Age spiritualism, occult activities, agnosticism, or atheism. Notice the following disturbing statistics:
•    Over 20 million people in the United States say they have ‘no faith.’
•    Three out of every four teenagers have engaged in at least one type of psychic or witchcraft-related activity.
•    According to experts, nine countries of the world are already on the verge of making Christianity nearly extinct: Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland.
Our world is changing in sometimes surprising and very destructive ways. Unless we, the people of God, stand together and form a firewall of intercessory prayer in our society, not only will God’s judgment destroy our country and our world, but our country and the world will begin to destroy itself from the inside out.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over twenty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, and the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Visit: DanielWhyte3.com