“Make a chain, for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence” (Ezekiel 7:23)
Several years back Pastor Cecil Todd and I were privileged to share with the mayor of Monterrey Mexico’s right-hand man and pray over that city of perhaps seven million, viewing the downtown district from his high office window. Before praying I shared this text verse with the city’s chief Secretario, letting him know that Monterrey, like America’s great cities, has its art and beauty and history and progress but also its crime, drugs, violence, poverty and difficulties. Then I shared the prophet Ezekiel’s three-word answer for strife on the streets, “Make a chain!” As public protests are chains of individuals, the church prayer meeting also needs to link up for a strategic purpose. Satan knows the power of a chain. He has been using them to bind men hand-and-foot for more than sixty centuries. The church too must utilize this age-old device. In Monterrey, we joined hands in a prayer-chain and poured out petitions for revival in Mexico.
Let’s consider the leverage of a chain. There is the chain of good deeds, one after another in linked succession. One random kindness has some effect, but daily doses of love forges lasting friendships. There is a linkage of love. Paul chained ministries together, apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher (Ephesians 4:11). The more the links, the more the wraps and the greater the leverage. “Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight” (Leviticus 26:8). Business knows the leverage of the “chain store”. Ask J.C. Penney, Skaggs or Sears back in the old days, or Wal-Mart, Lowes or Applebees in the present. The church world needs to wise up. Instead of competing against each other we need to make a chain and build a network of positive relationships. If any two shall agree together in prayer the Father promises to send an answer (Matthew 18:19,20). If the Baptists, Methodists and all the other “ists” would enlist their time and energies we could move mountains. If the city’s pastors ever drop personal agendas and make a chain, woe to the devil! It happened in the negative at the tower of Babel, it worked in the positive with 120 links in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost.
The more the links the greater the power. One prayer is good, a thousand prayers are better. Adding links to our prayers is never “vain repetition”. It wasn’t until Elijah’s seventh prayer that the sky produced a cloud “the size of a man’s hand”. Or Joshua’s seventh lap around Jericho that brought that evil city to its knees.
Children need to see consistency. Education is a chain that links third grade to fourth, Junior High to Senior High, college and beyond. Talmage in his inimitable vocabulary preached, “Sporadic education, paroxysmal discipline, and occasional fidelity amount to nothing. You can as easily hold an anchor by one link as to hold a child to right by isolated and intermittent faithfulness”. Fifty-cent words but gold nuggets of truth. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Sporadic church attendance teaches casual Christianity. Linking this Sunday to last and next makes a chain that will keep a child faithful to God through adulthood. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). The enemy hates the chain of disciplined living! The clinking, clanging iron links prophesy his ruin, for John envisioned a mighty angel coming down from heaven with “a great chain in his hand” with which he would bind the devil for a thousand years before casting him headlong into the abyss (Revelation 20:1,2). The worst of criminals need put on a chain gang! Every time the church links in unity the fetters dig deeper into the adversary’s wrists and ankles.
Ezekiel called for a chain of prayer “for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence”. Judgment fell in Noah’s day because “the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11). God doesn’t tolerate violence or rebellion against legitimate elected authority. Intercessors are heaven’s “chain gang”. We don’t know what will come out of this season of impeachment, totalitarian business and church shutdowns, the COVID pandemic, and shootings and lootings on our streets. I hope it will end in the birthing of a prayer army. The National Guard has its place, but it can’t accomplish as much as the National Guardians, the Chain Gang, the watchmen on the wall., the intercessors, the Remnant. You and I are links, but links are of no value until connected. There is a hand to your right and to your left, clasp them. Let’s unite and seek God for restoration. Let’s make a chain!
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