Last week I was praying and thinking about the fact that 2017 was wrapping up and soon we would be moving into 2018. Almost as soon as my thoughts turned to 2018 the Holy Spirit dropped Jeremiah 12:5 into my spirit.

“If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, Then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, In  which you trusted, they wearied you, Then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?
Jeremiah 12:5 NKJV

As I continued to pray I heard the Lord say “2017 in America is a warm up for 2018. Social and political unrest would greatly intensify and be much more divisive than in 2017. Socially we will be a nation on the brink. This level of intensity will become so great that it will cause an incredible strain upon the church.” As I continued to pray I saw a picture of a mass representing the church. This mass was pulled to the extreme left and right, but there was a portion of the mass that was pulled upward. This represented a pull to political extremes for some and a pull into a higher realm of kingdom living for others.

As I prayed about what I saw I felt the Lord say that He was going to deal strongly with political idolatry and prejudice within the church. Those who had given themselves over to political idolatry would become extreme in 2018. Relationships will be greatly strained as many in the church will further define and align themselves not by allegiance to God but by allegiance to their preferred political party. As this takes place there would be a people in the church that would crave the Kingdom more than ever. They would become less politically inclined and give themselves over to intercession, repentance, and evangelism. I saw that in this time the mental and emotional strain would become so great upon some believers in their homes, work, and schools that they would crave Christian fellowship like never before. As a result of this we would see a move of fellowship like the early church because without almost daily spiritual fellowship with other believers many would not be able to handle the emotional and spiritual warfare they will walk through. These kingdom relationships will serve as a refuge during this intense time.

As I continued to pray I heard that if left unchecked the enemy would cause such chaos during this time that in various cities would have areas that would be uncontrollable to the point that local police would not be able to go into these places and it would take military forces to bring order to the chaotic neighborhoods.

My heart greatly grieved as I heard these things. I grieved mainly because I felt that the church is not prepared to deal with these things. Yes, I understand that in a measure many of these things are going on, but I stress that it’s not that what may come is necessarily new but the intensity level certainly will be. I felt the intensity would be unlike anything anyone living had seen before in this country. As I continued praying I asked the Lord what can and should we do? Here are some points I believe the Lord highlighted to me.

1)Repent for political idolatry and racial prejudice. Take this seriously. If these issues are not resolved in your heart you will quite possibly be overwhelmed by offense in these areas in a way you never thought possible.

2)Ask the Lord for a baptism of His love! Your love will be challenged during this time and we need to be able to see people through the eyes of mercy and faith.

3)….be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16b NKJV. During this period I do not believe that the church or individual believers will be able to be neutral on the issues that will face this nation, but we will need to be wise, compassionate, and have a kingdom response to them.

4)Fellowship will be key in this season. Meet with other believers. Pray, worship, and take communion together. God wants to bring a greater unity to the body and I believe in 2018 we will come to treasure one another more than ever. As this happens I believe the church will grow in such a brotherly love that its capacity to carry the glory of God will increase to profound levels.

5)I strongly believe that 2018 will be a year of victories even though it will be straining. As I prayed about this the Lord reminded me that breakthrough is not the same as hitting the jackpot. Breakthrough comes as we overcome opposition. So embrace the resistance, but be aware most victories are not without struggle.

6)Pray mercy over this nation. Remember Nineveh had a death sentence, but when they repented and fasted God gave them mercy. I believe if we repent and intercede for God’s mercy anything is possible.

7)I shared this word with my congregation this past Sunday and man I trust told me while I shared it he felt the Lord say for us to especially pray for young kids in school during this time that they would be guarded from this turmoil. And that the true “sanctuary cities” would be the ones where the churches are praying.

Please understand this word is a warning not a sentence. Which means the Lord is calling us to prepare and respond before it manifests. Which to me means that the response of the church could possibly neutralize this, shorten the time or severity of it. I would be happy if instead of our country walking through this we could just move into awakening, but often God has moved the greatest not in times of peace but in times of great contention. I strongly believe that the Lord loves this nation with a unique affection and if He must allow some shaking to give us the opportunity to get back on track He will allow it.