By David Smithers
"And I sought for a MAN among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. - Ezek. 22:30.
The future of a nation is directly dependent upon the choices of its men. It is here that the men of America, as a whole, have failed. Like the individual links of a chain, the immoral choices of our men have truly brought this nation into spiritual bondage. Many men are now squandering the zeal and the strength of their youth on the temporal pursuits of sports and money. Our churches are filled with men who will shout the praises of professional athletes and yet are cowards to praise the King of Kings. Hardened and passive, such men are void of Holy Ghost boldness. Yet God, in His mercy, is still determined to use MEN to stand in the gap.
In General "Stonewall Jackson", God found a true man who would stand in the gap. Both strong and tender, the motto of his life was, "Lord what wilt thou have me to do?" As fervent in the field of battle, so was Jackson on his knees in prayer. "He was a man of prayer, accustomed in all he did to ask the divine blessing and guidance. His aid said that he could always tell when a battle was near at hand by seeing the General get up a great many times in the night to pray." General Jackson did not simply pray, he fervently prayed. The following story gives us some insight in the passion of his prayers. It was told the Rev. William Brown, "the truth is sir, that 'old Jack' (Jackson) is crazy. Why, I frequently meet him out in the woods walking back and forth muttering to himself incoherent sentences and gesturing wildly, at such times he seems utterly oblivious of my presence and of everything else."
"A friend was once conversing with Jackson about the difficulty of obeying the scripture injunction, 'pray without ceasing,' and Jackson insisted that we could so accustom ourselves to it, that it could be easily obeyed. When we take our meals there is the grace. When I take a drink of water, I always pause, as my palate receives the refreshment, to lift up my heart to God in thanks and prayer for the water of life. Whenever I drop a letter into the box at the post office I send a petition along with it for God's blessings upon its mission and upon the person to whom it is sent. When I break the seal of a letter just received I stop to pray to God that He may prepare me for its contents and make it a message of good. When I go to my classroom and await the arrangement of the cadets in their places, that is my time to intercede with God for them. And so of every other familiar act of the day." Though a man of superior abilities, Jackson humbly recognized his need for JESUS in everything he did.
As a general in the Confederate Army, "Stonewall Jackson" had a profound influence over his men. It was his holy and prayerful example that contributed to the great revival among the Southern troops. By midsummer of 1863, revival had spread to all the Confederate armies. A chaplain of the 26th Alabama Regiment said that his unit alone averaged 100 converts a week for several weeks. During this same time another chaplain declared that, 'modern history presents no example of an army so nearly converted. A third of all soldiers in the field were men of prayer and members of some fellowship. J. W. Jones suggested that 150,000 conversions took place in Lee's Army alone. It was this revival that no doubt prepared the South for the humiliation that was to follow their eventual defeat, but best of all the revival prepared thousands of young and old alike to meet Christ in eternity. Truly, General Jackson impacted our history through the power of prayer.
What is our greatest need today in our morally fallen nation? We need a tenacious, tender, tearful and Holy Ghost bold army of true MEN! Oh God, make us MEN!