In the years following the Second World War, Germany has received an enormous amount of grace. Despite the primary responsibility for two world wars and the Holocaust, God has allowed our country not only to survive, but even to be accorded a distinguished place among the nations once again. At the same time, destructive, ungodly, antichristian forces are increasing in Germany.
The German Constitution – now 60 years old – is built on Judaeo-Christian foundations. Bucking the global trend, German-Israeli relations – now over 40 years old – are becoming closer. Peaceful reunification – 20 years old – is a fantastic gift from God to our nation. What grace! Yet this grace must not be taken for granted. It is something that has been entrusted to us, for us to use responsibly. As we read in the gospels: “her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much” and “from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked”.
At the same time, destructive, ungodly, antichristian forces are increasing in Germany. The spiritual and societal climate in Germany is under threat on many fronts: from radical humanists, radical Islamic fundamentalists, right-wing and left-wing extremists, internal chaos and global centrifugal forces.
And where does the Church stand in this crucial test? Will she also be torn apart by these opposing trends, or will she, with God’s help, find the strength for inner renewal, maturity and authority that will carry spiritual blessing and biblical orientation into German society and beyond?
The Bible has much to say about the times in which we are living. The “times of restoration” for Israel – which we are witnessing today – are also the biblical times of renewal and restoration of the Church, and simultaneously times of upheaval for the nations or the world – upheaval into which we, the Church, will also be dragged insofar as we have become one with the world.
On the one hand, “times of restoration” for the Church means that we reach out to return to the love, the credibility and the authority of the early Church. The Reformation, the Pietistic revivals, the Pentecostal and charismatic movements of the 20th century, and various renewal movements in the Catholic Church and other traditional denominations, were and continue to be the work of the Spirit in preparation for the “times of restoration”. The rediscovery and appreciation of the “nourishing sap from the olive root” in the salvation history of Israel, as described in Paul’s illustration of the olive tree in Romans 11, is a highly topical element in the “times of restoration” in our own days, parallel to God’s work of restoration in and through Israel and the Jewish people.
At the same time, the work of the Holy Spirit has a very personal dimension. In these “times of restoration”, and in the context of this prophetic working of the Spirit of God in our times, Jesus also wants to restore people’s lives, relationships, callings and ministries within the body of Christ on an entirely personal basis. One aspect of the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in our times is the highly sensitive, compassionate and loving way in which he touches our often embattled lives: “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out” (Matthew 12:20).
I am of the absolute conviction that the decisive key to the forces of renewal and restoration for the Church and for our personal lives, as a blessing for Israel and for our German nation, is to be found in corporate fasting and prayer. Israel has experienced spiritual breakthroughs of this nature, e.g. in the time of Esther. In Old Testament times, even the heathen metropolis of Nineveh experienced this kind of turning point in God’s mercy. Throughout Church history, one nation after another has called for days of prayer and repentance, national days of fasting or similar in times of crisis and at the crossroads of destiny.
 Luke 7:47
 Luke 12:48
Harald Eckert is a writer and Christian leader. He is Chairman of Christians for Israel Germany (Christen an der Seite Israels) and the European Coalition for Israel. Harald Eckert is author of several books, including Gottes Weg mit Israel.
This article is from the forward of his new book The Biblical “Times of Restoration” and the Church in Germany - A call to corporate fasting and prayer, which is due for release later in 2012.