A Call to Anguish by David Wilkerson- Shades of Grace | Natalie Nichols

A Call to Anguish by David Wilkerson

A Call to Anguish by David Wilkerson

A Call to Anguish by David Wilkerson will change your life!  I highly recommend that you listen to this powerful message.  You will never be the same!!

God led me to A Call to Anguish this past summer and nothing in my life has been the same since. Nothing. Through it, the Holy Spirit set me on a path of spiritual growth and hunger that continues to increase exponentially day by day. I no longer view my own walk with Christ the same. I see with a whole new set of eyes the state of the Church and the “mechanisms” of ministry in America, and what my responsibility is as a result. Most importantly, this message revolutionized my approach to prayer.

Oh how I pray that every follower of Christ in our nation will hear this message … and respond. May it begin with you and me.

(Below the message media is a passage of scripture about anguish and prayer bullets for today’s Concert of Prayer.)

A Call to Anguish by David Wilkerson

Entire Message Audio:

Used by permission of Times Square Church

Entire Message Video:


Seven Minute Video Synopsis:

After hearing “A Call to Anguish” and having it rock my world, I couldn’t wait to share it with friends and family. I had listened to it dozens of times and still couldn’t hear it enough or fully grasp the depth and accuracy of its Biblical truths.

When I emailed the sermon links to friends and family, the response of one Christian friend grieved me deeply. She replied, “Whoa…not sure ANGUISH is the emotion God wants to stir within us. I have no judgment for those who are moved by it…but…wow.”

Oh how dangerously unaware she is of Biblical truth, for the call to anguish echoes throughout the whole of Scripture. Time and again we see God move His people to anguish, and beckon us to the same.

“There is no power like that of prevailing prayer, of Abraham pleading for Sodom, Jacob wrestling in the stillness of the night, Moses standing in the breach, Hannah intoxicated with sorrow, David heartbroken with remorse and grief, Jesus in sweat of blood. Add to this list from the records of the church your personal observation and experience, and always there is the cost of passion unto blood. Such prayer prevails. It turns ordinary mortals into men of power. It brings power. It brings fire. It brings rain. It brings life. It brings God.”

— Samuel Chadwick

Last Friday night the Lord woke me up in the middle of the night with a verse I had never thought of in the context of the call to anguish:

“For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them” (Proverbs 1:32, emphasis added).

Woe to Us

Amos 6 says,

1Woe to you who are
complacent in Zion,
and to you who feel secure on
Mount Samaria,
You notable men of the foremost nation…
4You put off the evil day
and bring near a reign of terror.
5You lie on beds inlaid with ivory
and lounge on your couches.
You dine on choice lambs
and fattened calves.
5You strum away on your harps like David
and improvise on musical instruments.
6You drink wine by the bowlful
and use the finest lotions,
but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
7Therefore you will be among the
first to go into exile;
your feasting and lounging will end.”
Amos 6:1-7, NIV


Amos six has been reverberating through my spirit for months. The Holy Spirit has kept it continually on my mind and in my prayers. I’ve been convicted a bit deeper every day by the application the Holy Spirit has made to my own heart and life:

1Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, 

“Woe” is an exclamation of grief, distress, lament. God is in deep grief over our spiritual ruin—my spiritual ruin. Woe to us who are complacent in the Church. Who dwell at ease and feel secure. Who confidently lean on the security of the land (America, the “foremost nation” of the world), supposing that notwithstanding our iniquities, we should be saved because we are America and after all, God blesses America.

1and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation…

The King James Version says:

“Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!” (Emphasis added)

We, too, trust in the mountain of Samaria. We trust in the security of our job, the strength of our family, and the pleasures we enjoy—the seemingly unshakable attributes of the here and now.

To be “at ease” means we have no true sight of sin, no concern about God’s impending judgments, and no deep concern for our own souls or the souls of others. The latter is key, for to fain real anguish—to manufacture what should be God-given grief—in order to attempt to preserve a nation is disingenuous. When if we seek what matters—seeing ourselves and others as God sees us, ceasing to play games with God—we become salt and light, and the nation is changed.

The “ease” of God’s people manifested itself in the lives of the Israelites — and manifests itself in our lives today through:

  • presumption — because we trust in the might of “mountain of Samaria”
  • procrastination — because we put far off the day of doom
  • cruelty to men — because we cause the day of terror to come near
  • love of self — through all of our self-indulgence—our prioritization of comfort, pleasure and entertainment
  • lust for prosperity — through our preoccupation with and worship of riches and materialism. The god of Baal was considered the god of provision, the god who gave rain for crops. Baal worship has entered the House of God in America. The Church is given over to worship of Baal—the god of prosperity and provision.
  • carelessness — through our drunken stupor. We are drunk on perversion, entertainment, sensuality, sex, pornography, obscenity, lewdness, comfort and compromise.
  • self-indulgence — because we live not for Christ but for ourselves

4You put off the evil day and bring near a reign of terror.

You never imagine that our actions as a Church and as a nation are accruing consequences and judgments. You put far off the approaching judgment. You, at best, believe God will simply one day rain down revival and renewal upon the land without any repentance — and at worst see no need for awakening at all, believing God to be something other than the “righteous judge” Scripture declares Him to be (Psalm 7:11; 9:8; 96:13). In so doing, we continue in our iniquity, harden our hearts, and bring the day of personal and national “reaping”—judgment and consequence—nearer.

5You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves.

You are numbed by vast material wealth. The “beds” mentioned here are either sofas or beds. They were ornamented with inlaid ivory. There was a great deal of luxury and abundant riches among the Israelites at this time. This was in the time of Jeroboam the second, when the kingdom had enjoyed a long peace.

All of us, though we may feel we are struggling financially, still enjoy vast material wealth if we live in America. From having access to automobiles, technology, electricity, running water, fast food and grocery stores to our possession of televisions, computers, comfortable beds and Lazyboy recliners, we live a life of privilege in America. Though we might live on a small budget, we still enjoy—and are numbed by—great wealth.

5You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments.

You strum away on your musical instruments, singing and worshiping in church. You have a form a form of godliness but deny its power. (2 Timothy 3:5)

As David invented many instruments for God’s glory, we daily invent instruments to serve our affections and lusts.

6You drink wine by the bowlful

You lust after the intoxications of the world. You are not content to sip it in small quantities by the glass but must inhale it from the basin (the container in which the wine was mixed).

6and use the finest lotions,

You are consumed with desire for the finest of things—for wanton luxury, not necessity. As with the lotion, for personal pleasure not health or cleanliness. You are consumed with youth and beauty, affluence and happiness.

“Woe to those who live only for today,
indifferent to the fate of others!
Woe to the playboys, the playgirls,
who think life is a party held just for them!
Woe to those addicted to feeling good—life without pain!
those obsessed with looking good—life without wrinkles!
They could not care less
about their country going to ruin.”
Amos 6:4-6
The Message

6but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.

You are not in anguish, “sick at heart” the Amplified Bible says, over the spiritual ruin in your own life, the life of the Church and the nation.

7Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end.”

As He did with Judah, God extends a call of mercy:

“Return, O faithless sons, I will heal your faithlessness… Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 3:22; 33:3).

Judah did not return, and they suffered the consequences. May we return to God on His terms — terms of confessing and repenting of our iniquity.

We believers in America have committed the same two sins as the people of Judah:

“My people have committed two sins; They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

Notice God said, “My people.” Not the heathen, the lost, those without any knowledge of me or rebirth — but My people. Beloved, this is you and me.  We must return, so that God can heal our faithlessness.

Personally, God is calling me to a continual heart of repentance—for myself, for ministry leaders, for pastors, for the Church and the nation. I believe He is calling those of us who sense His heart to repent on behalf of others and ask for a Spirit of repentance to be poured out upon our nation (Zechariah 12:10).

This past week God led me to Ezra 9 and 10 and asked me to believe Him for a similar result from our Concert of Prayer.

Ezra and Israel’s Intermarriage

God provided miraculously in order to send a second group of exiles to Israel. He protected them through months of travel and dangerous circumstances. The exiles who returned offered burnt offerings to the LORD. Yet amid these wonderful happenings, Ezra learns terrible news. The men of Israel have married foreign wives, in violation of the law given to Moses. Ezra is distressed at the news because he knows the loving reason behind the rule and knows the consequences of disobedience. Marriage to foreign wives was prohibited because of the danger that the women would influence their husbands and children to worship their strange gods and idols. History had proven the wisdom of this rule. Disastrous results came when the rule was violated.

When Ezra learned of the intermarriage of the exiles, he tore his tunic and cloak, pulled hair from his head and beard and sat down appalled. Everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around him because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. Ezra sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice. (Ezra 9:3-5)

At the evening sacrifice, Ezra rose from his self-abasement, with his tunic and cloak torn, and fell on his knees with his hands spread out to the LORD his God and prayed a prayer of repentance.

6O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to life up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens…

10 now, O our God, what can we say after this? For we have disregarded the commands 11you gave through your servants the prophets when you said: ‘the land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other. 12Therefore, do not give your daughter in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons.  Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them at any time, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance…

14Shall we again break your commands and intermarry with the peoples who commit such detestable practices?  Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor?  15O LORD, God of Israel, you are righteous!  We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.”

Scripture says that while Ezra (just one man who was given God’s anguish over the nation’s sin)

was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him.  They too wept bitterly2Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, said to Ezra, ‘We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel.  3Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children…’” (Ezra 10:1-3, emphasis added).

I believe God is giving a group of believers in America a view of our individual and corporate sin.  As we grieve, intercede, confess and repent, through us the Holy Spirit will give others a true heart of repentance—sorrow followed by action, by a literal turning from the sin.

Ezra was just one man—just one. But as he was grieving and repenting a large crowd of men, women and children joined him. They too wept bitterly. They felt God’s sorrow, and saw their sin. But it didn’t stop there—they purified themselves of their marriage to the world! They separated themselves from the world!!  It didn’t end with just meaningless words and rhetoric. There was action! Change! Not born of men, but of God!

Take heart!  You may feel like we are just a small group of believers praying in Concert, but we are more than just one, and look what God did through just one man Ezra. Do not grow weary in well-doing.

Even though God was moving, Ezra remained in anguish and repentance until the matter was settled. After he rose up and put the men under oath to do what had been suggested, he “withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan….. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles” (Ezra 10:5-6).

I will be honest. It is taking time for the weight of my sin—my marriage to the world—and the weight of the Church’s sin—the Church’s marriage to the world—to set in.  Therefore, my grief, my anguish, my repentance continues and grows. I do not believe that we can hear this message of David Wilkerson’s and be instantly stirred, moved to an instantaneous complete repentance, and instantly freed of the burden. This is a true “calling” in every sense of the word. It is something that, if it is truly of God, will abide.

Prayer Bullets:

As we meet before the Throne of Grace to pray in concert today at 6:30, may we:


  • Repent and ask God’s forgiveness for our personal and corporate:
  • complacency and ease
  • marriage to the world
  • love of self and worship of the god of prosperity
  • drunkenness with the intoxications of the world
  • lust for entertainment, and in so doing, our worship of demons
  • of  perversion, sensuality, pornography, obscenity, lewdness, vanity and compromise
  • worship of foreign gods of entertainment, pleasure, materialism, revelry, personal gain
  • pride
  • Repent on behalf of churches, pastors and ministry leaders:
  • Pride
  • Selfish ambition
  • Inventions and strategies of man
  • Leading, preaching and praying in the strength of the flesh, not the unction of the Holy Spirit
  • Putting on an appealing, polished, professional “show” (on Sunday mornings, in conferences, radio and television programs), with a form of godliness, but void of the true power of the Holy Spirit


  • Ask to personally feel more of God’s heart. Ask to be roused from our complacency and bed of careless ease.
  • Ask God to pour out the Holy Spirit (Zech 12:10) upon the Church, giving them a spirit of repentance—rousing them from their complacency and bed of ease.
  • Ask God to show the Church the ways in which we are married to the world—to break us with the vision of it, and enable us to put away such wives and the idolatries we have adopted.
  • Ask God to lay down the plumbline of His Word in our individual and corporate lives. May the Holy Spirit lay hold of our pastors’ hearts and pulpits. Instead of preaching feel good messages—what itching ears want to hear—may they preach what God’s Word declares about our grievous, sinful state.  It is not coincidence that Ezra brought back the teaching of the law, the Word of God, and repentance was the result. Ezra also set up courts of justice to enforce the law. We as believers no longer view God as the judge, the One who enforces His righteous precepts and holy standards. Such preaching and fear of God has vacated the land.  Oh God, may we see you as the righteous judge!

Thank God:

  • Thank God for His mercy—His kindness that leads to repentance.

“What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins have deserved and have given us a remnant like this. (Ezra 9:13).

  • Thank God in advance for hearing us and gathering around us a large crowd of believers—men, women and children, who will also weep bitterly and call for change.






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6 Responses to “A Call to Anguish by David Wilkerson”

  1. Kim Kurtz says:

    As this was posted in ’09, I am amazed that I am the first to post a comment! At the same time, I am not surprised. This is not a topic that people like to talk about. Thank you so much Natalie, for this post and the link to the ‘A Call To Anguish’ sermon. Thank you for speaking out on this topic because I am a woman tormented with anguish. The more that I walk with the Lord and the closer to Him I become, the more anguish I experience. Anguish over my church, my marriage, my kids, my neighborhood, and this country in general.

    A couple of mornings ago, I was on my knees crying out to God saying, ‘I don’t understand what you are doing’. I was filled with sorrow and anguish. My soul ached within me and I was and am heart broken. What do you want me to do about church, Lord? Should I be over this by now? Please tell me. Am I causing my own pain and distress? Is it me, Lord?

    I feel like I am having a crisis of faith. Not in the sense that I am doubting God. I don’t. I believe-No, I know that He is who He says He is. I know His promises are true and His Word is life and breath to me. No, my crisis isn’t about God, it’s about me.

    I experience deep sorrow and unceasing anguish. In a society where pain of any kind is unacceptable, I feel outcast and alone. If I tell anyone about my anguish (I am talking about my Christian friends) most of them will try to talk me out of it, or tell me how I am being too negative. Some might start avoiding me completely. Nobody likes a ‘Debby-downer’.

    I anguish alone fighting the voices that tell me that I am psycho and that I need to get over it. Satan attacks me day and night sometimes and I stand on the Word of God and fight. Satan wants to discourage me and make me believe that these feelings of anguish are not normal therefore, something must be wrong with me. But God has always put truth in me and something inside of me knows that isn’t right.

    So, I decided to do some research on anguish in the bible. Who experienced anguish in the bible and what did God have to say about it? That is when I found your post and it gave me hope. It made me think that maybe I’m not crazy. Maybe I am not being disobedient to God when I experience anguish. Maybe I am being more obedient to God than those who don’t anguish.

    Anguish is such an untouchable topic. Thank you for bringing awareness to this issue. I know that I am going to continue to be the ‘weird one’ in my church, but this definitely gives me encouragement that I might actually be on the right path.

    God Bless!
    My recent post Living Differently at Christmas

    • Ana says:

      I can relate so much to this..I used to think (and still do sometimes) that maybe I'm a psycho with all the problems and anguish I have. I'm so glad I'm not alone. God bless you!

  2. BRO. PSALM says:

    Thank you brother. I’m seriously aroused in my spirit to anguish for my Life, Family, Church, and my country Nigeria.
    *May God help us!

    (..and more grace to Dave Wilkerson ..the beloved)

  3. Molly says:

    I have anguish in my spirit that I was wondering where it is coming from yet from a world point of view I seem to be okay.

    However, I noticed I am the one seated on the throne of my life (self) , self sufficient, self promotion, self absorbed , self trust etc. I want to be used of God but how can it happen when I am the one in the driver's seat?
    I found this because of the anguish I have in my heart

    God give me more anguish for you.

  4. Joanna Calderon says:

    God is moving me on this path as well. I have been reading passages from the Bible about the city of God (Zion) like Psalm 50, in which Zion, the Church, is called the perfection of beauty from which God shines forth! But then talks about the incredible sin of the saints who are going through their religious practices without truly worshipping or depending on God. This, along with Jesus’ instruction about the kernel of wheat needing to go into the ground and die in order to be fruitful, has been making me cry over my own complacency and the complacency all around me. I have been praying Ephesians 5:14 “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light!” How we need this in America!

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