WHY WE SHOULD PRAY FOR AMERICA

1. So that we will continue to have a free society within which the Gospel can be publicly proclaimed and openly professed by all who come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

2. Because righteousness alone exalts a nation and sin will ultimately prove to be a reproach to any people. (Proverbs 14:34)

3. Because revival is now a matter of national survival. As President Ronald Reagan once put it: “If we ever forget that we are a nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”  (Psalm 9:17)

4. Because once the foundations are destroyed there is nothing that the righteous can do; the destruction of our nation will have become an inevitability. (Psalm 11:3)

5. Because only the nation whose God is the Lord will be divinely blessed and favored. (Psalm 33:12)

6. Because people rejoice under the government of the righteous, but always morn when the wicked are in power. (Proverbs 29:2)

A SAMPLE PRAYER FOR AMERICA

O Lord God of heaven, we have sinned against you. We have corrupted ourselves and failed to keep your commandments. Therefore, help us to rend our hearts and not our garments, so that we may turn from our sins against you with broken hearts and return to you with all of our hearts. Spare us and pity us, I pray, so that our country will not become a reproach to you and a byword among the nations.

Restore us now to yourself, O Lord, that we may return to you. Renew our days as of old and once again make your face to shine upon us. In the midst of your wrath against us remember mercy and in the midst of America’s years revive and renew her so that we, the American people, may once again rejoice in you.

Prayer is based on: Nehemiah 1:4-11; Joel 2:12-17; Psalm 80:3, 19; Lamentations 5:21; Habakkuk 3:2; Psalm 85:6. 

DAY 30

“Why are we sitting here until we die?” (2 Kings 7:3 NKJV)

In light of the 9/11 terrorist attack upon our nation, an argument can be made that if we had sent more missionaries and given more money to missions we would not now be sending troops and paying more in taxes. To be honest, however, history is replete with such arguments due to Christian inaction down through the ages. The painful truth is, the day of opportunity has often come and gone while the church just sat there.

In the text cited above, four lepers are sitting at the gate of Samaria, which happens to be surrounded by the Syrians. They are forbidden from entering the city because of their leprosy and they are afraid to venture out and surrender to the enemy. So, they sit there in their complacency waiting for the inevitable, namely, their death.

Notice, it is a question that jolts these four lepers out of their complacency. They ask themselves, “Why are we sitting here until we die?” The only chance they had was to get up and go out to the enemy in surrender. If the enemy killed them, what had they lost; they were going to die anyway? So they got up and did the only thing they could. As a result, they not only saved themselves, but the starving people of Samaria as well.

The complacent church in America today needs to ask itself, “Why are we sitting here until we die?” Our country is imploding and God’s judgment is impending. Yet, the church is just sitting! It’s high time for us to get up and do something, not only for our own survival, but also for the sakes of the spiritually starving in our land.

What can we do? We can pray! Now, prayer is not the only thing that we can do. For instance, like the four lepers in our story, we too can declare to the perishing “the day of good news” (2 Kings 7:9). Still, nothing is more important than prayer. As A. J. Gordon said, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”

Don’t just sit there, pray something!

 

Pray that the American church will be jolted out of its complacency and begin bombarding Heaven with its prayers, as well as preaching throughout this land the “day of good news.”

 

DAY 29

“He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” (Ezekiel 9:1-6)

Too many Christians today misinterpret our faith as a mere means to their happiness. C. S. Lewis was a man who certainly saw through such shallow sentiment. He once said, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”

During His earthly sojourn, our Savior was described by Scripture as “a man of sorrows” who was well “acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). How could He have possibly been otherwise in a fallen world that both “despised and rejected” Him? According to the Apostle Paul, to truly know Christ you and I must join with Him in “the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10).

The “skip to My Lou” saint cannot possibly know true intimacy with Christ. Any Christian today who is turning cartwheels in America’s current Christ-forsaking, politically correct culture is clueless to the dire and desperate spiritual straits of our nation. If they had any idea of our country’s present precarious condition, they would stop skipping and cartwheeling and start sighing and crying over all the abominations being done in our midst.

In Ezekiel 9:4, God marks the foreheads of all who share His grief over the sorry spiritual condition of the land. Those marked are cohorts of God in that they share the concerns of His heart. Are you willing to carry such a mark? Are you willing to bear such a burden. Are you willing to “stand in the gap before [God] for the land” (Ezekiel 22:30)? Or are you going to skip and turn cartwheels until the judgment of God falls on America?

Pray that many will step forward to share the concerns of God’s heart and to stand in the gap as intercessors for our country. 

 

DAY 28

“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:1-6)

John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ. He was called by God to prepare the way for Christ to come. He did so by “preaching the baptism of repentance.” It was the people’s repentance that made (1) the crooked “paths straight” (2) “filled” the “valleys” (3) “brought” down “every mountain” (4) made “the rough ways…smooth,” and (5) prepared the way for Jesus to come.

According to Stephen Olford, “Revival is that strange and sovereign work of God in which He visits His own people—restoring, reanimating, and releasing them into the fullness of His blessing.” Indeed, revival has been simply defined as a “divine visitation.” But what is it that prepares the way for Christ to visit us in revival. It is repentance!

Contrary to popular opinion, repentance is not something that we can work up within ourselves. Instead, it is something that God must give us (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25-26). As Charles Spurgeon once said, “Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature’s garden.”

What we need in the church today only God can grant us. We need a “godly sorrow” over our sins that leads to a repentance “not to be repented of” (2 Corinthians 7:10). We need, as Oswald Chambers put it, “the panging pains of repentance,” those “agonies” of heart that “the Holy Spirit [alone] produces.” Until the church is this heartbroken over our sin, we need not expect revival to breakout in our country.

 Pray that God will break our hearts over our sins with a godly sorrow that will lead us to a repentance not to be repented of.

 

 

DAY 27

“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him—A grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God?  Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”  (Joel 2:14-17 NKJV)

Here, in Joel 2:14-17, we have God’s call for repentance. According to the Prophet Joel, if we will repent and return to God, God might relent from His impending judgment and mercifully spare our nation. Instead of annihilation there might be salvation. Of course, all of this is contingent upon our repentance.

This explains the prophet’s call for a solemn or sacred assembly. Sacred assemblies are called for when God’s people realize their need to come together and collectively fall upon their knees in hopes of persuading God to relent from His impending judgment upon their land.

Notice, the PARTICIPANTS in a solemn assembly are the people of God. The PLACE for a solemn assembly is the house of God. And the PURPOSE of a solemn assembly is for you to truly repent and not just go through the motions, as the prophet makes abundantly clear—“So rend your heart, and not your garments.”

As we’ve pointed out repeatedly this month, revival in America must begin with personal repentance in individual hearts. Solemn assemblies are really not about: (1) what’s wrong with our country (2) what’s wrong in Washington D.C. (3) what’s wrong in Tallahassee (4) what’s wrong in our church, or (5) what’s wrong with other people. Instead, a solemn assembly is really about what’s wrong with me. Until we get right that which is wrong in our own hearts nothing will change in America!

Pray the prayer of the Psalmist: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

 

DAY 26

“The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. Hear this, you elders,  And give ear, all you inhabitants of the land! Has anything like this happened in your days, Or even in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it, Let your children tell their children, And their children another generation. What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten. Awake, you drunkards, and weep; And wail, all you drinkers of wine, Because of the new wine, For it has been cut off from your mouth. For a nation has come up against My land, Strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, And he has the fangs of a fierce lion. He has laid waste My vine, And ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white. Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth For the husband of her youth. The grain offering and the drink offering Have been cut off from the house of the LORD; The priests mourn, who minister to the LORD. The field is wasted, The land mourns; For the grain is ruined, The new wine is dried up, The oil fails. Be ashamed, you farmers, Wail, you vinedressers, For the wheat and the barley; Because the harvest of the field has perished. The vine has dried up, And the fig tree has withered; The pomegranate tree, The palm tree also, And the apple tree—All the trees of the field are withered; Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men. Gird yourselves and lament, you priests; Wail, you who minister before the altar;  Come, lie all night in sackcloth, You who minister to my God; For the grain offering and the drink offering Are withheld from the house of your God. Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land Into the house of the LORD your God, And cry out to the LORD. Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand; It shall come as destruction from the Almighty.” (Joel 1:1-15 NKJV)

Today and tomorrow we’ll look at the need and purpose of a solemn or sacred assembly. We’ll begin by showing why a solemn assembly is now needed in America.

In Joel 1:1-15, we are given the PREREQUISITES of a solemn assembly, all of which add up to the dire and desperate spiritual straits of a nation facing the impending judgment of God. Unfortunately for us, all of these prerequisites are present-day realities in today’s America, proving to the spiritually astute that divine retribution now hangs over this nation like the sword of Damocles.

The first prerequisite proving the need for a solemn assemble is fruitlessness—“the harvest of the field has perished.” Though the plight of the American farmer is well know in our day, the fruitlessness which speaks more to the dire and desperate spiritual condition of our country is that of the church, which the Scripture identifies as “God’s field” (1 Corinthians 3:9 NIV).

The second prerequisite proving the need of a solemn assembly is defeat—“For a nation has come up against My land, Strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, And he has the fangs of a fierce lion.” Today, the church in America is losing the spiritual battle for the immortal souls of men, being primarily populated by carnal Christians who are overcome and oppressed by their “adversary the devil [who] walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV).

The third prerequisite proving the need for a solemn assembly is the fact that there are no sacrifices or offerings at the house of God—“Wail, you who minister before the altar; Come, lie all night in sackcloth, You who minister to my God; For the grain offering and the drink offering are withheld from the house of your God.” In America’s contemporary churches there is a lack of “living sacrifices”; that is, of those committing themselves to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2). There is also a lack of spiritual sacrifices, those of true worship and praise (Hebrews 13:15). And who can deny the lack of “incense”—intercessory prayer—being offered up to God from the altars of contemporary churches (Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4).

Finally, the absence of joy—“Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men”—is a prerequisite proving the need for a solemn assembly. If you compare the amount of joy and gladness to the amount of gripping and grumbling in today’s church you’ll have a good idea of just how imminent the judgment of God is upon our nation.

Pray that the church in America will wake up to the signs of God’s impending judgment upon our land and begin crying out to God both day and night.

 

DAY 25

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Romans 13:11)

Praying for our political leaders so that our society will remain open to the public proclamation of the gospel may seem unnecessary to some Christians in America today. They take it for granted that our Constitution guarantees us the right to publicly practice and proclaim our faith. Why then should we bother praying to our Heavenly Father for something already guaranteed us by our Founding Fathers?

Well, just in case you haven’t noticed, strange things are currently abreast in America—things which our Founding Fathers would have never believed. Our Constitution is being reinterpreted by today’s courts and politicians to say things that our Founding Fathers never imagined, much less intended. For instance, the First Amendment, which prohibits our government from interfering with the free exercise of religion, has now been reinterpreted to mean that religious people cannot be involved in government, unless they promise beforehand to disavow their religious beliefs and convictions during the duration of their government service. 

Even more bizarre than the above is the fact that our government, which was founded on an acknowledgement of God, is now being prohibited by its own courts from acknowledging God. Despite the fact that our whole system of government is predicated upon the principle that we were all created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, any acknowledgement of such by our government today is deemed by its courts unconstitutional. Furthermore, any semblance of the Christian faith on government property, such as prayer in our public schools, a copy of the Ten Commandments on a courthouse wall, or a Nativity scene in the town square, is also forbidden by the Constitution’s current black-robed re-interpreters.  

 When you add to all of this, the ever-increasing denunciations of Christians as bigots for opposing things like same-sex marriage, along with our current president’s stated belief that the only religion acceptable in a democracy is one that is offensive to no faith and compatible with all faiths, you’ll be forced to conclude that it is no longer far-fetched to foresee a day in America when the public proclamation of the gospel will be outlawed. Although such a thing was once unimaginable in these United States, it is now certainly plausible and possibly looming.

In the past, we may have considered praying for those in authority to be of minor importance, since we took for granted our right to publicly practice and proclaim our Christian faith. Unfortunately, we are now learning the fallacy of our past naiveté. Far from being of minor importance, our prayers for America to remain free and open to the public proclamation of the gospel are currently some of the most crucial prayers we can pray. Failing to pray for the leaders of our nation may soon translate into us losing our freedom to preach to the lost of our land.

Pray that the church in America will “awake out of [its] sleep” to its present precarious position, which will result in our praying and preaching with unprecedented urgency.

 

DAY 24

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

 In Luke 20:25, Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things which are God’s.” As Christians, we hold a dual citizenship. First and foremost, we are citizens of Heaven. Second, we are citizens of the state. As a result of our dual citizenship, we have responsibilities to both God and Caesar, so it is important that we render to both their dues.

One of the things owed to Caesar is our prayers. In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, the Apostle Paul writes: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

In exhorting us to pray “for all men” Paul singles out “kings and all that are in authority.” Why? Is God more concerned with the powerful than the populace? No, unlike the world, God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). In His eyes, there is no difference between potentates and peasants.

The reason we are exhorted to pray especially for political leaders is because they hold such sway over the quality of life in our society. It is not because they have some special favor with God. Rather, it is because they have such influence over our way of life.

Proverbs 21:1 teaches us: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as rivers of water: he turneth it withersoever he will.” If we clasp our hands in prayer for political leaders, God, who holds their hearts in His hand, can sway them to keep our society “quiet and peaceable.” In such a society, Christians can practice their faith, publicly worship their Lord, and propagate their land with the gospel. According to Paul, “this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

Notice, the reason “God our Saviour” wants a “quiet and peaceable” society is so that men will “be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Where is it easier for sinners to be saved and learn of Christ—in a Muslim land where Christians are arrested for witnessing to others, in a Communist land where the church is prohibited from preaching the gospel, or in a free society where the church is permitted to practice and proclaim its faith? Obviously, the easiest place for sinners to be saved is in a free society. This is why God wants us praying especially for our political leaders.

God is not so much concerned with politics as He is with the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God does cares for our political leaders. He cares just as much, however, for their constituency. God wants all men from the White House to your house to have an opportunity to hear the gospel and be saved. Thus, He instructs us to pray “for all men” but especially “for kings and all of those in authority” so that we will have a “quiet and peaceable” society in which everyone will have an opportunity to hear the gospel and “come to the knowledge of the truth.”

For too long now this biblical admonition to pray for our political leaders has been misinterpreted to mean that Christians are divinely duty bound to pray God’s blessings down on every politician elected to political office. Nowhere, however, does the Bible admonish us to offer up blanket-prayers of unconditional divine blessings upon politicians who promote the most ungodly policies, as well as propose and pass the most ungodly legislation.

When it comes to praying for some present-day politicians, about the only prayer I know to pray for them, apart from any the Spirit specifically burdens me to pray, is a prayer for their personal salvation. Otherwise, I limit myself to praying as the Bible teaches me to pray, that the invisible hand of God will continue to sway our political leaders to act justly and enact godly legislation so that our society will remain free and open to the public proclamation of the gospel.

Pray that those in authority will be used by God to keep our society free and open to the public proclamation of the Gospel so that all Americans will have an opportunity “to come unto the knowledge of the truth” and “be saved.”

 

DAY 23

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

J. Vernon McGee, the famous radio Bible teacher, was once asked why he did not run for political office. He answered, “God did not call me to clean up the pond, but to fish in it.” I’m afraid a lot of Christians today, unlike the late Dr. McGee, are more committed to politics than they are to preaching.

Today’s Christians need to learn that our country will never be changed through the political process. Our nation will never change until men change. Although politics may change public policy, it is powerless to change people. It is only the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has the power to transform men. This means that the church alone, as the sole steward of the gospel, has the power to change America.

This awesome power, solely possessed by the church, is only wielded by us when we are preaching the gospel. When we exchange preaching for political activism the church becomes powerless to effect change in America. Is there any wonder then that the devil is working so diligently today to deceive the church into cleaning up the pond as an alternative to fishing in it?

Now, this is not to say that the church’s voice should not be heard in the political arena or that Christians should be politically inactive. We are, after all, “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13-16). By standing for the right and against the wrong, the church serves as the conscience of the country and the preserver of society. If the church fails to fulfill this God-given role the country will become morally rudderless and our society will soon reek with the stench of moral decay.

While I’m not saying that Christians should be politically inactive, I am saying that our political activism should never be seen as our primary responsibility. Instead, it should always be considered a secondary concern. Our primary responsibility is, as it has ever been and will ever be, the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. Unfortunately, far too many Christians today are majoring on the minor (politics) and minoring on the major (preaching). Consequently, the contemporary church is becoming more and more irrelevant and today’s America more and more unchristian.

Pray that the church will stop minoring on preaching and majoring on politics and start minoring on politics and majoring on preaching.

DAY 22

“And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.” (Isaiah 64:7)

 

THE CONFLICT

 

The prince of darkness and legion

go forth in this world to win

the invaluable prize of the conflict

the immortal souls of men.

 

Heaven aligns its forces.

The battle lines are drawn.

Eternities hang in the balance.

In fury, the war rages on.

 

Humanities blind to the conflict,

though they the victor’s spoil;

insensitive to the battle,

due to lives of earthly toil.

 

Where are God’s gallant warriors,

who wax valiant in the fight,

who turn back the torrents of darkness

clad in the armor of light?

 

O Lord chasten your children,

in haste wield the rod,

force to their knees your people

that they might rise and take hold of God.

 

Then God’s mighty princes

who are destined to prevail

will scale the citadels of evil

and snatch men from the clutches of hell.

Pray that God will stir us up to take hold of Him for our land.