HOW TO PRAY FOR OUR NATION
I want everyone to pray for our nation, so I thought about a sermon that would help people be more effective prayer intercessors for our nation. As I studied my Bible, I found two sources that instructed us how to pray for our nation. First, the commands to pray for our nation. Second, the illustration of people praying for the nation like Daniel who prayed for the nation Israel.
1. The commands to pray for our nation:
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3, NLB).
PRAY BECAUSE GOD
“Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God. So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. For the authorities do not frighten people who are doing right, but they frighten those who do wrong. So do what they say, and you will get along well. The authorities are sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for you will be punished. The authorities are established by God for that very purpose, to punish those who do wrong. So you must obey the government for two reasons: to keep from being punished and to keep a clear conscience” (Romans 13:1-5, NLB).
BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATION OF DANIEL
PRAYING FOR HIS NATION
“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: ‘O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and keep your commands. But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations. We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, who spoke your messages to our kings and princes and ancestors and to all the people of the land’” (Daniel 9:3-6, NLB).
“O LORD, we and our kings, princes, and ancestors are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. We have not obeyed the LORD our God, for we have not followed the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets” (Daniel 9:8-10, NLB).
“In view of all your faithful mercies, Lord, please turn your furious anger away from your city of Jerusalem, your holy mountain. All the neighboring nations mock Jerusalem and your people because of our sins and the sins of our ancestors” (Daniel 9:16, NLB).
“O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, O my God, do not delay, for your people and your city bear your name" (Daniel 9:19, NLB).
SEVEN STEPS TO PRAY FOR THE NATION
Not seven different prayer topics.
Not seven different ways to pray, i.e., silent prayer, group prayer, hymn prayer or worship prayer.
But seven steps to pray biblically for our nation.
1. LET THE WORD OF GOD MOTIVATE YOU TO PRAY.
a. Daniel was reading the Book of Jeremiah that told him the seventy years of Babylonian captivity were over. “The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolation of Jerusalem” (Daniel (9:2).
b. Prediction. Just as the Bible predicted that the time of the Babylonian captivity was over, today the Bible predicts that the coming of the LORD is near. The more you read about prophecy, the more you ought to pray about the impact of perilous times on the Church; you ought to pray for unsaved people to get saved, and you ought to pray the last prayer in Scripture, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).
c. When you pray according to Scriptures, you know God will answer your prayer. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).
2. SET YOUR FACE IN DETERMINATION TO SEEK THE LORD.
a. “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). How are we to seek the Lord?
“You will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).
“I sought the LORD, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears”(Psalm 34:4).
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
When is the last time you used the word “please” and begged God for something? Think of the little boy who says, “Please, don’t spank me.” Think of the little girl who asked for candy saying, “Please?” When you really want something, you say “please?”
When was the last time you shed tears when you prayed? Tears don’t move God if they are “crocodile tears.” That means false tears. But if the tears are real because they come from a broken heart, God will hear and answer.
PRAY AND SEEK GOD
3. SACRIFICE ANYTHING THAT GETS IN THE WAY OF PRAYER.
a. Americans know very little about sacrifice. But sacrifice is God’s requirement. Remember Jesus said, “If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). How do you deny yourself? You deny sleep, you deny your luxuries, you deny your free time or your sports time. When you give up something to pray, God will hear because He knows you are sincere.
b. Daniel fasted when he prayed, “I will set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and . . . fasting” (Daniel 9:3). The ultimate sacrifice is to give up food. However, God still will not answer just because you quit eating.
Fasting is not about food,
it’s about putting God first in your life.
Thomas Road Baptist Church has fasted for money, fasted for buildings, fasted for the healing of Charles Hughes, fasted for the healing of Vernon Brewer, and fasted for the healing of Dr. Phil Captain. Now, we must fast for national safety and protection against the terrorists.
a. When Samuel and the army faced the Philistines, Israel fasted (1 Samuel 7:6).
b. When Israel faced a holocaust at the hand of Haman, prime minister of Persia, Esther and the nation fasted for three days (Esther 4:16).
c. When King Saul was killed in battle, and the nation expected an invasion from the Philistines, Israel fasted for seven days (1 Samuel 31:13).
d. When Ezra and 4,400 Jews returning from Babylon across the desert were afraid of being attacked by Bedouin tribes, they fasted for 3 days (Ezra 8:23).
e. When Nehemiah heard about the destruction of Jerusalem and its walls, he fasted (Nehemiah 1:4).
f. Savonarola led the city of Florence, Italy, to fast when faced with the invasion from the King of France.
g. All England fasted when they faced the coming invasion by the Spanish Armada. God answered and sent a storm to destroy the Spanish fleet, and England became the dominant force in the world. We speak English today and not Spanish because the English Church fasted for God to intervene.
h. The Continental Congress called for a day of national fasting and prayer when George Washington was facing the British in the Revolutionary War.
i. Abraham Lincoln called for a national day of prayer and fasting during the Civil War.
4. BEGIN PRAYER BY RECOGNIZING GOD’S GREAT ABILITY TO INTERVENE IN NATIONAL CRISES.
a. Daniel prayed, “O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments” (Daniel 9:4). To get an answer to prayer, Daniel recognized that God could do what he requested.
b. If you don’t believe that God can save America from terrorists or biochemical warfare, you don’t honor Him when you ask for His divine intervention. Since God knows all things, He knows if you really believe He can deliver you. So don’t blame God for not delivering you, if you don’t believe He can do it.
THE GREATNESS OF GOD’S POWER
a. God knows your predicament.
b. God cares about you.
c. God can deliver you because He has the power.
d. God will deliver you when you pray biblically.
5. CONFESS YOUR PERSONAL SINS AND THE SINS OF YOUR NATION.
a. There is no sin in the Bible recorded that Daniel committed. However, listen to Daniel identify with the sins of his nation, “We have sinned and committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgements” (Daniel 9:5). Daniel didn’t say “They sinned,” he said, “We have sinned.”
Notice the five things that Daniel confessed: sins which are transgressions; iniquity which is giving into lust; wickedness which is filthiness or pornography; rebellion which is telling God “No”; and departing from God’s precepts which means going astray. Daniel identified with every kind of sin that Israel had committed and confessed it.
b. We must confess for the unsaved. Remember our unsaved friends won’t confess the sins of America because they don’t realize our nation has sinned, and they can’t confess because they are not on “talking terms” with God. Because the unsaved will not confess America’s sins, God’s people must do it.
c. We must confess for the Church. Before we point a finger at the world and tell them to confess drunkenness, drugs, cursing, and vile sexual pleasures; we need to look inward. The Church is guilty of complacency, pride, compromise, negligence in witnessing and tithing, and we constantly flirt with the world, the flesh and the Devil. We must confess the Church’s sins before we confess the world’s sins.
At the end of today’s message, I am going to ask that we have an old-fashioned church prayer meeting; perhaps the largest in history; and when we begin praying, I want you first to confess your sins personally; second, I want you to confess the sins of the Church; and third, I will lead you to confess the sins of the nation.
d. Daniel confessed the sins of the nation. In the same way, we Christians must confess the sins of our nation. We cannot be smug and arrogant, pointing our fingers at others; we must be broken and humble before God. America slipped into grievous sins on our watch. When we were responsible for our society, America slipped into terrible sin. That should embarrass the Church and convict the Church. Since America slipped into sin on our watch, we must confess the nation’s sin.
e. It is called identificational repentance. When you confess the sins of others, you identify with the sins of America and confess, “We have sinned” (Daniel (9:4). Notice how many times Daniel repeats “We have sinned” (9:8). Again he repeats, “We have sinned” (9:15). Until we become obsessed with getting forgiveness of sins, God will not hear us.
6. ASK GOD TO TURN AWAY PUNISHMENT AND PROTECT US FROM TERRORISM.
a. Daniel knew that the nation deserved punishment. Yet Daniel had the boldness to ask, “O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:16). Daniel prayed constantly for God to turn away the punishment of Israel. This was his constant prayer. In a later chapter he says, “I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth . . . till three whole weeks were fulfilled” (Daniel 10:2-3).
b. One prayer meeting is not enough. I would like to give you the assurance that one prayer meeting could turn around the threat to our nation. But I don’t have that confidence. Just as it took a long time for the nation to stray away from God, I believe it is going to take a lot of prayer and fasting to bring the nation back to God’s perfect blessing again. What will it take?
(1) Millions of people praying. When Pastor John
Arnold from Library Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, PA, spoke to our church in prayer meeting last summer, he taught us, “There is value in the volume of prayer.” He had us repeat that statement many times. I believe that’s true, God will honor our prayers when many people pray. Why? Not because we have to yell loud to get God’s attention; rather when we get many people praying, we demonstrate that our nation is sorry for its sin and is truly repentant.
(2) Sacrificial prayer. I believe that it’s going to take more than just words to get God to protect and bless America. What are you willing to give up to again get God’s protection?
(3) The prayer of faith. We must believe that God will answer our prayers before we ask. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Don’t pray that America won’t have difficulties,
Pray America will overcome difficulties.
Don’t pray for God to eliminate the terrorists,
Pray for wisdom and strength for us to eliminate the terrorists.
7. WE MUST ASK GOD TO AGAIN BLESS AMERICA.
a. Notice Daniel did not begin by asking God to bless the nation. God couldn’t bless Israel because of its sin and rebellion. The people were not ready to receive God’s blessing. Daniel had to confess their sins to get them ready spiritually for God’s intervention.
God bless America.
God save America.
God protect America.
b. “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people that are called by thy name” (Daniel 9:19).
Don’t just pray for God to bless America,
But for you to be a blessing to Americans.
Don’t just pray for revival in America,
Pray for God to revive you.
THE WORLD’S BIGGEST PRAYER MEETING
I am going to ask us to do something today that I’ve never done before. I am going to ask everyone in this auditorium to join in a giant prayer meeting. I want everyone to do one of the following:
First: Come to the altar . . . last Sunday night when Dr. Hindson preached and called for repentance. There were hundreds at the altar, praying for God to bless America and protect America. I want many of you to do that this morning. I am going to open the altar in a few minutes and ask many of you to come to pray at this altar. But all of us will not fit at this altar.
Second: Kneel. I want many of you to kneel at the pew where you are sitting. Just turn around and kneel down to pray for this nation. I have never asked people to kneel in the pews, and this may be a little strange to you; but let it be a step of faith and do it, if God is leading you.
Third: Stand. I want some of you to stand before the Lord like Solomon, “And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands” (2 Chronicles 6:12). If you are comfortable praying like that, do it.
Fourth: Kneel. Some of you are not able to kneel. I want you to sit in your pew as the Bible describes, “David sat before the Lord and prayed” (2 Samuel 7:18). The important thing is that David bowed his head; so you who remain seated, I want you to bow using the pew in front of you as your altar.
Comfortable. You cannot pray to God unless you are comfortable with your approach. So whether you come to the altar, kneel, stand or sit; you must be comfortable in your approach to God. However God leads you, do it now!
Jerry: Here are a number of things for which we should pray -
1. Lord, we confess the sins of the Church: complacency, compromise, disobedience; forgive us.
2. Lord, we confess the sins of our nation: abortion, sexual pursuits, drugs, drunkenness, lying; forgive us.
3. Lord, we confess our personal sins . . . our private sins . . . the sins that rob us of power and blessing . . . forgive us.
4. Lord, pour out Your presence on America in revival. Revive churches, revive families, revive Christian workers, revive Your people.
5. God, bless America; bless us as you have in the past, do it again.
6. God, protect America; protect us from terrorist attacks, biochemical warfare, from wars and rumors of wars.
7. Lord, we pray against the enemy, that you would thwart his endeavors, that you would confuse his purposes and that you would stop him from his evil ways. We pray against our enemy, like David prayed against his enemy, “God, judge him with the wickedness that he plans for me . . .”
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you.
For more information on the TRBC Pastor’s Bible Class, log on to the Internet for TRBC Home page at www.trbc.org/pbc.