Summary: One of the chief reasons for the current downward spiral of America is our refusal to humble ourselves before God. As long as we refuse to acknowledge our sins before God, we will not be blessed.
A Nation, Humble in Prayer
In George Washington's personal writings there is an entry on the 12th day of April, 1779: The Honorable the Congress having recommended it to the United States to set apart Thursday the 6th. day of May next to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, to acknowledge the gracious interpositions of Providence; to deprecate deserved punishment for our Sins and Ingratitude, to unitedly implore the Protection of Heaven; Success to our Arms and the Arms of our Ally: The Commander in Chief enjoins a religious observance of said day and directs the Chaplains to prepare discourses proper for the occasion; strictly forbiding all recreations and unnecessary labor.
On the first Thursday of May, the Christians in our nation come together in prayer. The importance of this event has never been greater. Our culture seems to teetering on the edge of disaster, and some Christians have already submitted to public approval. If we want to correct our course, then we need God's intervention.
Thankfully, God has provided a remedy for what ails our nation:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
But before we can change our nation, we must change ourselves. The first step to life changing prayer is humility.
Read James 4:1-10
1. Our sin separates us from God and each other
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"? (1-5)
How do you lose friends and alienate people? You start by letting your passions govern your priorities. Let your desires dictate your actions, and all is lost. And there is no better example of this than America. We have become an adulterous, murderous, and covetous people. We feel entitled to everything. We demand rights that we don't have, and refuse to accept the responsibilities that come with the rights we do have. And through it all, we have pushed God out of our classrooms, universities, military, and government.
2. God wants us to humble ourselves in His presence.
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (6)
God's call to humility is non-negotiable. Grace presents a picture of a loving Father who is willing to bless His children despite their shortcomings. But they must come to Him on His terms: humble and repentant.
3. Humility calls us to submission.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (7)
Submission is the greatest act of love, and we truly love God, is easy. After all, it's a wonderful thing to lay at the feet of the One you love the most.
4. Humility calls us to search our hearts.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (8)
As we submit, we must also cleanse ourselves. We can't expect a Holy Creator to have a relationship with a filthy sinner. Being cleansed by the blood of Christ, and purified by the Holy Spirit, we cease to be double-minded backsliders, and become redeemed servants.
5. Humility causes our brokenness.
Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. (9)
God mourns over our sin, in that it keeps us from a relationship with Him. When we gain a spiritual perspective over our condition, we also mourn over our brokenness.
6. Humility leads to spiritually healing.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (10)
When we become broken, God comes into our lives. He turns our sorrow into the joy we experience in a loving relationship with Him.