I just got back from a National Day of Prayer breakfast and I wanted to share a few things while it is still fresh in my mind. First of all, let me unequivocally say that the United States of America, my beloved homeland, is a nation in need of prayer. When I look at our trajectory as a nation, I cannot help but draw comparisons to ancient Israel. We are a nation of immense prosperity, blessed by God beyond measure, yet so comfortable that we seem to have forgotten God and gone our own way. Even the most cursory reading of Scripture shows us that God will only tolerate this for so long.
Am I the only one who looks at the candidates remaining in our presidential election and thinking that judgment might be just around the corner? No, I’m not shouting doom and gloom, or “this is the end,” or “the sky is falling.” What I am saying is we should not be surprised if things do not keep going as they always have, with peace,comfort and prosperity. And if things change in this way we should not blame God. He showed us the way, the blame is ours. One of the things we must realize is God is always just, while He may not always give us the leaders we want, He will often give us what our deeds deserve.
We must also understand that God is ultimately merciful, but sometimes that mercy is revealed in events that force us to look up. The ultimate grace is found in anything that draws us to repentance even if that seems painful at the time.
I’ve said it time and again, we are a nation that has the amazing privilege of picking it’s leaders and we are a church that has been tasked with taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth and making disciples. This is part of the reason that complaining about our leaders is no good for those of us in the church. A nation that picks it’s leaders will have leaders that look like the nation. It cannot be any other way. If we don’t like the direction the nation is going, it is a clear opportunity for the church of Jesus Christ to do what it has been called to do all along, to be the hands and feet of Christ, drawing the nation back to Him, making disciples, helping people to follow Jesus. When the nation follows Jesus, it will elect leaders that follow Jesus. If that is what we want, that is what we must do.
So on this national day of prayer, step one is to pray for the leaders we already have, and then to pray for our nation. Finally we take the direction of the chronicler who, quoting God wrote, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” It all starts with prayer, repentance and turning to God.