Some time later the Moabites and Ammonites, accompanied by Meunites, joined forces to make war on Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat received this intelligence report: “A huge force is on its way from beyond the Dead Sea to fight you. There’s no time to waste—they’re already at Hazazon Tamar, the oasis of En Gedi.” Shaken, Jehoshaphat prayed. He went to God for help and ordered a nationwide fast. The country of Judah united in seeking God’s help—they came from all the cities of Judah to pray to God” (2 Chronicles 20:1-4 MSG).
Clearly, our nation is in desperate need of prayer. We need the power of God to be poured out. We need another Great Awakening. The Church needs to be revived. We need godly leaders in our nation. None of that will happen without prayer.
Most of us feel inadequate regarding having any real impact on a nation the size of the United States. But we believe God can change the very heart of a people. He won’t, however, unless we ask. So it does come down to you. We must quit complaining and whining about leaders in Washington, D.C. or those in our state Capitols. It’s time to pray!
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How do you pray in a way that changes a nation? Many want to pray but don’t know how.
Jehoshaphat was an Old Testament leader who prayed and led his people back to God. His story is found in 2 Chronicles 17. Though the entire chapter is helpful, I want to focus on verses 3-6:
“The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David before him. He did not consult the Baals but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel. The Lord established the kingdom under his control; and all Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so that he had great wealth and honor. His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.”
It ultimately is Christ we are looking for, not just a better nation. We need a realignment of our hearts.
Gracious Father, You alone are worthy of honor and glory and praise! Our hearts are not always set upon following Your ways, but upon concern and worry over the issues and problems of our nation. Please turn our focus towards Your loving and wise heart so that we might pray with Your kingdom purposes rather than for the sake of our own comfort and preferences. Realign our hearts so that we keep our eyes fixed upon the face of Christ – the only One with the power and wisdom to use the crises in our nation to bring glory to the Father.
–adapted from With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America by David Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God for the example of servanthood given when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet (Jn. 13:5-15). Thank Jesus for his promise that you will be blessed in being a servant, following his example (13:17). Confess those times you are quarrelsome and resentful, not wanting to be a servant (2 Tim. 2:24). Commit yourself to God as Samuel did and respond: “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:10). Ask God to reveal clearly his assigned task for you, even as he did for Paul (1 Cor. 3:5).
Pray that your church will faithfully learn the joy of servanthood in every area, fixing their eyes on Jesus, not growing weary or losing heart (Heb. 12:2-3).
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