If there was ever a nation that understood what it means to be a refuge for the oppressed, it ought to be the United States. The inscription from Emma Lazarus on the base of the Statue of Liberty has meant far more than words to millions. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
As a nation, by and large, comprised of immigrants and their descendants, many of whom were fleeing persecution or oppression in their own nations, we have been a land of refuge. The United States truly has been a stronghold in times of trouble for many. Though this is a proud heritage and a significant part of who we are as a nation, we have always served as a refuge imperfectly. Some groups were more welcome than others. Some arrived and wondered if they were, in fact, better off here. We still struggle with what it means to open our national doors to others. The good news is that the Lord is a perfect refuge, a perfect stronghold in times of trouble. He is a refuge, not only for individuals, but for a nation as well. When a nation turns to God, He will be a refuge for them. In the midst of the chaos of current events, whether it is financial collapse, terrorism, or war, how comforting to know that God wants to be a stronghold for our nation.
• Ask the Lord to turn the hearts of the citizens and leaders of the United States to Himself.
• Invite the Lord to be your refuge and your stronghold.
• Pray that our nation will increasingly see that God is our only refuge in the midst of the troubles of this world.
Father, I am so grateful that You are my refuge and stronghold. I come to You today longing more and more to experience Your Presence and to rest in Who You are. Show me more of what it means for You to be my refuge in the midst of the storms of this life.
What I ask for myself, I also ask for my nation. Help us not to trust in our finances, our technology, or our military might. Lord, You are our refuge, our stronghold in times of trouble. We come running to You, Lord! Forgive us of our self-sufficient spirit. We need You, Lord.
–Adapted from Desperate for Change: 40 Days of Prayer for America by David Butts