Tragic happenings of late have many reflecting and speaking of America’s dark days giving way to our own Civil War. It was during that course of our history when our then President, Abraham Lincoln, called all the people of the land to pray and fast:
Proclamation of a Day of Fasting
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
Whereas a joint Committee of both Houses of Congress has waited on the President of the United States, and requested him to “recommend a day of public humiliation, prayer and fasting, to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnities, and the offering of fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessings on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace:” —
And whereas it is fit and becoming in all people, at all times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government of God; to bow in humble submission to his chastisements; to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and to pray, with all fervency and contrition, for the pardon of their past offences, and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action:
And whereas, when our own beloved Country, once, by the blessing of God, united, prosperous and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals, to humble ourselves before Him, and to pray for His mercy, — to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the re-establishment of law, order and peace, throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing, by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence: —
Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next, as a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting for all the people of the nation. And I do earnestly recommend to all the People, and especially to all ministers and teachers of religion of all denominations, and to all heads of families, to observe and keep that day according to their several creeds and modes of worship, in all humility and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring down plentiful blessings upon our Country.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed, this 12th, day of August A.D. 1861, and of the Independence of the United States of America the 86th.
By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
Notice, if you will, the prayer of Nehemiah 1:4-6–
4 “ . . . I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.5 And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, 6 please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned.”
Nehemiah, as it were, was standing in the gap for the people of Israel’s sins in which he boldly, humbly, and clearly stated, “the sins of Israel which we have sinned against You.”
This concept of owning the corporate sins of a nation is vital to our understanding in America’s dilemmas coming to a head in 2020. With this in mind, let us revisit 2 Chronicles 7:13-14:
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 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 will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
May I bring to your attention again, God is speaking directly to His people. After the giving of His only begotten Son, Jesus, on the Cross of Calvary, His people is the Church birthed on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came to stay within believers. God was not, and is not, speaking to or of the pagans . . . “If My people!”
Beloved believer, it is solely the responsibility of the Christian to intercede . . . to make amends for America . . . the land in need of healing restoration by our Holy God. Those which are lost, separated from God, cannot seek the Blood of Jesus for the land. Only the Church of the LORD Jesus Christ has the right, the honor, the privilege, the responsibility, the authority to do this!
Beloved, when the Church in America is right in the sight of God, America will be blessed of God. The opposite is equally true; when the Church is not pleasing the LORD by her disobedience, America will not experience blessings, but rather, cursing . . . “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence” . . . judgments at the hands of God.
It seems to me that the Church carries a heavy burden of guilt and shame for the waywardness of the pagan (without God) Americans. When the Church gets right many positive activities and blessings from God will occur. Maybe we need to cast aside the tired old slogan: “God Bless America!” Let’s at least get this in our hearts: “Church, repent, and bless America, again!”