Political dysfunctionality, moral relativism, child sacrifices, human trafficking, mistreatment of citizens, diluted or no faith, biblical illiteracy, lack of trust in most directions, moral perversions, vast sexual confusion, closed minds, violence, terrorism, border problems; up until approximately 2000 (and I know some roots of these go at least into the early 1950’s), these are words I would use to describe many nations somewhere else, but never my precious homeland. I am heartbroken over the problems and issues America struggles through; and yet, I am not saying she does not deserve them . . . every one of them.
What has happened to us? And, what can save us? James chapter 4 gives us some perspective:
4 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James 4:1-17)
God has allowed these things we struggle with as a nation, because we have fallen into a confusion and a somewhat acceptance of what we have become, while missing what we are meant to be. So, as believers, what should our course of action become, as pleasing the LORD? Pray? Pray!
Over the last many years, the watch-word has become “Pray” amongst God’s people. We speak the word, “Pray”; we even teach the concept of praying; some have taught new and different ways/formulas to pray, and some churches pray, and still we struggle. Why? James 4:3 above may have pointed out an issue. Perhaps we have all the knowledge, words, formulas, and gimmicks, for prayer, but lack the righteous motives.
Some other hints that should be helpful: “Preach the Word!” That is the giving or casting out of the whole counsel of God. Pastors, do not get stuck in preaching only feel-good messages to please the hearers. And to the hearers: “ . . . be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only!” We must become what we claim we are! We must all, as Christians in a fallen nation, “walk in the Spirit! Pray without ceasing! Humble ourselves! Submit to God, all that He is and all that He says! We must repent! Repent even of our prideful, selfish prayers!
“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30)
Yes, God wants and expects that someone would pray, and pray rightly. We have several biblical examples of Jesus withdrawing by Himself to be alone with the Father in prayer; often throughout the night. Then the night of His arrest in the Garden, we see Him disappointed that His close disciples could not remain awake and pray with Him for even one hour.
When did you last agonize in prayer . . . weeping, sobbing, and crying before the Throne for others? . . . Someone you know is lost? . . . A nation that has gone astray from God? . . . A church that has left her first love? . . . A pastor who is frustrated in the work? . . . are not these worthy of much prayer and tears? When have you spent an entire night in prayer?
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)
When the foundation of our nation crumbles, we must build on the Rock and as God calls us, as believers, to look more within our struggles to the eternal home He is building. We must get ourselves right before Him, even if nothing in our homeland changes, trusting Him, His purposes, and His ways.
Beloved, who are we? More prayer, everywhere! Church, Pray On!