Friday, October 19, 2012

Above the Fruited Plains

Through my local church, we have been reading and praying a book by David Butts, 40 Days of Prayer for America: Desperate for Change. It has been an eye-opening book for me, especially after coming back from a service trip to SE Asia where we prayed continually for that area of the world.

As I read through Mr. Butts’ writings, I’m finding myself pulled into his stories and his direction toward God. And I wonder how I have managed to walk up to a voting station in the past without a period of prayer before going.

Yes, this is an election year. No, this is not a blog post about how you should vote. But it is a call to action. There are still nineteen days until Election Day. There is still plenty of time to pray for our nation. To pray for our leaders. To pray for the citizens of America to return to God as a nation. There is still time for God to do His mighty work within our country.

We should at least be willing to try!

So here are my suggestions for you. If you can get a copy of Mr. Butts’ book, do so. He will encourage you to focus on very specific areas of prayer. If you are on Facebook, there is a 40 Days of Prayer page where you will find some great ways to pray for America. Or, on their website, you can download daily prayers or subscribe to daily emails.

But this is just one man’s tool to pray for America. God has His own tools in Scripture to lead us in praying for our nation. Let’s begin with God’s command for Israel.

After the temple was complete, God appeared to Solomon and shared these words with him. “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 will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 – NIV) God is willing to heal our land, but we must do our part. Humble prayers are the perfect place to start.

Paul urged Timothy to pray for the “kings and all those in authority” in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV). But the reasoning behind it is also mentioned in this section of Scripture. “That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” I will allow Scripture to speak for itself.

I also believe that as we live godly and holy lives, we will be good citizens of our nation. By following God’s commands and His words, we are able to be the right kind of people America needs. People full of grace. People who show kindness to strangers and the poor. People who love their enemies.

And Titus 3:1-2 (NIV) adds a few more words of encouragement. “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.”

Good countries are made up of good citizens. Titus 3:14 (NIV) adds another element. “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.”

I certainly am not willing to live an unproductive life. I pray that you feel the same.

So, what I’ve come up with is that we must humble ourselves before God, pray for our nation and leaders, and be good citizens. To be honest, this is just the skeleton. As you study Scripture, you will find other things to add to this list. And I would encourage you to do so.

Don’t let another day go by where America is not in your prayers. Hand it over to God. Allow Him to do mighty things with people who are willing to humble themselves before Him.

I’m going to close with the lyrics to the tune, America the Beautiful. I pray that you’ll find beauty in this land we call home. Beauty in her landscape, but also in her people.

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea![i]

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,


[i] Words by Katharine Lee Bates, Melody by Samuel Ward, 1910

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