America is in serious trouble. From sea to shining sea we are witnessing the devolution of a nation. Regardless on which side of the political isle you sit, it is clear that things are unraveling at warp speed. The United States is quickly becoming the divided states as disunity and conflicts abound. From family breakdown, to the immigration crisis to the abiding racial divide, it is clear we are a nation unraveling.
Add to this the continuing moral decay that is engulfing us whether it is the redefinition of marriage and the family, abortions on demand, a media that continues to dumb down decency, or an educational system that increasingly seeks to impart information without ethics in the name of a warped definition of freedom, we are – as a nation – sliding south fast.
If that weren’t enough, we have to deal with the constant threat of terrorism and an overblown debt that not only jeopardizes our economic future, but the future of our children and grandchildren as well.
The American dream is quickly becoming the American nightmare as more and more citizens become disillusioned with the direction things seem to be going.
As Christian leaders, we need to ask ourselves a couple of questions. Are we going to sit and watch our culture fall apart? Are we going to sit and watch our families disintegrate? Or are we going to do something to turn America to God?
The future of our culture is in the hands of Christians because the cause of our cultural demise is innately spiritual. And if a problem is spiritual, its cure must be spiritual as well. If we Christians are going to turn our nation to God, we’ve got to fall on our knees and our faces before God and pray. We need to not only talk about prayer, but pray. Not only agree on the importance of prayer, but pray. Not only preach on the power of prayer, but pray.
“If my people who are called by my name 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”Nehemiah - 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
The promise of God found in the somewhat familiar words of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is an awesome promise. It reads, “ … and (if) My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (ESV) In this hallmark passage, God calls a nation to pray.
Prayer is earthly request for heavenly intervention. It is the tool and strategy that we have been given in order to pull something down out of the invisible and into the visible. Prayer enacts God’s hand in history like nothing else because prayer is relational communication with God.
But we can’t enjoy this kind of divine intervention of healing in our land with just a little prayer tossed toward heaven now and then. The kind of prayer that will reclaim lives, families, and a nation for God has to take high priority in our schedules. In fact, if you look back at Nehemiah 1:4, you will see that Nehemiah prayed and fasted for days when he heard about the conditions in Jerusalem.
In the face of his nation’s ongoing cultural demise, Nehemiah didn’t sit down and write out a “Great Society” program for Jerusalem. He didn’t propose a Jerusalem “New Deal.” He didn’t host a meeting, seminar or conference. No, he fasted and prayed and sought God, and – in doing so – God revealed His strategy. God was able to reverse years of deterioration in just fifty-two days. This is because prayer saves time.
We know that God moved in response to Nehemiah’s prayer, using his position of influence with the king to get Artaxerxes to support the rebuilding of Jerusalem. But Nehemiah didn’t start with his position. He started with prayer, which provided the link between God, Nehemiah’s problem, and his position.
So let me ask you this: If you see something in our nation or political leaders that is broken, is prayer the first thing you do, or the last thing you do? If it’s the last thing you do, more than likely, as I said above, you will have wasted your time on anything else. If prayer comes last, then so will the solution to the problem.
God does not like being last.
If we as Christian leaders are going to help restore America, we can’t afford to keep putting Him last. It is time to set our personal agendas, brands and voices aside and join together in personal prayer to seek God’s heart and His hand on behalf of our land. If not now, when? Tomorrow may be too late.
Evans, T. (2017, Fall). Praying for America. Preaching, 33(1), 56.
Tony Evans has served as Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas for nearly four decades. He also serves as found and president of The Urban Alternative.