Dr. Ravi Zacharias
In a world where so many are hungry, You have given us food in abundance; In a world where so many are hurting, You offer to bind up our wounds; In a world where so many are lonely, You offer friendship to every heart; In a world longing for peace, You offer hope.
Yet, we are so stubborn and resistant. Have mercy upon us, Lord. Our nation is at a crossroads; we look to you to be our strength and shield.
Please give us guidance and may we honor you and respond to the wisdom from above so that our hope may be renewed and our blessings be treasured.
In Jesus’ holy name.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness…and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:9, 7). There is nothing that you will ever think, say, or do that cannot be washed away. You can be “white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). You can be made completely new inside, but only Jesus’ death on Calvary’s cross can give you this freedom from your sins. His death is of infinite value, because He who never sinned gave Himself as a sacrifice in your place. He alone can make and keep you pure within. It is but one simple prayer to make it your own.
If you have not forgiven others who have offended or hurt you, forgive them as God has forgiven you (Mark 11:25-26). Then see yourself as dead to sin and sinless in the eyes of God (Romans 6:11, 2 Corinthians 5:21). In this way the blood of Jesus cleanses us and prepares us to really relate to God.
- Lance Wubbels
This article is part two in our 8-part series on Prayer.
(Taken from “A Time for Prayer” published by Inspired Faith for the National Day of Prayer – used with permission.)
Ups and downs. Successes and failures. But a pattern emerges: God’s chosen are in trouble, God supernaturally moves in the life of the King, the King honors God, God’s chosen are spared, people around the King are jealous, God’s chosen are in trouble once more and it starts again.
It is in Daniel, chapter 9 that we gain tremendous insight into the character of Daniel and how he handles the roller coaster of political leadership. Here are a few aspects of Daniel’s life that act as examples to us:
He was a man of faith: “Then I set my face to the Lord God to make my request by prayer and supplication with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.” (Dan 9: 3) Daniel was not a young man at this point and with all the ups and downs, he was still full of faith. He remained willing to fight for God’s purposes to be brought to earth. He easily could have given up many times before, but yet he expectantly interceded for his people. Daniel knew that at any point the King could receive a vision, a message, or writing “could appear” on the wall.
He carried a burden for the sins of his people: “… we have sinned and committed
iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.” (Dan 9:5) Even though Daniel himself walked uprightly with God, his heart was pained that his fellow Jews did not. To the American mind this seems preposterous, but it is a great lesson for us—to accept a greater responsibility through prayer and discipleship for how fellow believers walk with God.
He understood the connection between faith and reality: “… the Lord has kept the disaster in mind and brought it upon us …” (Dan 9:14, 16) In Daniel’s mind there was an obvious connection between disasters and people’s sins. To him it appears that God, though long suffering, is not a God who will forever permit people to behave the way they desire. As with individuals, God has the ability to corporately guide a nation’s actions by the retributions and calamities He permits them to experience. After national disasters it is suddenly acceptable to say “our thoughts and prayers are with you.” The rest of the time there are ongoing efforts to eliminate public prayer.
We can learn much from Daniel. We have seen many political ups and downs in recent days. While the present seems particularly dark, we must remain people of expectant faith. With “fasting, sackcloth and ashes,” we must continue to intercede for our country. At any point God’s finger could write on the wall of the Oval Office and deliver words that could transform many things in short order. We also must surrender our self-centered individuality in order to carry a burden for the righteousness of all the followers of Christ. We need to be pained at the things that pain God’s heart.
—Dave Kubal serves as President / CEO of Intercessors for America
Almighty God, we pause to reflect on Your character as we seek wisdom for such a time as this.
. In these unsafe days,
You remain all-powerful and able to protect;
. In these uncertain times,
You remain all-knowing, leading us aright;
. In the unprecedented events we’re facing,
You remain absolutely sovereign.
Our times are in Your hands.
Therefore, our dependence on You, is total, not partial. . . our need for Your forgiveness is constant. . . our gratitude for Your grace is profound. . . our love for You is deep.
We ask that You guard and guide our President and all who serve the people of these United States.
May uncompromising integrity mark their lives.
We also ask that You unite us as truly “one nation, under God.” May genuine humility return to our ranks.
And may that blend of integrity and humility heal our land.
In our Lord’s name we pray,
- Chuck Swindoll
It is because of our relationship with Jesus Christ that we are “in Christ,” that God hears our prayers. We must pray to the Father in Jesus’ name, not our own name (John 16:24, 26; Colossians 3:17). This means that we are basing our approach to God on Jesus’ righteousness and goodness, not on our own. We receive His righteousness when we repent, confess our sins, and believe that we receive His righteousness. We should know then that “in him we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21), and we can come directly and boldly to have an audience with God because of the sacrifice of Jesus in our place (Hebrews 4:16).
We come as children of God (Galatians 3:26; John 1:12), as members of the royal family of God (Revelation 1:6), and not as beggars or strangers. Therefore, when we pray, we should expect that God will answer our prayers (1 Peter 3:12). Answered prayer is how He manifests Himself in our lives and makes this relationship personal. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
This is part 1 of our 8-part series on prayer.
I have had the amazing privilege of serving here at the National Day of Prayer Task Force for 11 years. It is hard to believe that over a decade has passed since Mrs. Shirley Dobson asked me to be part of this ministry to our nation.
I didn’t realize how nominal my prayer walk really was until I was surrounded by individuals who truly modeled the actions of Christ in daily intercession for others and our nation. I was attending church. I had served in missions and had even held positions with other prominent ministries, but prayer was not a focus in my walk with Jesus. In fact, truth be told, there is little emphasis on the subject even in seminary.
But there I was, making a commitment to join a team of praying people. I thought they were administrators of prayer activities. Little did I know that when Shirley Dobson spoke about prayer, she really meant it. In fact, not only did the team pray in the mornings, they were praying throughout the day – sometimes all day long – without food even. Others, who were volunteer leaders for the ministry across the nation, would travel to the office and pray all night long, taking shifts to ensure the full 24-hour day was covered with words of praise and adoration for the King of kings.
Honestly, I had no idea what I had just signed up for. I could appreciate ministry, but I did not know that this was what was expected of me as a newly commissioned prayer warrior.
After the initial shock wore off, I can tell you that this has become one of the greatest and most life-fulfilling journeys of my life. I never knew what I was missing until I joined this incredible team. The network of National Day of Prayer volunteers, from coast to coast, has changed my life as they cry out to Almighty God on behalf of others. They pray with expectation and I believe that God has stayed His holy hand of judgment on this nation time and time again because of their faithfulness to keep the altar of incense burning brightly. You see, if we don’t praise Him, the rocks will and I certainly don’t want the rocks crying out to Him when it is our blessing and assignment to do so.
The Prayer Room at the National Day of Prayer offices holds a special place in my heart. The room isn’t very large, yet people have traveled from around the country to pray within these four walls. So, let me give you a glimpse of what you would find if you were to enter the room right now.
As you enter the Prayer Room, just to your left and mounted on the wall is an original text of Jeremiah 29:11-13 from the 1587 Bishops’ Bible – a gift from Life Action Ministries. Below this image you will find a large Bible, currently opened to Psalm 44 and 45. To your immediate right, you will find a large vase sitting on the floor. This is where we encourage our staff to write down their burdens, anxieties, wounds, and hurts and place those in this long-necked, large vase so that once inserted, they are never to be drawn out again – a symbol of surrender to the Lord. Moving forward, you will find 3 wooden containers, decorated and inscribed with Scripture. Inside are the written prayers of praise from our staff and guests. These are a result of moments when, like King David, we write letters of love and adoration to the Lord.
Continuing toward the back wall, you will find a wooden chest and inside are the prayer requests from every person who writes to our ministry. Each is printed and then placed within the chest for the next prayer team to cover, faithfully, before God. Hanging on the wall behind the chest is a large cross, but hanging on it is yet another, much smaller, hand-made cross that was hung there by a soldier who had just returned from Afghanistan. Immediately to your right, you will find a large prayer bench and inside, kneepads for those moments where only on our knees do we truly have a time of reverence before Him.
Then we come to one of my favorite resources in our Prayer Room. Sitting atop a small, wooden table, are two containers. One has water in it. The other has dirt in it. At first glance, you might think it odd. But, after its explanation, you will understand the significance it has to all of us here at the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
The dirt looks like strata layers, but it is actually a collection of soil from all 50 states. The water container next to it is also a collection of water from all 50 states. This unique display was made possible by the volunteer prayer leaders from each of the states who visited and graciously accepted our odd request to journey with dirt and water in their luggage. This collection has provided a very tangible backdrop for our team as we enter the Prayer Room each day. Not only do we lift up the personal requests that come in through mail and email, we are also reminded of the need to lift up our nation every single day. Sometimes we lay hands on the jar as if clasping the whole country at one moment in prayer and other times it serves as a symbol to us of the many beautiful aspects of our great nation and its people – a blend of many colors, textures and types.
I have witnessed miracles happen here and we have documented hundreds, maybe even thousands, of testimonies from around the United States of people who have been healed, lives that have been changed, commitments that have been made to Christ and communities that have been transformed – not because of a room – but by the power of God. He works through the prayers of His people no matter where they are, impacting eternity as a result. The power of prayer is amazing and wherever you are today, know that you are being covered in fervent intercession and God is working in and through your life to shape the course of history.
Someday, when your time allows, we invite you to come and join us here at the National Day of Prayer headquarters as we celebrate all that God is doing and pray without ceasing for generations not yet born. Then you too can hold The Dirt that has been a standing stone in our office commemorating God’s faithfulness to this, the greatest nation on earth.
May God bless you, faithful prayer warrior!
- John Bornschein, Vice Chairman
“If that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would
benefit it.” —Jeremiah 18:8-10
How does a nation corporately turn from its evil? How does a nation corporately do evil? In a nation of more than 270 million people there will always be a certain number of citizens doing evil. How much is too much for God? Not everyone in our country has a relationship with Christ, so can we ever expect that evil will not be done?
These are troubling questions. Yet, we can find answers in Micah 6:8 that provide a lens to view today’s events as we pray for America. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?”
God prescribes a three part definition for a nation to do “what is good” in His sight.
Do Justly. Justice is the quality of being righteous or fair—seeing that people receive what is morally right, fair and appropriate. Justice also includes the concept of upholding law and order, as in the work of police, judges, and the courts. For over 200 years our judicial system has been based upon Judeo-Christian values and principles. Our founders understood how important it was for an external, unchanging code of ethics, derived in great measure from the Bible, to rule our judicial system.
One assault on justice that other countries are experiencing is when Muslim politicians, officials and judges move into power and begin to insert Islamic “sharia” law, a harsh system of law derived from the teachings of the Koran. America has already had one congressman swear an oath to the Koran as he began his service to the Congress. We need to intercede and win our Muslim neighbors to Christ; an even more intense spiritual battle is coming. We must prayerfully guard Judeo-Christian justice in this country.
Love Mercy. Mercy has an emotional element that is a compassionate concern for those that are in need. We must pray that God would protect us as a nation from becoming emotionally desensitized to the legitimate needs of others. Studies continue to show that one of the biggest influences upon the minds of our children which inhibits them from developing hearts of mercy is violent video games, now accessible even via cell phones. H. R. Bill 5990 introduced by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) is an attempt at preventing minors from purchasing these types of games. Efforts such as Rep. Matheson’s need to be encouraged and covered in prayer.
Walk Humbly. The need to humble ourselves and rely on God is the single most important element established by our founding fathers which enabled the success of these United States. Our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” was printed on U.S. coins because one man, Rev. M. R. Watkins from Ridleyville, PA, wrote to the Secretary of Treasury on Nov. 13th 1861 stating, “…This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my heart, I have felt our national shame in disowning God....” It would be hard to say it any better. We must continue to intercede for all in authority and for individuals like Rev. Watkins as they labor to lead us as a nation into humility.
As we consider how we can tip the scales from corporate evil to doing “what is good” in God’s eyes, we must earnestly pray, speak out, and take action to preserve our Judeo-Christian judicial system. We must fight for policies of justice and mercy on our knees, and through humble, persuasive action. We need to Get America Praying!
—Dave Kubal serves as President / CEO of Intercessors for America
Joni Eareckson Tada
Almighty God, you are our Mighty Fortress, our refuge and the God in whom we place our trust. As our nation faces great distress and uncertainty, we ask your Holy Spirit to fall afresh upon your people — convict us of sin and inflame within us a passion to pray for our land and its people.
Grant the leaders of our country an awareness of their desperate need of wisdom and salvation in You until sin becomes a reproach to all and righteousness exalts this nation.
Protect and defend us against our enemies and may the cause of Christ always prevail in our schools, courts, homes, and churches. Lord God, send a spirit of revival and may it begin in our own hearts.
Remember America, we pray. Remember the foundations on which this country was built. Remember the prayers of our nation’s fathers and mothers, and do not forget us in our time of need.
In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
- Joni Eareckson Tada
Second Chronicles 7:14 contains a remarkable promise from the Almighty God that speaks of forgiveness and healing for nations and for believers. But as awesome a prophetic promise as it is for America, many believers forget that it is a conditional promise. When believers meet His conditions, God will honor His promise.
As we look at this country, we see a nation that is morally bankrupt and in spiritual decline. Vulgarity, indecency, obscenities, lies, and corruption are today’s norm. Economic struggles, terrorist threats, sexual immorality, and the breakdown of families are just a few problems our country faces. We are a fractured people and nation, and we need healing through God’s divine intervention.
If My People, Who Are Called by My Name
The solutions to the nation’s problems lie not with politicians, reformers, educators, or business leaders, but with God’s people. Today, God’s people are those who worship Him, who accept and follow the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – men and women who are His, not just in name, but in every aspect of their lives. In the darkest of situations, the Church can call out to God, and He will hear. This promise has not expired, but remains the key that makes it possible for all His people to take full responsibility for our condition and turn back the spiritual decline.
In fact, God has given the Church four conditions to seeing His healing come to our nation and our lives, and they are all centered in changes that take place in our hearts.
Will Humble Themselves
Humility means “to bend the knee, to bow down, to be in subjection to.” Humility is when we truly understand how poor and needy we are before God. Those who are humble know what it means to grieve over their sins and the sins of others. Simply put, humility means we are utterly dependent on God, which is the opposite of pride. James 4:16 tells us that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Being humble is a difficult position, because we all tend to depend on any number of other factors than God only, whether it is our education, our career, our accomplishments and works, or our spiritual résumé. Both individually and as a Church there is a need to set aside our pride and humble ourselves. We must be willing to get on our faces before God, come to the cross of Christ with nothing but ourselves, and cry out to Him for a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit on our lives and out to the world.
To pray means to “ask” when you want God to do something for you and for others. The sovereign God has ordained prayer as the tool to get His work done, and He works in accord with the praying of His people and His own sovereign will. Prayer not only prepares us to do His work, but it is the work that must be done before any other work for the Lord is done. However, we in the Church tend to do almost anything but pray and often treat prayers as though it is a last resort rather than the first thing we should do. We as individuals and the Church must pray. All the major revivals have come because of believers who were serious enough to cry out to God in prayer.
And Seek My Face
God has said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). God is personal, and we must deal with Him as a person. Too often, we seek the hand of God, which represents His works, instead of the face of God, which represents His nature and who He really is. When we seek His face, we see His holiness and love, which exposes our sin and depravity and selfishness. When we seek His face, we come with adoration and praise and worship, and we are changed and want to love Him more dearly and walk with Him more intimately. When we seek His face, we begin to hear His voice and discover His love and mercy that pardon us of all our sins.
And Turn From Their Wicked Ways
The psalmist said, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). If we want to experience the presence of God that changes our lives and the world, we need to get rid of anything that pushes Christ from the center of our lives. It might be our complacency, apathy, and indifference to what God is concerned about – the poor, the brokenhearted, the exploited, or the unemployed. God hates sin and all forms of wickedness, whether it is abortion, sexual sins, lying, cheating, drunkenness, drug abuse, hatred, jealousy, envy, and fits of rage. And He is not pleased with a Church that refuses to stand out against the many great evils of our day – believers who never fight for what is right, who compromise in an attempt not to offend, who carry no cross and stand for nothing.
Then Will I Hear From Heaven and Will Forgive Their Sin and Will Heal Their Land
From the place of authority, heaven itself, God will “hear,” which means “to listen to a point where you are moved to action.” In other words, He has promised to respond to their prayers. Evangelist Dwight L. Moody said that when God’s people fulfill His conditions, He “brings heaven within speaking distance.”
Standing by Faith
Usually Satan will try to suggest to you that your prayers were not heard. He will encourage you to look to the problems again and get your eyes off God. He will try to get you to talk as if you are not sure if your prayer is answered. Charles Cowman said, “The devil is not put to flight by a courteous request. He meets us at every turn, contends for every inch, and our progress has to be registered in heart’s blood and tears.”
Be prepared for warfare with Satan. Take firm control of your thought life. Think on positive things (Philippians 4:6-9). By praising God and confessing the relevant truths of the Word, cast down every thought that is contrary to your prayer. Keep speaking what the Word of God says on the issue at stake. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Then, keep believing you will see your prayers answered.
Never lose sight of the fact that there may be specific reasons why a prayer is not answered immediately. God may desire that your faith be exercised and strengthened through your patient waiting on Him. Settle it in your mind that God is always true and faithful to His promises. It may be that your heart is not prepared for the answer to your prayer, but it is on the way.
George Müller said, “Many of the dear children of God stagger, because prayer is not at once answered. And because for weeks, months, and years prayer remains unanswered, they cease to ask God, and thus they lose the blessing that, had they persevered, they would assuredly have obtained. When the heart is prepared for the blessing, it will be given by God.”
If there are delays, let your faith be resolved to trust only God and be more fervent in your prayer. Keep on waiting upon God. Pray on and keep looking for answers. Only be sure you ask for things that are according to the mind of God. Exercise faith in the power and willingness of God to answer your requests. In His time and by His power, God will abundantly prove that your faith was not in vain.
- Lance Wubbels
Featured in the book “A Time for Prayer” published by Inspired Faith for the National Day of Prayer.
In today's tumultuous times, we all have moments where we are afraid, anxious, and worried. But there's an antidote for this anxious age. It connects us to the greatest source of peace, hope, and security that we could ever imagine. The cure is the remarkable gift from our loving and merciful God. It's called prayer.
Though many may call the twenty-first century the Age of Anxiety, our current troubles are not new. Mankind's future has always been uncertain. Since the days of Noah and his family, Moses and the nation of Israel, the persecuted early Church, the Pilgrims, and America's Founding Fathers, the answer for people facing adversity has always been the same: Almighty God.
Simply put, there is no security apart from Him. When problems threaten to engulf us, we must do what believers have always done - turn to the Lord for encouragement and solace. We never need to face the fury of life's storms on our own. He keeps His promise: "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). He stands just to the side ever watchful, waiting to embrace us the moment we ask His presence. His words to Jeremiah apply to us all: "Call to me and I will answer you" (Jeremiah 33:3).
Prayer is our pathway not only to divine protection, but also to a personal, intimate relationship with God. The Lord desires a personal, two-way conversation with me and with you. You are His child. He wants you to seek Him, to love Him, and to spend time daily with Him. When you do, He hears and responds (Matthew 6:6). Your prayers never go unanswered. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it is no, and sometimes it is wait. But our heavenly Father is there even in the most troubling of circumstances.
Are you ready to renew or increase your commitment to prayer? Do you want contentment in your heart and peace in your world? If your answer is yes - or even maybe - keep reading and discover God's remarkable gift called prayer. It will change your life, the lives around you, and even the course of history.
- Shirley Dobson, Chairman