Hope-filled biblical focus is needed if we are to see a movement of prayer that moves the hand of God regarding the United States. Christians need to believe that God is not done with our nation and begin praying with passion according to the purposes of God. The focus of our hope must be in God and His Word.
If we look to our politicians, we will not have hope. If we look to our culture, we will lose our hope. If the economy is where we are placing out trust, hope will be lost with every downturn. Our hope must be in the Lord!
Scripture is filled with the command to hope in the Lord. Many times, that is directed to an individual for their own salvation. Sometimes though, it is directed to a nation. The Psalmist speaks to Israel with this powerful word,
“O Israel, hope in the Lord!
or with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption”(Ps. 130:7, esv).
In a passage that I believe speaks much to our current situation, the author of Lamentations spends the first part of chapter 3 bemoaning the horrible situation that he is in. In verse 21 though, his thoughts turn to the mercies of God and he takes hope. Consider this powerful picture.
“But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth.
Let him sit alone in silence
when it is laid on him;
let him put his mouth in the dust—
there may yet be hope” (Lam. 3:21-29 ESV).
Hope comes from a renewed focus on the Lord and his never-ending mercy and love. Lamentations points out the need of remembering that about the Lord (”this I call to mind,” v. 21). There is also the powerful picture of humility and repentance before the Lord, “let him put his mouth in the dust.”
A people who humbly come before the Lord, remembering His mercy, have great reason for hope.
In that great section of Zechariah 9 that combines promises of both the first and second coming of Christ, this insightful description is given regarding hope.
“Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope;
even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you” (Zech. 9:12).
Those who await the work of the Lord are called prisoners of hope. That is a good description for the Church today as we long to see the Lord restore and renew His people, and with them, a nation that desperately needs His healing touch. Prisoners of hope never quit praying until the Lord accomplishes His purposes or until He silences their prayers.
Excerpted from With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America, by Dr. David Butts,
PrayerShop Publishing 2016. Used with permission. http://www.prayershop.org/With-One-Cry-p/int-bud-bk-002.htm