April 2013 – The late Leonard Ravenhill spoke these sobering words, startlingly apropos for contemporary America: “The self-sufficient do not pray, the self-satisfied will not pray, the self-righteous cannot pray.”
We have become self-sufficient, depending on our own abilities. We hold aloft our trophies, proclaiming, “Look what we have earned!” We neglect the gracious Giver of all gifts.
We have become self-satisfied, prideful in our meaningless, material accomplishments. We rest pampered and apathetic in the arms of affluence. We forget the One who offers true satisfaction.
We have become self-righteous, basking in the sunlight streaming through our stained glass windows. We ignore the God of whom Paul wrote, “[T]hey did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own” (Romans 10:3 NIV).
In his 1863 Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, President Abraham Lincoln said, “It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
If we do not confess the sins of our critically ill culture, the illness could be terminal. Time and time again, God has judged nations by the character of His people. When His people failed to repent, their nations fell. America’s believers – preachers and plumbers, janitors and judges, editors and educators, broadcasters and brick masons – must spend time before God Almighty, confessing and repenting.
How does one begin to pray? First, every man, woman and child who claims the name of Christ should pray in earnest for a deepening personal relationship with the Savior. Daily personal confession and repentance are prerequisite for a life of faith. We must pray for our families; pray God’s power and protection over them and pray that each one will be Christ’s light in the darkness.
Believers must pray for our workplaces or classrooms, wherever we spend our day away from home. Pray for coworkers, classmates, teachers, supervisors, bosses and subordinates. Pray for God to use us to bring honor and glory to Him.
Pray for the unsaved – family members, friends, acquaintances, coworkers and others whom God puts on your heart.
Pray for those in civil authority – city and county officials, governors and other state leaders. Pray for the president, congressmen and senators. Pray for the judges and attorneys who direct traffic in our courtrooms.
Pray for leaders in the body of Christ across America and around the world. Begin with your pastor and church staff members, elders, and deacons or board members of your church, your Sunday school teacher and other volunteers who devote their time to lifting up Jesus Christ.
Pray for your denominational leaders and executives. And finally, pray for leaders in the countless ministries and missions God has put in place to spread the gospel.
The great spiritual movements in history have often been preceded by seasons of great moral crisis not unlike what we face today. For this season, and for the moral health of our nation, it is imperative that Christ’s followers be vigilant in prayer.
National Day of Prayer
Thursday, May 2, 2013 is the 62nd annual National Day of Prayer. This year’s theme, “Pray for America,” is based on Matthew 12:21 – “In His name the nations will put their hope” (NIV). The mission of the National Day of Prayer Task Force is to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in the culture. For promotional tools, small group guides or more information call 719-559-9560 or visit www.nationaldayofprayer.org.
Organize a Meet at City Hall prayer event in your community.