I wrote this eight years ago. I just read it over and I think it is right to publish it again. With the turmoil, conflict, fear and anger in our nation today, I think it would be helpful for us to take a careful look at what God has said to us. And though I am posting this for July 4 and the USA, this is true for people from every nation.
The most oft-quoted Scripture on praying for a nation is probably 2 Chronicles 7:14: “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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
It is good and right to pray for the leaders of our nation, for every nation– for the governmental agencies, for the people in different arenas of power and influence. But I believe this verse has much to say to us about the prayer that will bring transformation.
“If my people, who are called by my name,…” If God’s people, those who believe in and trust in and follow Him—we are the key. Not the President and Congress, or Wall Street, or celebrities. We should pray for them—they have great influence. But God has challenged us, His children, to be the keys to healing and change.
“will humble themselves…” We must honor our God as most high, eternal, all powerful Creator. And we must bow before Him in complete humility. We must admit that, in ourselves, we can do nothing.
“and pray…” The work of God is done on our knees. Then we go find out what happened. Scripture tells us we have not because we ask not. God delights in our asking.
“and seek my face…” So often we seek what God will give us, His answers, His blessings—in this case that He will rescue and change our nation. But he invites us to seek Him. He is all we really need. In Him we will find answers and blessings and fellowship and love and grace and mercy and strength.
“and turn from their wicked way…” We have to acknowledge our sin, our failure to live in holiness and purity and the power of God’s Spirit. We—individually and as His Body–must confess that we have gone our own way. Our Lord pleads for us to turn from our wicked way and return to His perfect way.
And what will our God do?
“I will hear from heaven…” He is listening. He is waiting. When we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, He will surely hear our cries.
“and I will forgive their sin…” Oh, Lord, thank You for Your great mercy. What a price Jesus paid that we might be forgiven! He will wash us clean as individuals and will forgive our corporate sin.
“and will heal their land.” This is where we started—to pray for our nation. We need healing and transforming. And it begins with us—His children. When we meet His requirements, He will do what we are asking for our land.
How hopeful and yet how frightening! We hold the key. May we fall on our faces before our God and pray!