July 3, 2017
Pray with thousands today during our First Friday Prayer Conference Call, 1215pm ET. Call 605-475-3250, access code 148275#.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. (Pr 14:34)
Why is it important that we pray for our country and its peoples?
First, because God tells us to (1 Tim. 2:1-4), and it is important that we obey Him (John 14:15, Acts 5:32). Second, because God answers prayer (Matt. 21:22, John 14:13-14). Third, God honors prayer and turns His attention to those who pray. He takes note of people who pray and His ear remains open to them (2 Chron. 7:14). Fourth, prayer not only gives God a vehicle by which He can respond and answer prayers, but prayer also changes those who pray, for praying helps us to be God-conscious, and when we are God-conscious as individuals, our behavior is different than if we rarely think about God (Rom. 1:28).
George Washington incorporated many of these elements when he explained why he called the nation’s first federal day of prayer. According to President Washington, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
When a country drifts away from God, God drifts away from that country. When God drifts away from the country, His blessings also leave. Founding Father Samuel Adams (“The Father of the American Revolution”) fully understood this and reminded citizens:
May every citizen in the army and in the country have a proper sense of the Deity upon his mind and an impression of that declaration recorded in the Bible: “Him that honoreth Me I will honor, but he that despiseth Me shall be lightly esteemed” (1 Sam. 2:30).
Numerous other Founding Fathers understood this truth and clearly expressed it. In fact, political leaders for generations embraced this belief. For this reason, President Abraham Lincoln reminded the nation in the midst of the Civil War: “[I]t is the duty of nations as well . . . to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord (Ps. 33:12). . . .”
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace—too proud to pray to the God that made us.
There is much consequence when a nation turns from God. After all, Psalm 9:17 (KJV) warns, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” God expects individuals to remember and acknowledge Him, but He also expects nations to do the same.
Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us that in all our ways (public as well as private) we are to acknowledge Him; Psalm 79:6 and Jeremiah 10:25 call for God’s wrath upon all nations that do not call upon His name; and the warranty of 1 Samuel 2:30 that “those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be disdained” was delivered to the nation’s civil leaders, not religious ones. (By David Barton, Founder of WallBuilders. This article was published in The Connecter, published by IFA monthly. To subscribe, call 1-800-USA-PRAY/1-800-872-7729.)