July 5, 2020
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, How to Pray for America.
We hear continually that we must pray for our nation. But what should we pray? You hear people say every day: “God bless America.” But first America has to be a nation God can bless. How should we pray for America? We must pray revival prayer. Only prayer can hold back the floodtide of sin and God’s judgment upon us.
Only our serious commitment to pray will release the cleansing, healing hand of God. We’re at a crossroads, and we dare not be lackadaisical. Dr. Francis Schaeffer said, “One of these days soon if we do not change, we’re going to wake up and find the America we once knew is gone.”
Have we crossed a deadline in America? Is it too late for our nation? No, absolutely not. God is righteous and holy. But He is also merciful. And He would rather show mercy than judgment. He wants to forgive. He is willing to change His mind. (See Exodus 32:14 and Psalm 106:23.)
The Bible gives many historical accounts of God’s mercy, deliverance, and revival among His people as examples for us. One of the best is Daniel, a high government official and faithful Jewish believer in Babylon (ancient Iraq), who prayed for his homeland, Israel, when Israel had been taken captive by the Babylonians. What does this have to do with America? Church, this God-blessed nation of ours has been taken captive by the world, the flesh, and the devil. We must have a national, moral, and spiritual revival. Without that, there is no hope.
Daniel 9 records the prayer he offered to God to deliver the Israelites from their captivity. There’s no better model for how to pray in dire circumstances—like those we face today—than Daniel’s prayer.
In a time of national calamity, Daniel prayed like this: “Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.” (Daniel 9:3). See the faith and fervency of Daniel’s prayers. God heard and answered.
When we talk about our nation, we must first talk about the house of God—the church—for the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God. We as a church must repent. How many churches across America are “playing church,” praying without fasting, witnessing without tears, giving without sacrifice. Is it any wonder we sow without reaping?
If we’re to have God in America again, prayer is the order of the day—not just ordinary prayers, but prayers that touch His heart. The hour is desperate. We must wake up and commit to serious prayer.
The serious faith and fervency of our prayers are what count with God. with every inch of your being both as individuals and as the church as a whole. But not just any prayer. How serious is “serious”? It must be prayer and fasting.
Fasting is not merely going without food. It is not dieting or cutting down on our eating for health reasons, though we ought to do that. Fasting is going without food, water, or other pleasures for a spiritual purpose.
We must fast with the correct motivation…not polishing our spiritual image so we look “holy,” but as unto the Lord. Matthew 6:17-18 says,
But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Fasting will strengthen your prayer life and turn you to God. When we fast we give Heaven notice that we’re earnest about seeking God with all of our heart. Fasting also brings faith into focus and holds back God’s judgment. Preachers across America have been telling us we’re ripe for judgment. But if we fast and pray, God will hold back the judgment we deserve. God wants to forgive. God wants to show mercy. He would rather show mercy than judgment.
Have we crossed a deadline in America? Is it too late for our nation? No, absolutely not. In Jeremiah 18:7-8, God says,
The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 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.
He is saying, “If I prophesy judgment, I’m going to bring judgment, but if that nation will repent and seek My face, I will turn from the judgment I planned.”
First, pray about it. Then prayerfully choose your fast. As previously mentioned, fasting can be going without food, but it can also be going without other pleasures for a spiritual purpose. If you’re sick, on medication, or pregnant, talk to your doctor first. There is no legalism in fasting. For some, a fast can be taking juices or clear liquids—the purpose is to give your full attention to prayer and to the issue you are laying before God. And with each twinge of hunger, you are reminded all the more of your purpose—you are reminded to pray. It also frees up more time in your day; the time you’d have spent eating will now be spent in focused prayer.
If you have never fasted, a one-day fast is a good beginning. And choose a day when your activities are light, so you can give your time to prayer. Plan ahead of time that you’re going to fast.
Finally, remember to fast as instructed in God’s Word: that is, don’t boast or brag about what you’re doing or for what purpose.
The basis of your prayer is the greatness and mercy of God.
And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments…. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. (Daniel 9: 4, 9)
Daniel knew we must have reverential awe for God, but he also knew our great God is full of mercy. Isn’t it wonderful that though God is holy and righteous, and He could have rejected us because of our sinfulness, He didn’t? Instead, because of His great love, He reaches out with mercy. When we see both His greatness and His mercy, we can pray with confidence.
Just as sin brings judgment, confession brings forgiveness. An amazing thing about this prayer warrior, Daniel, is that the Bible never records Daniel committing a single sin! Yet, that doesn’t mean Daniel never sinned. Daniel confessed both his personal sin and the sin of his nation in chapter nine. (See Daniel 9:4-7, 20.)
If we want our nation to turn to God, every follower of the Lord Jesus Christ must go individually before God and confess personal sin. Be assured, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Daniel also prayed for God to forgive the collective sin of his nation. I call this “Identification Repentance.” Daniel humbly identified himself with his nation and asked God to have mercy, even though Daniel himself had lived a godly life. Like Daniel, you must identify with your nation and do this, because wicked people in this nation aren’t going to pray for themselves.
What must we confess? Our greed. Our pride and materialism, our neglect of the poor, our racism, sexual immorality, the merciless killing of the unborn, and the godless humanism that has invaded and pervaded our public schools. There is no sin—none—that is beyond God’s forgiveness. Rape. Murder. Pillage. Abortion. Sodomy. Every sin is covered under the blood of Jesus.
Pray intently that our nation’s people will seek His forgiveness for themselves as individuals. There’s no time for finger-pointing—only time for repentance and national confession. Identify yourself with your nation. We are a God-ordained nation. No nation ever had such a Christian beginning as America, but now we’re turning from our faith and freedoms, and the result is they are quickly receding over the horizon.
What were Daniel’s concerns when he prayed?
Pray for God to cleanse us and remove our guilt. Without this, we cannot expect God to bring revival. How I praise Him that with a multitude of sins, He has a multitude of mercy.
Oh, that every Christian would have a burning, yearning heart for the glory of God! I want to see God’s glory spread over this land. I want to see God do something that cannot be explained by the television pundits, news anchors, and newspaper journalists. I want something that cannot be explained by technology, personality, propaganda, or persuasion.
It is prayer time in America. I want to ask you, are you on praying ground?
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16)
Prayer is our greatest resource and God is our only true hope. Only prayer can hold back sin and judgment and release the cleansing, healing hand of God. Will you pray?
If you don’t have a heart inclined to prayer, would you ask God to give you one? If you’ve been caught up with the toys and trivialities of this world, its pride and pleasure, ask Him, “Oh God, speak to my heart today. Send revival; let it begin in me. Then Lord, let it move into my family, into my class, my church, my city, and into this world.”
If you’re a patriot, the most patriotic thing you can do is not say “my country is right or wrong,” but to give your heart to Jesus Christ, get saved, and have your sin forgiven.
We'd love to give you the opportunity to pray to discover Jesus & pray to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord. You can do that here.