There are certain times in the history of a nation that require nothing less than prayer. For those who do not understand the power or reason for prayer it is seen as weakness and inaction. For those who have a relationship with God, prayer is a vital link between people in distress and a faithful and capable friend during urgent times of need.
People often think of prayer as an attempt to change the mind or heart of God. In fact, prayer is only intended to change the heart of the one praying. God already wants to help, bless, and provide for people. All He is waiting for is for those who trust in Him to ask. We might wonder why, if God wants to do good, He doesn’t just do what needs to be done. It is important to God that we become involved in His plans for human life. He has made us like Him in that we also have caring hearts and a desire to see good in our world. He makes us co-workers with Him to accomplish His will.
It is true that God is sovereign and will accomplish His will, regardless of what human beings do. It is not true that our prayers cannot move the heart of God. We forget that the God who made all that exists is very much like us, with the exception of perfection. All of the goodness, love, and compassion that we feel for people originated with God. He is the very embodiment of what love is. Our broken hearts move God in compassion. We see this in the actions of Jesus when His friend Lazarus had died and Jesus came to his tomb. As Jesus looked around Him and saw all of the devastation in the lives of people who loved Lazarus, the scriptures say that “Jesus wept.” This two word scripture is extremely powerful in that it shows us exactly how God feels when He sees our suffering. Because God cares for us so deeply, He is moved by our prayers to bring comfort and help in times of need.
The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here. But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. —Psalms 103:13-17 (NLT)
Recently, we have watched in horror as hundreds of people in Las Vegas have had their lives shattered by an evil man. We are immediately moved with compassion wanting to do something to help. The most powerful thing that any person can do for one who is suffering or in need is to pray. First, this action will align your heart with God’s heart. He wants to help those in Las Vegas who have been severely affected by this recent horrific event. Second, the Bible describes a power that is energized in our prayers that causes great things to happen in the lives of those we pray for.
If you really want to help but are unable to do much from where you are today, pray and do it often and with sincerity. God hears the prayers of those who intercede for people who are in great need. Pray and you will link your heart with the One who has the power to make changes in the lives of people who are devastated by this terrible event.
Examples Of Effective Intercessory Prayer
The Bible is filled with examples of prayer that was not only effective, but desirable. Jesus taught that it is not so much the words of our prayers that is most important, but the heart that is behind those prayers. Many people struggle to frame their words correctly, thinking that their prayers will be heard if they say them in the correct manner. In reality, God does not look at the words as much as the attitude of our heart. When we examine the prayer of Daniel for his nation and people, we see that the Lord had already heard his prayer, before he had completed what he wanted to say. God was listening to Daniel’s heart and saw that his purpose and reason for praying was correct. For this reason, the Lord dispatched His angel to give Daniel an answer, which became the most important information the word has ever received.
As Daniel is reading from the prophecies of Jeremiah, it is 538 B.C.; and Judah has been in captivity at Babylon for 68 years. Realizing that in just two years, the words of Jeremiah’s prophecy will be fulfilled, Daniel begins to pray for his nation and people.
Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 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, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day. —Daniel 9:3-23
This is undoubtably one of the most incredible prayers that is found in the Bible. Daniel is not only speaking a sincere prayer of repentance for himself, but he is also repenting and interceding on behalf of the entire nation of Israel. The form of Daniel’s supplication before the Lord is a model for intercessory prayer for all those who sincerely seek the Lord’s forgiveness. Daniel does not hold God responsible for the trouble and difficulties that he and his nation have found themselves in. Daniel blames himself and his people for their sins and disobedience which have caused their suffering.
In response to this sincere prayer, God dispatches His angel to answer Daniel’s prayer, even before he has finished praying.
…yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision. —Daniel 9:20-23
The vision that Gabriel gives Daniel is a distant prophetic look at the nation of Israel and the Jews. In this prophecy, we see the complete plan that God has for Israel, including the arrival of the Messiah, and the seven-year Tribulation period.
In this amazing prophecy, Daniel is told the precise day that the Messiah will arrive in Israel. This subject is covered in depth, in my book: : “Honest Men.”
…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. —James 5:16
Jesus Encouraged Persistent, Fervent Prayer
And I say to you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. If a son shall ask for bread from any of you that is a father, will you give him a stone? or if he asks for a fish, will you give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask for an egg, will you offer him a scorpion? If all of you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
Why does Jesus encourage us to “ask, seek, knock, and to continue to do so when we pray?
The Greek word here for “ask,” is αἰτέω aiteō. It carries the idea of a continuous asking, a determination to receive an answer. The purpose of continuous, persistent prayer, is for the purpose of developing an attitude of faith and certainty that the Lord has the ability to help us, wants to help us, and will help us. A person who continuously requests something from the Lord, over and over again, is one who is certain that the Lord will answer and they will not cease until they have their answer.
The promised result of this persistence is found in the concluding remarks of Jesus:
For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.
Now, either this scripture is true, or it’s not. Either Jesus meant what He said, or what He says, He is not able to fulfill. You will have to make up your own mind about these questions. For those who have been tested by these situations, we have found that Jesus is not only able, but He meant what He said. The thing that is certain is Jesus will always answer us when we pray.
Sometimes we are praying precisely the Lord’s will and He answers us with “yes” and provides what we asked. Other times we are ahead of His plans and the answer is “wait.” In some cases, what we are asking is not the best for us, or it is not in keeping with the will of God, and the answer is “no.”
Finally, concerning the expectation in our prayers, Jesus states that when we ask and He hears us, there will be a consistent quality to the answers that we receive.
If a son shall ask for bread from any of you that is a father, will you give him a stone? or if he asks for a fish, will you give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask for an egg, will you offer him a scorpion?
What we receive from God will always be the best that He can give, in accordance with our genuine need. We might think that we require a particular thing, yet when the Lord answers our prayer, we may not get what we expected but instead what we need. We should be paying close attention to what happens after we pray. The things that take place after we pray, and the things that come to us when we have sought the Lord, are what the Lord is providing; but not necessarily what we asked for.
If all of you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
A Nation In Great Peril
When God calls a nation into existence, He also controls whether or not that nation remains in existence. Just as Israel abandoned God and eventually lost their nation, so also will the United States lose its right to exist if she abandons God.
In the Bible, there is a description by Jesus of, “the men who sit in Moses seat.” These are the men who were in charge of Israel during the time that Jesus came to earth. These men were placed in their positions of power by God, for the purpose of bringing judgement to the nation.
It is my opinion that the United States has been going down the same course that Israel went down—just prior to the loss of their nation. Our former president of eight years, was not the best person for the job; He was, however, what the American people wanted. For this reason, the Lord placed President Obama as our leader and He took our nation down a course that placed us on the brink of destruction.
The national debt has doubled to over 20 Trillion dollars under his leadership, placing the nation on the precipice of national bankruptcy. Same-sex couples may legally marry, degrading the nations moral fabric. Our military has become weak and ineffective; allowing Radical Islamic Terrorists to cause massive blood-shed, all over the world. Our infrastructure is crumbling and is a great state of disrepair. Christians and Jews are experiencing the greatest religious persecution and bias that has ever taken place during the history of the United States.
Atheists have successfully petitioned the government to remove God from virtually every place in American Government. A nation that was founded upon religious liberty and the free exercise thereof, has eroded the first Amendment to the point where “walls” have been built in every phase of American life, to shut out Christian voices and religious worship.
The leaders that our people have elected have done this to us. The leaders that occupied Moses Seat in Israel, as Jesus stood before them were also there because the nation and people had fallen so far away from the Lord.
When nations like Israel and the United States fall away from God, who clearly brought our nations into being by His Grace and Sovereignty; He also allows us to place into leadership—wolves who will bring the final downfall of our land. The Lord is the one who places men and women into positions of power—often as a form of judgement for those nations who have forgotten Him and His word.
There are some scholars who are watching President Trump and feel that he may be a type of Cyrus who God used to bring Israel back to their former glory. As we study Donald Trump we see that he is very similar to King Cyrus. Before Cyrus was born, God called him by name and called him “My Shepherd.” Cyrus was uniquely prepared by God from a very young age to be an agent of change for the entire nation. It is possible that Donald Trump is being used by God for this very purpose.
What we all do now regarding our nation, may determine the future survivability of our people. We can return to God and become a great nation in God’s eyes once again. We can also continue to reject God and push Him out of our lives. This will result in the destruction of our nation and loss of all the peace and freedoms we now enjoy. We are only beginning to see the horrors that can come upon our land. It is not too late and the way into a change is by those who love God to begin to pray and ask God for mercy for our nation. We need national repentance for our many sins that have moved us away from God and brought evil and bloodshed to our shores.
It is God who appoints leaders of nations and He does so for purpose of blessing and judgement. It is clear that our current president is not a perfect man but he is a man of courage and seems to have a sincere desire to return our nation to its former greatness as one nation under God.
We might think that we are electing a president; the reality is that God is placing a person into leadership over our nation. We see an example of this in the Book of Daniel Chapter 4. God tells Nebuchadnezzar that it is He who gives the power to rule, not men.
...In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men. —Daniel 4:17
One of the major reasons for the captivity of the Jews in Babylon for 70 years, was their constant disobedience to the commandments of God. God warned Israel, through Jeremiah the prophet, that if they would not honor Him and listen to Him, they would be destroyed by a foreign nation. Nebuchadnezzar was permitted by God to take Israel captive and remove the best and brightest young men from their land and carry them back to Babylon for 70 years.
There is still time for America if God’s people will pray and seek national repentance and turn back to God once again. This will require each one of us to examine our own life and ask how we can personally turn from things that are not pleasing to God. Individually we must return our own hearts to righteousness, then our entire nation will also be changed. If we pray for our nation, God will hear and He will heal our land and bless us with peace once again.
I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament. —Benjamin Rush, Letters of Benjamin Rush, L. H. Butterfield, editor (Princeton, New Jersey: American Philosophical Society, 1951), Vol. I, p. 475, to Elias Boudinot on July 9, 1788
MILITARY OFFICER; SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; JUDGE; GOVERNOR OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
To the people of New Hampshire . . . to confess before God their aggravated transgressions and to implore His pardon and forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ . . . [t]hat the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be made known to all nations, pure and undefiled religion universally prevail, and the earth be fill with the glory of the Lord. —Josiah Bartlett, Proclamation for a Day of Fasting and Prayer, March 17, 1792
- The Founding of America as a Christian Nation
- The Words of 52 Christian Men Who Founded the United States of America