by Kim Josephson
One of the best things that has come from the attack on America has been a renewed sense of unity and patriotism in our country. Even my son Keegan has gotten into the act. He rolls around on his skates in our driveway and waves a 4ft American flag at people going down the road. But after all the blood drives, money collections and other giving of time and resources, there is something more that we can do. We can pray for America.
The volunteerism that has sprung from this tragedy must not be allowed to subside. We, the Church, must commit ourselves to prayer. I'm not talking about an unspecific sort of prayer that asks God to bless America while we decimate our enemies. I'm talking about specifically humbling ourselves before God and confessing our sins as a nation. In Daniel 9, the righteous Danielís prayer is recorded to teach us how to pray in this manner. Beginning with vs 4:
O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice. And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
I have printed it out for your convenience. Now notice first, that Daniel is one of the only people in the Bible who is depicted as a thoroughly righteous man and yet, hear how he humbles himself. Vs3: And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth and ashes. Listen as he prays. We have sinned, we have committed iniquity, we have rebelled by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgements. Vs8 :O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face because we have sinned against Thee. Vs10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God to walk in His laws.
Can we not pray this prayer with Daniel? Was their sin any greater than our own? I don't think so. In fact, our sin is multiplied more than theirs simply because of the great light we have been given. Why then this boasting? Why then this expectancy of blessing without the least humility or repentance. Perhaps our pride is more repugnant to God than any of the more seemingly outrageous sins we are so prepared to condemn.
If you love America, then PRAY FOR AMERICA. Keep this back page handy and get down on your knees and read it, out lowd, unto the Lord, substituting our name in the place of Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem. We must do this and we must do this now! We have not been faithful to God. He has been faithful to us, but we have not been faithful to Him - certainly not as a nation. Let us repent before it is too late! O God, give us repentance and grant us mercy. Won't you pray with me? Won't you repent with me? Can't we do this for America?