We hear continually that we must pray for our nation. But what is our first step? Revival prayer. Only prayer can hold back the floodtide of sin and God’s judgment upon us. Only prayer and our serious commitment will release the cleansing, healing hand of God.
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).
God’s Word gives us historical accounts of His mercy, deliverance, and revival among His people. One good example that applies to us today is when Israel had been taken captive by the Babylonians (Babylon is the ancient name for Iraq). In Daniel 9 we have a prayer that Daniel offered to God to deliver the Israelites from their captivity. There is perhaps no better model for how to pray in dire circumstances — such as those we face today — than Daniel’s prayer.
Pray with Serious Concentration
Daniel said, “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). To “set our face” refers to the faith and fervency of our prayers. We are to sincerely pray with every inch of our being as individuals and as the church as a whole. But not just any prayer. How serious is “serious”? It must be prayer and fasting.
What is 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.
Why do we fast?
We are to fast with the correct motivation…not polishing our spiritual “image” so we look good and “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.”
What can fasting do?
Fasting will strengthen your prayer life and turn you to God. When we fast we give Heaven notice that we are earnest about seeking God with all of our heart! Fasting also brings faith into focus and holds back God’s judgment.
How should we fast?
First of all, you need to pray about it. Then prayerfully choose your fast. As mentioned earlier, fasting can be going without food, but it can also be going without water or other pleasures for a spiritual purpose. If you’re sick, on medication, or pregnant, then 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; 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.
Pray with Steadfast Confidence
The basis of your prayer is the greatness and mercy of God (see Daniel 9:4,9). Daniel knew that our God is One for whom we must have reverential fear and awe, but he also knew that our great God is full of mercy. The psalmist said, “But as for me, I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy: and in Thy fear will I worship toward Thy holy temple” (Psalm 5:7).
The writer of Hebrews exhorts, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). In Jesus Christ, “we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.” (Ephesians 3:12)
Pray with Sincere Confession
Just as sin brings judgment, confession brings forgiveness. Daniel confessed his personal sin and the sin of his nation. (Daniel 9:4-7,20)
If we want to see this nation turn toward God, it is vital that each person reading this go individually before God and confess personal sin. Thank God, “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). 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.
Daniel also prayed for God to forgive the sin of the nation collectively. 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. You can identify with your nation and do this as well, because the wicked people of this nation are not going to pray for themselves.
We need to confess our pride and materialism, 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.
We must pray as our Savior did as He hung on the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Then pray with spiritual concern that they will seek His forgiveness for themselves.
Pray with Spiritual Concern
What were Daniel’s concerns when he prayed?
We need to 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? James 5:16 says: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”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?
Just as plants need certain essentials to grow---light, water, and fertile soil---so do new Christians, babes in the faith. Without these essential basic truths of the faith, they will never establish strong roots or bear fruit.Adrian Rogers has written this book to give believers the nurture and care their faith needs to blossom and grow. What Every Christian Ought to Know seeks to give intellectual truth, and also provide the "spiritual nutrients" required to produce mature faith.