Our verse for today is from James 5:17-18, “Elijah was a man with a nature just like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
This morning, I wanted to talk a little bit about prayer and our nation. We have the awesome privilege to be able to pray to our God at any second of any day. He does not grant us merely one day a year nor one day a week to come before Him. In fact, you are probably familiar with several stories Jesus told to teach us to pray and ask God on a regular, persistent basis. And Paul many times mentions how he prayed always and continually for the people and their lives. Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9 is full of confession and pleas for God’s mercy, but not just so Israel will be a great nation. No, Isaiah tells us that all nations before Him are as nothing. They are as small dust on the scales and as a drop in a bucket. Daniel tells us the only reason why God might be willing to hear our prayers for our nation. It’s the same reason He delivered Israel out of Egypt with a mighty hand – that He might make Himself a name. God will bless and restore our land only if it will bring Him glory and honor. He’s not interested in whether our country is great or not, or if we even exist. He can raise up a country out of the rocks on the ground. He certainly didn’t prevent Israel from being knocked around and reminded of who He was. So He doesn’t bother with which nation is more powerful or influential or tolerant. Daniel prayed that God would hear, forgive, listen, and act for His sake alone.
Our prayers shouldn’t be concerned with making our land great. Our prayers should be for God to be glorified in the hearts of the people, that we might value Him over His blessings. That might sound impossible given the current condition of our society, but think of the challenge to pray for no rain for over three years. And if we can pursue that kind of righteousness, then perhaps instead of returning our country to some former state of prominence or glory, He would find it in His grace to call us home.
As we seek Him today, pray for God’s name to be holy throughout America. Pray that God might take what man intends for evil and intend it for good.