This Thursday, May 4 is the National Day of Prayer. One look at the state of affairs in our country and around world reveals we may be in the most desperate need of prayer since the early days of the Civil War. When you look here at home you see an immigration situation that is spiraling out of control. You see energy prices creating an economic crisis in many homes. You see a federal legislature paralyzed by political posturing that has become so bad our leaders seem powerless to address even the simplest issues. Both Republicans and Democrats seem more interested in gaining a political advantage than seriously addressing the major issues of the day.
When you look at the world, the view doesn't get much better. The United States is still trying to help the fledgling government of Iraq to take its first baby steps toward the task of governing their own affairs. While this process continues, so does the violence with April being one of the bloodiest months on record for U.S. forces. Iran continues it march toward obtaining nuclear weapons, thumbing its nose a world community that seems to lack the resolve needed to stop them. In the Sudan, genocide continues unabated as the Sudanese government seems unable or just plain unwilling to stop the slaughter. North Korea hasn't gone away and the United States is under serious attack from South America as more countries south of the border line up to join Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in his anti-American rants. And we haven't even mentioned the possibility that millions could die if all the doomsayers are right about bird flu.
Granted, not all the news is bad in America....we have the lowest unemployment rate and one of the best economic situations in our history. But when more people can tell you who was kicked off American idol last week than can tell you who holds the office of Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld) we should know we are a nation in serious trouble.
But we are not a people without options. As I see it, we can throw in the towel and wait for some rogue nation who hates us to nuke a nuclear power plant or we can throw ourselves at the feet of Almighty God and cry out for His mercy and grace. Since Thursday, May 4 is the National Day of Prayer, I think it would be good time for us to stop taking hits at each other and try hitting our knees.
Hebrews 4:16 says, Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help inn time of need." This day we live in my friends, is definitely a time of need. If I can quote contemporary Christian artist Carmen, we need God in America again. We need to individually and corporately enter the throne room of God and we should beg Him for mercy and an extra measure of His grace.
When Jonah finally made it to Nineveh (after spending three days and nights in the belly of a whale because of his rebellion) he preached, the people cried out to God, and the city escaped God's judgment for several hundred years. We need a Jonah today who will call us to repent and bang on the gates of heaven with our prayers until God answers and sends genuine revival.
In Matthew 7:7-12 Jesus tells us why we should pray. We are to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, and knocking and keep on knocking. Why? Because God is good and He knows how to give good gifts to His children. James then reminds us that our asking and seeking must come from a heart that is rightly motivated. James 4:3 says, You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures." James goes on to admonish us to, Humble ourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you."
Humbling ourselves before God reminds me of 2 Chronicles 7:14 which has come to be known as the recipe for national revival, "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
In my lifetime, we have never been in more desperate need for God to hear from heaven and heal our land. I urge you to take time this Thursday to go to your knees and pray for our nation. Pray that God will revive His people and place in them a burning desire for His holiness. Pray for our leaders that they will seek wisdom from God and follow the wisdom God gives.
Finally, pray for the world that God may turn our hearts from the failed application of human solutions and turn us toward our only hope.....His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Director of the Christian Worldview Center at North Greenville College in Tigerville, South Carolina, Dr. Tony Beam received his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and his Doctor of Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Beam also serves as Interim Pastor at Whitefield Baptist Church in Anderson, S.C. and as host of Christian Worldview Today heard Monday through Friday mornings from 7:00am to 8:00am on Christian Talk 660.