A Prayer for the Nation

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank you for the freedom this great country was founded on. For over two hundred years, we have been afforded the right to freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to live as we choose. For that we are grateful, as we see so many other nations that have repressed and oppressed their citizens. I fear we as a nation are moving toward censorship and persecution of Your faithful followers. Grant us the wisom to follow your ways.

 I pray for the one who now sits in the oval office to have a clear mind and a strong body. For he needs to give this country his best efforts. I pray that his attentions will be undivided as he leads this land. May he be for the values that center around faith, family and country. May he put God first in his every waking breath. I pray that he will seek to be morally and ethically pure. That he will listen for the still small voice guiding him toward truth and purity. May his intentions, thoughts, words and actions be pleasing in your sight, Oh Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. May we honor his position and show respect for him, as well as the one who is a heartbeat away from the same position.

I pray that the new administration will not turn their back on your mighty hand of leading. I pray they will humbly seek your face. For it is arrogance and shamelessness that will cause a nation to fall from your grace. I pray that they will lead without reproach. Open their hearts to seek you and to find you when they seek you with their whole hearts.

I pray for those who stand for stopping heartbeats that have never beat on their own. I pray that the hearts of those individuals will once again beat for the unborn. Oh. That they would seek forgiveness for ending the lives of so many innocent ones. May they have a heart for family values. May they stand for the right to life for all conceived.

I pray for those who seek to push an immoral, ungodly agenda onto this nation. May their plans be thwarted and their goals unrealized. I ask that you place courageous believers in high positions to uphold truth and dignity for a nation founded on godly principles. May they not be swayed by financial offerings or greedy ambition. May they seek only your heart for this great nation.

I pray for those who seek to do harm to the one who has left the highest office in the land. I pray that they will repent of their hatred and venom. Heavenly Father, forgive them when they run to you for forgiveness. And have mercy on their souls when they repent. For they know not what they do. Their hearts have been hardened to the truth. And they no longer seek to show honor where honor is due.


Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14


I pray for the one who has left the oval office. His words and actions have pleased many, but gravely offended others. May he seek your forgiveness even though he believes it isn’t required of him. He too will one day bow before you, as will his accusers. I pray that as he moves to private citizenship that you will guard him from the schemes of the devil. Those of his own making and those who are bent on destroying him. May evil plans not succeed. I pray that you will shield him from danger and protect his family from the evil intent of others. Bless his honest endeavors and may his ventures succeed.

I pray that any hypocrisy and corruption will be exposed at the highest levels. I pray for truth to be shared and applauded and evil to be on full display and punished to the full letter of the law.  Root out the evil and wickedness while it is still day. For the night will fall and the lost will not be saved. Father, heal this nation.

You alone, Father, know the plans you have for this great nation. Have we squandered the good from our children’s future? Will they suffer for the sins of their forefathers? Will they be prepared for the persecution that may fall upon them? Draw their hearts to you. God have mercy, I beg.

Is this change in leadership our final call to repentance? Is this our last opportunity for revival? Father, set our hearts toward our eternal home. For our only hope is in you. Not in a man sitting in a basement or in an oval office. Deliver us from the hypocrisy that is feeding our newsrooms.

 Oh. I pray for believers to desperately seek you while you may be found. May we repent of our selfish ways. May we have contrite and humble hearts. Show us your grace and mercy, I pray. Forgive us for abusing your grace. We so take it for granted.

I pray for those who ignore you. And for those who blaspheme your name. When they finally bow before your throne and call you Lord one day, may they see the folly of their ways. Will you have mercy on their souls or will you allow the harshest eternal punishment? You are Lord and You are God. Your ways are higher than our ways. Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Do as you will.

I find myself reaching more and more for my Bible. God, I’m searching for reassurance that you are faithful when our country is faithless. I yearn for the peace that only You can give. I seek comfort in knowing that my heavenly Father loves me even when I am unlovely.

Father, I pray that the revival will begin with me.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Uncharted Waters

John was sent to live in exile on the island of Patmos as a result of anti-Christian persecution. His crime: he preached the word of God and he lived his life as a testimony for Jesus. He lived and survived alone on that island. All alone.

But he wasn’t alone.

During John’s exile, God was close to him. God was all he had. God spoke to him through a vision. John wrote down everything he saw in the vision. The name of his book is Revelation. It is the last book of the Bible. It’s a unique book full of visions and prophecies. God spoken words in a time of aloneness but never alone.

What does a man do all alone on an island? How does he spend his time? How does he survive? What goes through his mind? Will he be bored with only God to talk to? Does he have God’s word stored in his heart? Can he can dig through the reservoir of his mind and find strength and comfort from his knowledge of Scripture? When all has been lost, is his faith in God alone enough?


Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12


We may feel like we’re living in exile at this moment in history. But we’re not. Some of us are living with family. Some are alone, but they keep in touch with family and friends. If you know someone who is truly alone, reach out. Check on them.

This time in history is a first for everyone. Uncharted waters for even the best of us. Now is the time to gather your family close. Those who live with you. Those you can be with. Keep in touch with family and friends. The contact means so much.

Oh. Things have changed. We can no longer shop in stores. visit a salon. eat in a restaurant. go to a movie. Sure. These closings are temporary, but they’re new to us. We’ve never experienced anything like this. This change will continue without an ending in sight. Who knew?

Private funerals. Private weddings. Even close family members can’t attend. Hospital patients alone without family or visitors. Everyone needs to stay in place.

Oh. It’s easy to be frustrated. My hair appointment was only 5 days away when it was canceled. My grocery store was out of potatoes. The bakery that makes my dogs favorite treats has been out of them for weeks. I’ve had to start working from home. Petty inconveniences.

Lean in. They say. Hold your loved ones a little closer. Look across the room at the one who stole your heart. Think back to the reason they won your heart. And pause. Remember the moments of first love. And recall the reasons you chose to say “I do”. Make the most of this time with your loved ones.

Watch your children as they do homework. Oh. You may have never planned to home school, but now you are. Make the most of it. Be patient. Extend grace. Show mercy. Have fun. Let these days be the good times your kids look back on when they are older.

Allow yourself to become bored. This could spur you on to learn a new hobby. A hobby that could be life changing. Or not. But who knows what change can do for you. Be willing to explore. Read a book. Take a walk. Try a new recipe. Let your hair grow. You have no choice in the matter. Embrace it.

Pay it forward to the grocery worker. Pharmacy staff. Delivery drivers. Bankers. Healthcare workers. First responders. City, county, state and national employees. Everyone needs a break every now and then. Don’t judge a person’s politics. Embrace differences. But keep your convictions.

Lasting self confidence is built in pure faith in God. Trusting and obeying God in the hard times of life builds a strong reliance on him that produces an unmatched strength of character. 

In Christ alone I place my trust. 

This period of isolation may be the time in your life where you reap the greatest blessings from God. This may be the season where you find life’s true meaning. Trust the master of the uncharted waters to lead you to new depths in your walk with him. 

Read a book. Study the Bible. Memorize Scripture. Live out the Beatitudes. Honor those in authority. Pray. Really pray.

That money you would typically spend at a restaurant or sports event or concert. That money you would use to pay for a haircut or a massage or a pedicure. All that discretionary money you aren’t spending right now. Put it into savings. Or give to a needy nonprofit organization. Send an extra check to your church. Give to others in need. After all, how many new clothes or shoes do you need if you’re staying home all day? How much food or toilet paper do you need to hoard when others can’t pay their rent? How do you expect charities to help when they don’t have the funds coming in? How is a church supposed to help in times of crisis if believers aren’t faithful in giving their tithes and offerings?

Be generous. Be the giver. Be the gift. Chart new waters.

Bold Prayers

Do I dare to pray boldly? What request do I have that would seem rather bold and extraordinary to bring to God? Do I dare tell him the deep longings of my heart? Do I risk sharing heartfelt needs that only He knows? The ones He already knows.

When I think of my prayers, I think they’re bland. They’re not daring. They don’t make me uncomfortable. They don’t take my breath away with the thought that I just asked such a bold thing of God. But why not? Why don’t I pray extreme prayers? I don’t want to be complacent, but then I don’t like the thought of being uncomfortable either. I can’t have it both ways. 

I want to pray boldly. I want to see first world miracles. But what exactly is that? What is a first world miracle? What miracle could I possibly need today that would satisfy my deepest longings? Perhaps it’s not my needs I should focus on. Perhaps I should look at the bigger picture and consider the needs of others before mine.

Oh.  I get it.  People in third world countries pray for their basic needs to be met.  Sometimes on a daily basis. Missionaries in foreign countries pray for safety and protection.  They pray for God to provide immediate desperate needs. But I don’t live in a third world country. 

Oh. I trust God. I do. So why don’t I ask for things bigger than I can imagine? Why don’t I make requests that seem impossible? After all. Nothing is impossible with God.


And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.  1 John 5:14-15


I don’t have to wonder where my next meal is coming from. I don’t worry about where I will sleep at night. I have a closet full of clothes. I don’t doubt that my family loves me. I have enough money to pay my bills. My health is good. I have everything I need.

So what should my bold prayers look like? What should I ask for in bold faith? Perhaps the boldness comes in not asking for petty things.  The need isn’t always about having stuff.

Perhaps I’m afraid to pray bold prayers. Perhaps I’ll discover that my bold prayers are answered. Or maybe they’re not. Can’t I reach out in faith and pray those prayers that might just break open heaven’s floodgates? Imagine what might happen.

The King of kings says to come boldly to his throne.  He says we have the same power that caused Jesus to rise from the dead. This offer is free for the taking, because he’s already paid the price.

We need to pray specific, continual radical prayer says Greg Pruett. He also says we should intentionally pray the kinds of prayers that tap into all of Jesus’ open-ended promises about prayer in a way that achieves maximum Kingdom impact.

Oh. I’ve prayed bold prayers. Others have prayed bold prayers. And they’ve been answered. I think of the prayer for the unborn baby who received a diagnosis in the womb. Family and friends prayed for that baby. He was born perfect and healthy.

I think of two churches. One looking for a new location. The other was looking to overcome a tough financial situation. Both churches were praying. Believing God would provide the miracle. Little did they know that God was working on a plan to combine those two churches in one overwhelmingly beautiful location.

The thing about praying bold prayers is that I need to be comfortable with the answers God gives. I must be willing to accept his miracles as he performs them. They may not always be the answers I would have chosen or dreamed of, but they are still answers and miracles. I must be willing to accept the gifts as they are given.

What if I prayed for God to work his plan in my life, instead of asking for him to work my plan. What if I asked God to do the impossible instead of asking for the probable. What if I stepped aside and allowed God to do what only he can do. What if.

Running in Place

She said she’s in the middle.  The middle of life.

I’ve been thinking about that lately.  I’m not on the mountain top.  But I’m not in the valley.  Oh.  I was in both situations not too long ago.  No.  Not at the same time.  But unemployment was the valley.  Getting a new job was the mountain.  But now.  Now I find I’m in the middle.  And I feel stuck.  Oh.  I should be thankful.  And I am.  But I sometimes I wish I wasn’t where I am.

No.  I don’t want to be back in the valley.  I’m thankful to have a new job.  It’s just that the job is turning out to be something that isn’t comfortable.  Oh.  I have hopes of things evening themselves out.  Of feeling comfortable.  Of feeling that I can do this job.  But for now.  It’s tough.

Elisabeth Elliott said that when you’re in a tough spot, there’s something to do.  Just do the next thing.  Whatever comes next in what you do, just do it.  So that’s what I’m doing.  The next thing.  Don’t look too far ahead.  Just do the next thing.

I’m not running away from the job.  But I do find that I am running.  I’m running to Jesus more and more.  And isn’t that what he wants from us?  In spite of good or bad, I should be running to him.  Running for my life to the life giver.

I find I want to run from my discomfort. But instead I need to run to Jesus. Don’t try to escape the discomfort. Try to embrace it and hold on to the one who has great plans for me. This season could be the time of growth I need for the next phase of my life. Trust God and his plan. Run to him like I’ve never run before.

I’ve never been a runner.  Oh.  I’ve tried.  I’ve tried those starter methods of walking a few minutes.  Then running a few minutes.  In the hopes that I can build up my running time into more minutes.  It just never worked for me.  I couldn’t get my breathing to work right.  So I gave up.  I decided walking was my sport of choice.


Pray that you will not give in to temptation.  Luke 22:40


I think of Jesus.  When he was in the fight for his life.  His human life.  Oh.  He ran.  He ran right to his Father.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed and asked his Father to remove the cup of suffering from him.  The burden of going to the cross.  Of dying.  He asked to be excused from the discomfort.  From the pain and agony.  Was this his humanity speaking?  What did he know of the suffering that was ahead for him?

The next morning when he heard the angry mob shouting for him to be crucified.  I wonder.  Did he run again to his Father?  Did he beg for mercy once again?

But no.  The night before while crying out to his Father, he surrendered.  He had surrendered his will.  Your will.  Not mine.  Then he stood and walked through the pain.  The torture.  The suffering.  The death.

God refused to change his plans.  He allowed His only Son to be tortured and crucified.  He allowed His Son to die.  But his death fulfilled God’s ultimate plan.  His death provided a way for me to spend eternity with him.  His death was not in vain.

So why should I ask God to remove my discomfort?  Why should I expect God to give me an easy life?  Why should I expect God to remove obstacles that I want out of my way?  Perhaps I should pray that I don’t yield to temptation to walk away from the discomfort when I know I am fulfilling God’s plan.  Perhaps I will find peace in the surrender to God as he walks with me in my pain.  Perhaps in my suffering, I will be anointed with the same power that he has.  I pray that my discomfort will not be in vain.