And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. … We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!1I could hardly read this Proclamation without weeping. It reminded me of Solomon’s prayer when he dedicated the Temple to the Lord (2 Chronicles 6:19–42). Just as Solomon warned the people, we today are experiencing the devastating consequences of our actions. Like the laws of physics, these consequences are transpiring because of what we have done and continue to do. In our deep division in this country, we are in a dangerous place because a nation divided against itself will not stand (Luke 11:17). We must reverse the course that we are on; otherwise, this nation will no longer be able to stand in the place of being a blessing, a peacekeeper, and a purveyor of Judeo-Christian values. As we humble ourselves, let us ask God to be our answer in restoring peace to our nation by breaking the spirits of division that have so decimated this country over the last several years. Our cry is for God to fill this nation again with His presence. But this will only happen as we humble ourselves, seek His face, seek His will, and turn from our wicked ways so that He might come and heal our land. This year the National Day of Prayer is on May 4, 2023. Let us focus on fervent repentance and confess to the Lord our sins, our disobedience, and our falling away from Him. Remember that God promised Solomon that if His people responded correctly, He would come and heal their land. Believe with me for this to be the most effective National Day of Prayer that we have ever known. Let us seek God with all our hearts: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).2 Father, clothe us with Your salvation and let Your godly ones rejoice in what is good (2 Chronicles 6:41). 1 “Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day,” Abraham Lincoln Online. Source: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler et al. http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/fast.htm. 2 All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).
A Nation Whose God Is the Lord
In 1863 during the American Civil War, Senator James Harlan of Iowa introduced a resolution in the US Senate requesting that President Abraham Lincoln proclaim a National Day of Prayer and Fasting. Realizing the dire situation facing our country, Lincoln agreed and wrote the “Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day.” I encourage you to read his entire Proclamation and have included a portion of it here: