May 4, 2023, is the National Day of Prayer, and I am believing for a tremendous response in our nation on this day and not something that makes a few glib prayers asking for blessings. I am looking for a response the Lord wanted from His people, where we humble ourselves and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways that He might heal our land. I am looking for a response in line with Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of a National Fast Day, where we cry out to God to end the division that is destroying this country.
A resolution adopted by the Senate on March 3, 1863, asked President Lincoln to proclaim a National Day of Prayer and Fasting. This resolution was signed by Lincoln on March 30, and the proclamation he wrote is something I personally found impossible to read without weeping. Even today we have a National Day of Prayer, occurring on May 4 of this year. And my prayer is that our Senate, our Congress, our president—our nation—could return to the principles expressed in Lincoln’s proclamation with the same passion and determination to engage in a committed time of prayer to the Lord.
Lincoln’s proclamation was written in 1863 during the Civil War. We may not be having an actual civil war, but we are just as divided as they were at that time. This division is a dangerous condition because a nation divided against itself will not stand. If we cannot reverse the course we are on, this nation will no longer be able to stand in the place it has been to the world as a blessing, as a peacekeeper, and as a purveyor of Judeo-Christian values that are so important for humankind to be living in.
Second Chronicles 7 provides an example of how a nation is to pray when it has lost the favor of God. And God promises that if we seek Him, if we humble ourselves before Him and turn from our wicked ways, He will forgive our sin and heal our land. On this National Day of Prayer let us as humble ourselves and repent of every way in which we have been taken captive by other things and served other gods. God restore Your presence to this country.
- 2 Chronicles 6:36–42. “If they return to You with all their heart … then hear from heaven.”
- 2 Chronicles 7:1. “When Solomon had finished praying, … the glory of the LORD filled the house.”
- 2 Chronicles 7:11–14. “If … My people who are called by My name humble themselves … then I will hear from heaven.”
- Isaiah 24:5–6. “The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants. … Therefore, a curse devours the earth.”
- 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our
sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Taken from “Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day,” by Abraham Lincoln. http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/fast.htm
- “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 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! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
- “All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.”
- America, as with other nations, is facing the consequences of its actions. The devastation that we are facing does not even need to be attributed to God’s judgment. Do not blame it on God. Open your eyes and heart to recognize that the consequences we face are the results of our own actions. They are simply a natural response like the laws of physics. They are transpiring because of what we have done and what we continue to do.
- On this National Day of Prayer, let us focus on fervent repentance and confession to the Lord of our sins, our disobedience, and our falling away from Him and His Word.
- Do not forget the promise that the Lord made to Solomon. If His people humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways, He will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land. We also know that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.