Acknowledging Self in Prayer for a Nation

I’ve been meaning to start posting again for a long time. I have a huge amount of ideas on what to post about, but I had trouble picking what I wanted to write about next. However, this has been one lingering thought that seems to push its way through my mind on a regular basis. It also strikes me that it may be appropriate based off the more fervent talk lately of how far gone our country is, and with all the hype of the next election coming up.

I want to give a background to this post, but I also feel I first need to give a disclaimer. This post is largely just me expressing some of my own thoughts on what God has been teaching me personally. Perhaps you may end up finding that He is trying to teach you the same thing after reading this, or perhaps not. I don’t think this post can apply to everyone universally, but it has certainly applied to me.

Many weeks ago my pastor was talking about our need to pray for our country and its leaders. It was a good sermon, and really hit me on my lack of prayers towards issues our country faces. At the end of the service he left time for us to practice this application and pray for our country. I began to go through my recycled prayer for our country. I prayed for God to bless it. I prayed for God to bless its leaders. I prayed for God to help this country turn back to Him, but then something peculiar happened. God began to ask me how I am having an impact on answering these prayers.

I was reminded of Nehemiah’s prayers when he heard of Israel’s suffering. He prayed a prayer of confession to God. He acknowledged how Israel had turned their back on him, but he took it a step further. He confessed the sins of his house, and even his own sins playing a part in that betrayal against God.

I was really convicted in that moment. I have prayed for God to revive this country so often, and I have even confessed my own sins in prayer, but I don’t think I had ever connected the two in my prayers. I wasn’t acknowledging when my sins of silence in the face of evil let it run rampant to harm this nation and the individuals in it. I was not confessing how my sins of anger and resentment towards others was hurting the country at a foundational level. I wasn’t acknowledging the moments where a fall short of God’s standard as a husband and a father hurt the family unit that any nation of God is a foundational building block for.

It just hit me incredibly hard. I also talked about how the only way this nation will turn around is by impacting the individual, but my prayers had been ignoring the most important individual for me in that process, that is, me specifically. I am the only individual that I can directly control to have an impact on this world.

When I pray confessing of the failures of this nation I lump myself into that now. That was something that had been missing for me. I think sometimes it is missing in those really public prayers as well. Maybe you have heard some of them before. It is those prayers about the people who are ripping this nation apart, and how God would heal those people so that we can bring this nation back to greatness without obstacles.

The truth is I may not be ripping this world nation apart as quick as the guy who walks into a school and slaughters children, or as quick as the activists who protect the right to kill children before they are born, or those who demand we take God out of everything in the public eyes, and leave him inside the homes of those who still care, but even my what are my little sins in the grand scheme of things are added onto an incredible large pile of issues.

This is not to say that I do not still speak out against those things. We should NEVER stop doing that. We need to continually speak truth into this world, but through that truth we must constantly use it as a light for personal reflection in our own lives as well.

So this has been my prayer lately. Lots of people who read this probably already do something similar, nor should anyone be pressured to pray a prayer like this, but this has given me a fresher perspective to bring what seems like a distant issue closer to home for me. It has been tweaked, and continues to be, but it has been loosely taken out of Nehemiah’s own prayer.

Father, thank you for your unconditional love and promises you have made to us. I know my actions don’t deserve it, but please listen to what I have to say. Please do not remind us of your promises through your mercy. We need your mercy because we have continually turned away from you. My actions have played a role in this as well. My sins has caused damage to my relationships with others, and has had the potential to affect how others relate to you as well.

I asked that you would still remember your promises you have made. I ask that you would help me to feel you draw near to me as I draw near to you now. I thank you that I can come to you like this because of your redemptive power, and I ask that you would continue to ignite a fire in me that can spread across this nation.