Today, Sunday March 15, 2020 has been declared a “national day of prayer”. I know to many that seems trite, or archaic or ridiculously futile. If you feel that way about prayer or God, then pass, I guess.
Or maybe instead be open to the idea that our attitudes about God and our actions regarding his commandments and their accompanying blessings may have some validity after all.
I believe and assert that America is a choice land, a covenant land. Covenants are two-way promises between God and individuals or even God and nations. God ALWAYS sets the terms, not us. And He always keeps his side of the agreement; the only question that remains is, do we?
George Washington – a leader like no other – understood this principle. In May of 1779 he called for a day of “fasting, humiliation and prayer” and throughout his records he relayed countless incidences where “providence” and divine intervention are what enabled a group of unorganized patriots to defeat the greatest standing army of its day.
Abraham Lincoln understood it, too. During the Civil War, President Lincoln declared April 30, 1863, as a day of national prayer. On this and other occasions, he openly recognized that God was CURSING America for its many SINS, including slavery. He called on Americans to repent:
“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. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
I agree with President Lincoln. And it’s odd that I find myself also agreeing with those who take the sentiment of “thoughts and prayers” to be a little too easy to throw out there. But we agree on it for different reasons. They because that seems silly. I because I think it’s lip service. What’s needed and what will bring Providential intervention and healing, is for you and I, as individuals, and for all of us as a nation to examine what President Lincoln outlined above and confess our individual and nationals sins and pray for clemency and forgiveness and – repent.
Me first. I hope you’ll join me.