Effective Prayer for a Nation
“…the exhortation to the church to pray for good government is inextricably linked to the advance of the Kingdom of God.”
God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause Your face to shine upon us, that Your way may be known on earth, and Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth will yield her increase; and God, our own God, shall bless us. He shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him. Psalm 67
Your Nation has a Kingdom Destiny:
The Apostle Paul stood up in front of a group of philosophers in a pagan city and preached this amazing message found in Acts 17:26, “God has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings so that they should seek the Lord…” You were chosen and appointed to live in a particular time and place; the boundaries of your nation were set from before the beginning of time in order that man might seek and find the Lord! Your attitude and in fact your involvement as an intercessor and Spirit-filled Christian in and toward the purposes of God in your nation is a major part of your own spiritual destiny and inheritance.
Later as Paul is about to give up his life for the gospel, he writes instruction to Timothy, his spiritual son and new apostle and elder in the church: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Prayer is the first assignment to the church when it comes together. First of all, “I exhort.” Paul is letting his protégé know this is what the church is to do when they come together. It is no different in our day — first of all, our assignment is prayer. God has one vehicle and two methods to advance the kingdom of God on the earth. The one vehicle is the church of Jesus Christ. The two methods are prayer and proclamation of the gospel. We are to pray for our government for kings and all those in authority for the purpose of spreading the gospel through preaching. This is not a self-centered prayer; this is an ambassadorial prayer of the Church. The focus is not so that we can be happy in our four little walls; it’s that we can live in a society that is absent of chaos and repression and suppression in order that out of that liberty, the spread of the gospel through preaching is loosed, and all men may be saved.
Therefore the exhortation to the church to pray for good government is inexplicably linked to the advance of the Kingdom of God. This is Scripture. The Bible does not recognize the separation of church and state. In fact, the Bible indicates to us that the condition of the state is contingent upon the condition of the church and vice versa.
In Matthew 18:19 Jesus tells His disciples, which includes you and me, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” This word “agree,” means to harmonize; but it’s the Greek word from which we get our word for symphony. Our spiritual mentor, Derek Prince, used to say, that “It’s not so much a matter of getting God to answer our prayers, as it is getting Him to hear our prayers.” Scripture clearly says, “If He hears us, He will answer.” Jesus said, “If He hears us, we have what we ask.” In physics we find that sound waves can either amplify each other (increasing the intensity of the sound) or cancel each other out depending on whether they are in phase with one another. Sound waves that are out of phase (waves with an opposite pattern) actually cancel each other out and the result is total silence! It is a lesson for us to heed: agreement, the harmonizing together in our prayer, is a key to making a clear sound that will be heard in heaven.
Right relationship is essential for effective praying. Right relationship to God — we come to Him through Jesus Christ in repentance, in continual humility and submission to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and right relationship with one another. In Mark 11:25, Matthew 18:15 and also in Matthew 6:14 we find Jesus emphasizing right relationship in the context of answered prayer.
The first principle of right relationship is forgiveness. Jesus said, “When you stand praying, first forgive.” That’s right relationship. Something I’ve noticed about sin and this issue of disharmony is the fact that if I’m offended, it’s really not the sin in the person who’s offended me that is the stumbling block. If I have unforgiveness towards that offense, if I have anger towards that offense, if I have hatred towards that offense, if I take up bitterness towards that offense, if I gossip about that offense the sin comes home. And so, this shows a clear need for us always, always to look at this sacrifice first. I know we had an old friend in Texas that used to say, “You pointin’ at one person, you got three fingers pointin’ back at ya.” And so, the command of God to humble ourselves and cleanse ourselves in order to come to Him that our prayers be heard always comes home.
I want to interject something that I believe that the Lord wants to bring as an attitude correction to massive segments of His church, especially here in America. Right relationship is not just with those in our immediate family or circle of friends. Remember what the Apostle Paul said in his sermon to the philosophers in Ephesus? God has given us a national destiny to fulfill. Patriotism and national identity is actually a part of our spiritual identity in the eyes of God. There is an attitude that is rampant today in which it has become especially spiritual to be critical of our nation and our leaders. This self-righteous arrogance has caused many Christians to end-up agreeing with the very anti-christ behind much of the secular, progressive and politically correct that are trying to tear apart the godly fabric of our nation. I believe that God wants to make a shift so that the church in America can be fully blessed by getting on His page, becoming a truly powerful force for God’s purposes in our hour and in this generation. We need to humble ourselves and harmonize with God’s Scripture, lifting up our leaders, government and nation that we might as a people fulfill His purposes for His glory on the earth.
WE are the Salt of the Earth:
In fact, according to Scripture and what Paul is instructing Timothy in his letter, it’s “we” not “they” that have sinned. It’s we that are responsible for the state of our nation, not sinners. What Scripture teaches is that the church is the salt of the earth, and it’s when the salt loses its savor that ungodly men are able to trample over it. Matthew 5:13 states, “’You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.’” Again we need to understand that the state of the union is contingent on the state of the church, and the state of the church plays directly upon the state of the union. It’s the will of God that a nation have godly, good government, that the gospel might be preached and salvation may freely come to all. We play an important part.
Mark 9:49-50, “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice.” You know that your life is a living sacrifice, acceptable to the Father, but did you know that your prayers, your tithes, your offerings, your labor for the gospel, your labor to build the church, are sacrifices and offerings upon His altar? Every sacrifice “will be seasoned with salt.” Jesus said. “Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”
In likening the faithful to salt, Jesus was referring to something that the religious Jews understood when He spoke this Scripture. He was referring to the command given in Leviticus 2:13, “And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering…” And it says there in Leviticus every one of those offerings, every single one of them, is most holy to the Lord. It says that none of them shall ever be offered with leaven or honey, speaking of sin and hypocrisy. When Jesus quotes this command directly from the Levitical instructions for worship, He is speaking of the body of Christ and the salt of the covenant of God. We are the body, many members, in a symphony. But when Jesus speaks of being the salt of the earth, He wants us to understand that in order to lay down our lives in sacrifice and offering, be it through prayer, giving, worship, service, work, laying down our lives on the mission field…if it is offered without right relationship in our lives toward others it has lost its savor. But if it’s with right relationship then it’s salty, and our voice is heard before God. Therefore, there is a direct correlation between this idea of being the salt of the earth and offering up effective, harmonizing prayer before God.
Harmony, Right-Relationship and Fellowship:
2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Now saints, this is astounding. If we have confidence in the word of God and in Him, He guarantees good government in a nation. He guarantees a place where we can live peaceable and quiet lives in all godliness and honesty. It’s simply dependent on what we do. The Hebrew literally says, “My people upon whom My name rests.” If you call yourself a Christian, you are applicable as an ambassador of the Lord to be one who is directly influencing and responsible for healing in your land. Christians pray in the name and authority of Jesus. First we humble ourselves. As I said it’s us not they, that the state of the union is contingent upon. That gives me great confidence, because we are seeing not only in this wonderful body of Christ, this local church, but in churches across this nation, the salty church humbling itself in corporate prayers, seeking the face of God and laying aside every weight and every sin that so easily besets us.
Twenty years ago when the Lord simultaneously visited both Mahesh and myself while we were in completely different regions of the nation, He described a coming visitation to those who would be “humble, holy and hungry.” We need a visitation in this nation. The world is thirsting for revival. In 2 Chronicles 7 He said, “Humble yourself.” Thus, humility is the first step. The danger of religion is pride. Proving the whole world wrong doesn’t make us right. Prepare the way for his healing visitation through the attitude of your heart!
Secondly, pray. The first assignment of the church when it’s gathered together is for prayer.
The third thing is, “Seek My face.” It’s interesting that this is different from prayer. He’s indicating, “Don’t just say prayers. Pray until you get the breakthrough. Pray until you are in My face and we are face to face, and I will hear your voice.”
And then lastly we walk in repentance, turning from our wicked ways. This is essential for the church. The Bible says if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship, harmony with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. And so harmony, right relationship and fellowship the things that make our prayers heard on high — are also essential for the healing of our land.
Let me encourage you even now as we see the earth and her kingdoms groan as with birth pains, awaiting the revealing of the sons of God. Step afresh with renewed vigor onto the wall of prayer. You are an essential watchman in these last days with the power to effect the destiny of your nation for the Kingdom.
Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version.Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.