Saturday, April 12, 2008

Will It Be Blessing Prayers or Repenting Prayers?

"God bless America!" --- oft repeated phrase heard throughout the United States on numerous occasions -- i.e. after a presidential address et alii!

Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land." --- Daniel 9:3-6

May 1, 2008 has been designated as the National Day of Prayer in the republic of the United States. It has been something which has taken place for a long time.

How will it go this year as many join together in observance of this event? Will it be dominated mainly by "blessing" prayers -- that is, a chorus of voices beseeching God to bless the nation, its leaders and all the citizens? As noted above, the phrase, "God bless America," has been used again and again and we have a song by that very title as well.

Or will there be praying that reflects the critical matter of repentance at all levels of our nation? A primary example is that of Daniel who was deeply concerned about the issue of repentance on the part of his people. He makes no excuses but honestly admits the heart of the problem -- willful disobedience to God which brought about the destruction of the kingdom in which he was a citizen!

There is little indication at this stage that the spirit of a grieving prophet over his people's sin will be recaptured on May 1 in our nation. There may be a few who recognize the need to repent -- a repentance involving each individual as well repentance at the collective level involving our institutions, including church groups and government!

Lest one is tempted to think that Daniel was a bit "self-righteous" in all this, as you read further through the account you find that he admits to confessing not only the sin of his nation, but also his own sin! We don't have the details on that -- in fact, Daniel is of such a noble character that the Bible does not record one negative thing about him as in the case of a number of others.

So then -- have you been praying for our nation? Not focusing on seeking blessings, but rather expressing grief over how sin is ravaging our culture and the need to repent of all that God finds to be offensive and abominable in His sight?

Far be it from us that we just devote a little attention to this on May 1, but that each day will find us beseeching our heavenly Father to be merciful because we are a sinful and wicked nation and need to repent before He chooses to bring devastating judgments upon us!

And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Son of man, say to her: 'You are a land that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation.' The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, 'Thus says the Lord GOD,' when the LORD had not spoken. The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads," says the Lord GOD. --- Ezekiel 22:23-31

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