The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, "Stand in the gate of the Lord's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, 'Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the LORD!'".......... Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you." --- Jeremiah 7:1,2, 16
There are two very common assumptions about prayer.
One, that God always hears every prayer. That is, when anyone prays, then God is going to hear and respond to that prayer no matter who is doing the praying and no matter the nature of the request that is submitted.
Two, that God will always be around in a crisis when the time comes in which we need to be "bailed out" -- after all, is God not a God of love and He would never leave us stranded in a time when He is so greatly needed, would He?
Tons of books have been written on the subject of prayer. Further, there seems to be no end to a listing of persons considered to be "specialists" in the realm of prayer in times such as these.
And certainly there has at times been an emphasis upon praying for our republic and its leaders. There are solid Biblical grounds for engaging in such a practice.
However, the Bible also reveals that there are limitations regarding prayer. It's sort of like the proverbial "line drawn in the sand." There can be times when God Himself makes clear the fact that it is useless to pray any longer!
It happened in years just prior to 586 B.C. in the ancient Israelite kingdom of Judah. For the most part God's commandments and standards had been rejected by the religious and political leaders in the kingdom. With that kind of leadership it was simply a matter of time before the majority of the citizens followed the ungodly examples set before them. There was a small remnant which still held to the true faith but the influence of this group could not bring about a miraculous change so that the kingdom again was under the favor and blessing of Almighty God.
Now then, how about the United States of America -- the "land of the free and the home of the brave?" Are we in a postion to effectively call on God with assurance that as a nation we will be abundantly blessed and secure or have we "crossed the line" and if there is a response, it is worded something like this: "Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry out to Me because of their trouble." (Jeremiah 11:14).
There is more than a tad of evidence to suggest that it could be the latter scenario! We continue to destroy thousands of unborn children every week of the year. As of this writing we have mutilated and murdered more than 54 million unborn children since the infamous Supreme Court decision in January of 1973. We are a nation of fools of the first magnitude if we believe that God is not going to respond to this massive shedding of innocent blood for which we are solely responsible!
We continue to follow our idols at a fervent pace with money being the #1 "god" and the pleasure "god" being a close runner-up. Idolatry can take many forms and certainly has done so in our republic over decades of time. It can be an object, a person, or a type of activity and involvement in the same.
Our sexual immorality is practiced at an unprecedented rate and the philosophy that "Sex is fun with anyone, or more than one anyone at the same time, anywhere and at any time!" is being adopted by all ages in U.S. culture. God has in His special revelation to us explicitly shown where the boundaries on human sexuality are drawn. The sacred gift of human sexuality is to be shared and experienced within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman. Search all you want to -- you will not find even a hint that God has enlarged the boundaries to include additional sexual activity of different kinds involving males and females, same gender persons, adults with children and/or animals, or whatever bizarre perversion may enter a person's mind.
We are teaching millions of our young every year that we have evolved from lower life forms over millions and millions of years in time -- go ahead, insert however many millions of years you want to -- does it really make any difference? Perhaps the big difference in the millions of years is whether the forehead is sloped 3/4 inch backward or a mere 1/4 of an inch! Of course this also means that you have no need of a Creator and you are free to make your own "rules" in life with no real accountability after you die. Since it was convenient to ban God from the public classroom, it was also very convenient to deny that we are the focus of an act of creation in the past with a divine purpose and plan for each conceived human being. A godless theory filled the resulting vacuum and we are producing millions of young people who wander about day after day with no meaning to their existence!
And the church at large that claims to be "Christian" in faith has become corrupted over decades of time. The Bible is under assault and its truths denied by apostate renegades. Just a couple of many examples is denying the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead following His crucifixion and that Jesus was indeed God appearing on earth in human form in the 1st Century! The United Methodist Church stresses that it is a "connectional church" due to its organized structure. What isn't recognized is the seriousness of the "infection within the connection." When a church leader says that we need to forget about going to other nations and converting the people to Christianity because they have their own religions and we ought not to interfere with that, then something is terribly wrong in light of Jesus' command to take the Gospel into all the world and confront all nations with His claims and call.
Pray for our republic and expect to be heard? It could happen if certain conditions are met. The main one is that the majority (including political and religious leaders) are willing to pray in a repentant spirit as did Daniel who found himself being carried away from his home and placed in a raw heathen environment known as Babylon! Consider the opening statements of his prayer: "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).
Anyone up to admitting that we are badly out of step with the Creator of this mighty universe and we are guilty of commonly accepted practices which have caused Him to pour out His undiluted wrath in the past on cultures that committed similar transgressions?
And what is this thing that is said about history repeating itself?
Then the LORD said to me, "Do not pray for this people, for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence." Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, the prophets say to them, 'You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.'" And the LORD said to me, "The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart." --- Jeremiah 14:11-14