Included in this blog is an inspiring prayer, adopted from Daniel 9:4-19, written by Christina Walker, who is Associate Director of Academic Programs at the Billy Graham Center. I belong to a small prayer group that meets at my church every Wed. morning. I am highly motivated to drive into town each week because the others in attendance are intercessors like myself.
The words of the prophet Habakkuk help shape our prayers as we cry out to God for mercy. “I have heard about you, Lord. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger remember your mercy” (Hab. 3:2). We join Nehemiah as he prayed, “….let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you” Neh 1:5-7).
Here is The Prayer. “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled against the Gospel of Love; we have turned away from your commands to care for the least of these and to consider others’ needs before our own. We have not listened to your servants, who spoke through scripture in your name to our leaders, and to all the people of the land.
Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame – the people of America. We, and our leaders, are covered with shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the law of love you gave us in Scripture. Your Church has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.
Therefore, we face the judgments written in your Word. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matt. 7:1-2). We know the judgment of God’s household will be first ( I Peter 4: 17), yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The Lord will not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand, who raised Christ for the dead and conquered sin and death, and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made your church an object of scorn to all those around us.
Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your church. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your people bear your Name.” ( Adaptation of Daniel 9:4-19)
Men, use the content of this prayer to help you wade through the turbulent times we live in, as you contempt the direction of our nation.