"Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)
Written By: Pastor Jeff
A few years ago I read a verse in the book of Nehemiah that changed the way I pray for our country. The book of Nehemiah opens with Nehemiah praying for the Jews, who had recently returned to Jerusalem after being in captivity for 70 years. Nehemiah had just learned how much his Jewish brothers and sisters were struggling.
What Nehemiah prayed for his country all those years ago has impacted the way I pray for our country today. Here’s what he prayed:
"O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned!" Nehemiah 1:5-6 (NLT)
When Nehemiah prayed, he didn’t just confess the sins of his people; he confessed his own.
When praying for our country, the best place to start is to confess our part.
After reading this passage, I realized I needed to get right with God before I could adequately pray for God to help our nation get right with Him.
Psalm 66:18 says, "If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened."
If you want God to listen to your prayers, you need to confess your sin to Him. That may sound a little scary, but you never have to be afraid of confessing your sins to God. He promises in His Word to always forgive you when you truly repent:
"Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, 'I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.' And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone." Psalm 32:5 (NLT)
So, the next time you stop to pray for our country, remember the best place to start is to first confess your part.
Talk It Over
1. Do you ever feel like you’ve sinned so much that God won’t forgive you? Read 1 John 1:9 and Lamentations 3:22-23. How do these verses give you the reassurance of God’s love and grace?
2. How can you begin to practically set aside some time this week to pray for our country?