LANDSDOWNE, VA – Let’s face it, as Thomas Paine once said, these are the times that try men’s souls. America is in crisis, from within and without. We face new threats of terrorism on our shores, millions of angry and disenfranchised citizens, a reduction in moral standards, a contentious and unpredictable election, and a secular elite intent on restricting foundational principles such as religious liberty and freedom of speech.
As my colleague and friend John Stonestreet says, “If there’s ever been a time to drop to our knees and pray for our nation, this is it.” Indeed.
And we’ll be in good company. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” We pray because, in our own wisdom and strength, we’re insufficient for the challenges we face. While one of the most appealing things about American people is our indomitable “can-do” spirit, the fact is, sometimes we “can’t do”! We have nowhere else to go, except to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Kneeling before God in times of overwhelming crisis is also a part of our American DNA.
In my book “7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness,” I recount a story of George Washington’s commitment to prayer during the Revolution. His nephew, George Lewis, told a Washington biographer that “he had accidentally witnessed [the general’s] private devotions in his library both morning and evening: that on these occasions he had seen him in a kneeling position with a Bible open before him and that he believed such to have been his daily practice.” While history does not record details of Washington’s spiritual life we can imagine his prayers went something like this.
1. We will praise the Lord that His sovereign goodness is as true today as ever. We will remember that this world ultimately belongs to God, who created all things and Who, in Christ, is restoring all things.
2. We will repent of our sin, and thank God for His promised forgiveness. We will remind ourselves that all have sinned, and that we are welcomed by God through repentance. Nehemiah began his work in the world with repentance. So will we.
3. We will pray for our current government leaders to fight evil and stand up for truth. We will remember that there is no place where God is not at work.
4. We will pray that truth and justice will prevail over “political correctness” and “tolerance,” both in our own lives and in our culture. We will remember that right and wrong do not change according to cultural fashions, nor does legality alter morality.
5. We will pray for the upcoming election season, that God would show us mercy and not give us what we deserve. We will remember that God ultimately orchestrates human history and uses whom He will to accomplish His purposes.
And finally, 6. We will pray that God unites His people, using them to bring restoration in this broken culture. We’ll remember that those who have been reconciled to God have been put on mission as agents of reconciliation. For such a time as this… we pray.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Metaxas is a NYTimes bestselling author. This article was written for Breakpoint Ministry as part of their “Commentary” section. 44180 Riverside Parkway, Lansdowne, VA 20176