Monday, September 21
A call to prayer
Scripture: Daniel 9-10, Psalm 123, Luke 5
Daniel 9:17–19 “O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary.
18 “O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy.
19 “O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”
When Daniel read Jeremiah’s prophecy that Jerusalem would lie desolate with her people in captivity for 70 years (and those 70 years were almost complete), he turned to the Lord in prayer and fasting. He acknowledged God’s greatness and goodness and mercy, and he confessed the sins of the nation as though they were his own. He begs God to smile on them, forgive them and help them without delay. “Hear, forgive, listen and act—do not delay!” Daniel prayed fervently and earnestly for his nation.
We need to do the same. Christians need to fast and pray for our nation, confessing our sins and asking God for forgiveness, mercy and help.
We are in the midst of a global pandemic with severe economic consequences; civic unrest fueled by racial tension based on generations of inequity, injustice and prejudice; unprecedented wildfires blamed on climate change and mismanagement of our forests and public lands; and it’s an election year with polarizing political choices. Welcome to 2020!
We need to pray! Here’s the famous verse:
2 Chronicles 7:14 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.
After telling Solomon that He would send judgment on Israel, God gave this promise. If we humble ourselves, pray, repent and seek God’s face, He will hear and forgive and heal our land. The same God who sent judgment would also respond to our prayer and repentance and send healing. I think confession and repentance are an important part of this prayer—look how much time Daniel spent confessing! We need to follow his example and own our sin and turn from our evil ways.
There are less than seven weeks until the election, and less than 15 weeks to the end of the year. I’m going to pray every day like Daniel for our nation.
Prayer: Lord, help your people to stop blaming and start praying, to confess our sins and repent and turn to you. Lord, heal our nation!