It's Been A Week...Now What?

​A week ago today, Americans participated in the National Day of Prayer. This year’s theme was “Wake Up America.” Tony Evans was the Honorary Chairman and this was his prayer:
“Dear heavenly Father, we come to You today as a humble people desperate for Your supernatural intervention on behalf of our beloved nation.  First, we thank You for all the blessings You have bestowed on our land, blessings that have allowed us to bring so much good and benefit to not only our own citizens but also to the rest of the world. The very ideals upon which this country was founded were based on biblical truths, no matter how some try to rewrite history to deny that very fact today.
 
This is why our hearts are so broken over how You continue to be marginalized and dismissed by both our people and our institutions. We are also saddened by the fact that Your people have contributed greatly to the spiritual apathy that now engulfs us. Our satisfaction in remaining religious without being fully committed to living out the truths of Your Word has caused us to become co-conspirators with the forces of evil that are destroying us as a society.
 
It is for this reason that we personally and collectively repent of our carnality and recommit ourselves to becoming visible and verbal disciples of Jesus Christ. Enable us, by Your Spirit, to no longer be secret agent Christians but rather to publicly declare and live out Your truth in a spirit of love so that You feel welcome in our country once again.
 
Thank You for Your promise to hear our prayers when we call to You with hearts of repentance and obedience, which is how we are appealing to You today, Father. On behalf of Your church, we affirm afresh the priority You are to us that You would fill every dimension of our lives as we seek to bring You glory through the advancement of Your kingdom in our personal lives, our family lives, and in the lives of our churches and our government leaders. We confidently invite heaven’s intervention into all the affairs of our nation and we praise You in advance for Your answer. In Jesus’ name we pray.
 Amen.”
​As I reflect a week later on what, if anything, has changed since the National Day of Prayer, I came across Psalm 60 this morning:
​“O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; oh, restore us. You have made the land to quake; you have torn it open; repair its breaches, for it totters. You have made your people see hard things; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger. You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow. Selah.  That your beloved ones may be delivered, give salvation by your right hand and answer us!” (Psalm 60:1-5)
The psalmist, David, lamented a national defeat and cried out to God for help. This psalm was used to teach young people during their education. It’s part remembrance of what happened, and part knowledge of who exactly is in charge. We’d do well to all remember this ourselves.
 
I’m a huge fan of the National Day of Prayer and earnestly wish more people would participate in and have knowledge of it (it is still largely an evangelical event). I also sometimes worry that we engage in all the promotion of the day, maybe even participate in the day, and then resume business as usual without waiting on or expecting a response to the corporate, collective prayers we prayed that day.
 
We asked for a lot that day. We asked for healing for our nation. We asked for healing of families. We asked for forgiveness of the sins of our land, our people, and ourselves. We asked God to help us, to rescue us, and to return our land to what it once was. Has He answered all these prayers in seven days? I haven’t seen much of a change in our country. I still see political fighting, and what could be one of the craziest presidential races in U.S. history. My family and I witnessed some crazy events on Saturday night (more about that below). People are still broken, addicted, sick, and dying.
 
A week later, are we still praying the prayer of May 7th or have we moved on to something new, something different or maybe in our busyness just plain forgot?
 
The psalmist said God “raised a banner for those that fear Him” (Psalm 60:4). In battle, this banner was a rallying point for the warriors and served as a source of pride and confidence. Today, the banner that is raised for the Church is Jesus Christ (Isaiah 11:10), and it only covers those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. This is but a small percentage of the general population of the United States, a mere remnant.
 
Nevertheless, the remnant is here and God will move. We must not give up!
 
We must continue in prayer. We must continue to mend relationships that have been broken. We must continue to strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been scattered among the ruins.
 
We can pray for the health of our family, provision for our family, and healing for family and friends, but if we don’t pray for our country, we are missing out on praying for something critically vital.
 
My family and I recently had an interesting restaurant experience. This past Saturday night, we went to dinner after church. It was around 8:30 pm and the area we decided on turned out to be very crowded. The weather was beautiful, but I had forgotten that it was the Kentucky Derby that day. After finally getting a table in the restaurant, we witnessed stuff I hadn’t witnessed in a while, and some new stuff I’d never witnessed in what I would consider a family-friendlier restaurant. I won’t go into all the details, but let’s just say that I’ve made the decision to not only never go back to that restaurant again, but also even if I am not with my children, to never frequent that area again.
 
Honestly, I fear the world in which my children are growing up. After this experience and so much that is taking place in the world, we could decide just to throw up our arms in defeat. But, I can’t give up that easy. I have to keep pressing on. More than just being a right, as a believer, it is my duty and obligation to persevere in prayer for this generation and the generations to come.
 
God pursued people throughout the generations, and He still continues to pursue today. He gave up His only son so that those who believe in Him are able to live under the victory of His banner. As believers, we are conquerors because of Jesus’ blood. Victorious warriors still had enemies and still fought battles. And so will we. Lou Engle says, “The mightiest weapon in the Christian arsenal is humility, expressed in fasting, combined with prayer.”
On the morning of the National Day of Prayer our school prayer ministry held up signs at carpool. As my young son and I held up our “Pray Today” sign, he said to me, “I think we should hold up this sign every day not just on the National Day of Prayer.”
 
Yes, son, I do, too.

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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