Thursday, May 3, is an annual observance set aside by Congress as the National Day of Prayer. It is a day for Americans to seek God’s guidance and blessing upon America and its leaders. On this day, millions of people from coast to coast will pray to God on behalf of this nation individually or in prayer services.
However, before we pray, it would be wise for us to review the conditions that were set by God in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and change their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
“If My people who are called by My name” refers to the individual believer. God wants each of us to humble ourselves before Him, confess our sins, and change our wicked ways.
God does not always hear our prayers. Scriptural reasons for unanswered prayer include sinful living:
- If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear. ( Psalm 66:18)
- But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2)
- Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. (John 9:31)
- Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard. (Proverbs 21:13)
Prayer can be denied when we do nothing to help God in the answer. Once we have confessed our sins, we must turn from our wicked ways.
Moses learned about following through on prayer at the Red Sea. As Pharaoh approached, Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your arm over the sea.” (Genesis 14:13-16)
God opened the Red Sea only after Moses and the Israelites acted on His command to get going! He promises us in 2 Chronicles 7:14 to forgive us and heal our land when we repent and change our wicked ways.
May we believers live our lives in such a way that we can confidently proclaim, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33:12) May America bless God, and may God bless America.
NW Illinois Regional Coordinator
National Day of Prayer Task Force
Photo credit: Fr. Stephen, MSC (Creative Commons)