This God-blessed America of ours is at a crossroads. Back in the year 2000, we had an election followed by a 36-day ordeal, and we found out then that our nation is divided by an almost 50-50 split. And then came Sept. 11, 2001, when we found out our nation was under assault by a deadly, cruel and merciless enemy—a clash of civilizations and world values. I say again, we are at a crossroads, a crisis, and we dare not be lackadaisical.
Instead, let’s talk seriously about prayer for America—a revival prayer. Our greatest resource is prayer. Our only hope is God. Do you believe that? I hope you believe that with all of your heart.
We read in Daniel 9 that God’s people had been taken captive by the Babylonians. And Daniel now is asking the Lord for deliverance. You say, “What does that have to do with America?” America has been taken captive by the world, the flesh and the devil. We need a national, moral and spiritual revival, and without that there is no hope. Only prayer can hold back the judgment of God. The raging waters of God’s wrath are furiously beating upon the dam of His mercy. Now God is a merciful God, but if we do not pray, we are going to get exactly what we deserve.
So, what kind of prayer is it that God answers? First, we are to pray with serious concentration. Daniel 9:3 says, “Then I set my face toward the Lord God.” Have you ever set your face? Ever said, “Dear God, I’m going to pray with every inch, every ounce, every nerve, every sinew?”
Sure, we pray, but with little effect. It’s not the arithmetic of our prayers, as in how many. It’s not how eloquent or how long or how sweet or how argumentative our prayers. Friend, it is the faith and fervency of our prayers.
When we talk about our nation, we must start with God’s house. Judgment must begin at the house of God. We as a church must repent—of playing church, of praying without fasting, of witnessing without tears, of giving without sacrifice. Is it any wonder that we sow without reaping? We need God’s mercy, and prayer is the order of the day. But not just any prayer. Prayer and fasting. Does that seem odd to you? Fanatical? That we in this 21st century should pray and fast? In Matthew 6:16, Jesus says, “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.” Our Lord didn’t say, “If you fast,” He says, “When you fast.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The church has gone from its upper room with its fire, to its supper room with its smoke.” Now, I’m not against fellowships. Our Lord is constantly saying to His children, “Come and dine.” But the Bible also calls for fasting. We are to pray and fast. And in so doing, pray and fast for America, and for the church.
What can fasting do? Rightly practiced, fasting can strengthen your prayer life, but it can also turn back judgment.
In Jonah 3:5, we read: “So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.” And in verse 10, “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”
God changed His mind. Nineveh was ripe for judgment. Put this in your heart and mind: God would rather show mercy than judgment. God wants to forgive. Have we crossed a line in America? Is it too late for our nation? No, absolutely not. In Jeremiah 18:7-8, the Lord says: “The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.”
Friend, we are in a cosmic battle and our weapon is prayer. I love what Bible teacher Ron Dunn had to say about prayer: “Prayer is like a missile. It can fly at the speed of thought. It can reach any target anywhere, and there is no anti-ballistic missile that can shoot it down.”
In Daniel we see a model of how confessional prayer moves the heart of God. Daniel 9:20 says, “Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God.”
Daniel confessed his personal sin and he confessed national sin. In America, there is much to confess. First of all, we must confess greed. We are a materialistic nation. We know more about Wall Street and Madison Avenue than about the Prophet Daniel. Also, we need to confess our neglect of the poor; our racism, which has divided our country. We need to confess our sexual immorality; our killing of the unborn; our godless humanism that pervades our schools.
Do you know what most of us want? We want revival so that we can return to our own ways, so we can go back again one more time, once God gets us out of our difficulty. Instead, we should want a burning in our hearts for the glory of God. We should want God to do something that cannot be explained by technology, personality, propaganda or persuasion. We should want the removal of guilt and the glory of God. That is revival—not for America’s sake, but for the glory of God.
Are you on praying ground? It is prayer time in America. James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Thank God for that. Would you pray with me? “O God, send revival, for Your glory; let it begin in me. Then Lord, let it move into my family and into my class, into my church, into my city, and throughout this world.” Amen. ©2020 Love Worth Finding Ministries Inc.
Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) was pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1972-2005. The ministry he founded, Love Worth Finding Inc., continues its global reach through his preaching broadcasts and online resources.
This article is used by permission and is adapted from a sermon preached at Bellevue Baptist Church in 2004.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.