HOPE FOR A NATION
Passage: Habakkuk 3:2
Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.
September 11, 2001 was a day etched in our memories as Americans because of the immense sadness we endured. I have never seen something so horrific, and I have never seen so many people come streaming into the church to pray. What followed the tragic loss of lives was powerful! There was a greater expression of community in our nation, a willingness to help those who were suffering and mourning, a sense of deep unity, and an increase in prayer. We had been attacked in a vicious way and were wondering how our nation could recover. I realize that many people in America then and today don’t believe in God. But I saw many people turning to the overflowing grace of God in the days that followed that tragedy. As the Bible reminds us; God is our refuge, strength, and an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46). We can receive His comfort and perseverance both as individuals and as a country.
God’s grace allows us to take positive steps forward when we are tempted to be discouraged. Instead of complaining about the situation, God wants us to be part of the solution. Sometimes we are asked to step up and make a difference on a national level. Be careful not to write off any person or country—God is merciful and doesn’t stop His good work. What would you like to see happen in your country? Habakkuk was a prophet who lived 600 years before Jesus. He wrestled with the same questions we face today: why is there so much evil? How long until things change? Will God demonstrate His power in this generation? The first two chapters of Habakkuk cover an incredible conversation between the prophet and God. Habakkuk knew he could pour out his soul in the most honest way with God. His intense questions led him to prayer and eventually to God’s plentiful grace.
There are three qualities that emerge in Habakkuk’s prayer:
1) Humility: “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord.” Habakkuk gave God his full respect because of who God is and what God has done.
2) Desire: “Renew them in our day, in our time make them known;” Habakkuk had an intense hunger for God to do something in his generation. He wanted to see God’s glory.
3) Confession: “In wrath, remember mercy.” Habakkuk pleaded with God to have mercy and to forgive rebellion. He prayed that hearts would change and nations would turn to God in prayer. His plea was based on the kindness of God.
Jeremiah Lanphier began a prayer meeting in 1857 in New York City. It was during the lunch hour, and only a few people joined him in prayer. They continued every week and before long, people began to respond. Within six months, ten thousand business people were gathering in prayer in New York City. Other prayer meetings started in the city in the middle of the day. Soon, there were thousands of people praying in cities such as Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. This was the catalyst for The Great Awakening from 1857-
1860, in which it was estimated that over a million people came to know Jesus. The revival extended into many other countries too. Jeremiah Lanphier and his friends felt the burden to begin to pray for their country and took the initiative to ask other people to join them in seeking God.7
1) Do you believe prayer can make a difference in your country?
2) What changes or spiritual awakening would you like to see happen?
3) What does it mean to ask God to heal our land?
4) What do humility, desire, and confession look like in your prayer times?
Psalm 96. You have a role in the spiritual health of your nation.
Daniel 9:1-19. Genuine repentance can change a country.
Nehemiah 1:1-11. Let God direct your work and bring His favor to your individual role.
Jonah 3:1-10. Seeking God brings blessing and fruit.
1 Timothy 2:1-4. Pray for the leaders in your country.
2 Chronicles 7:14. There is true hope for any nation that seeks God.
Father God, You are able to do all things. I don’t want to be discouraged when I see challenges in our country. I want to pray more and complain less. Help me to live what I say I believe and to take action. Our country needs You now, Lord. I ask that You will bring a spiritual awakening. Please have mercy, bring healing, and forgive us, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
For more from Pastor Jesse Bradley and Activate Media Ministries, visit www.activatelife.org