“He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away” (Job 12:23, ESV).
There is no doubt that these times are more tumultuous than anything our nation has experienced in recent decades. It is even more important that we return to God, recognizing that our national fate – our freedom, our prosperity, and our way of life – rests in His hands (Job 12:23).
Early Americans routinely set aside days of fasting, humiliation, and prayer during difficult times. People would abstain from work and gather in churches, where pastors would preach sermons relevant to the occasion, imploring the people to repent of their sins and trust in the Lord.
One such day was declared by the Continental Congress in the early days of the War for Independence. John Adams explained the significance of this day in a letter to his wife, Abigail, writing:
We [Congress] have appointed a continental fast. Millions will be upon their knees at once before their great Creator, imploring his forgiveness and blessing, his smiles on American councils and arms.
Will you join me in praying for our state and our nation, following the example of faithful men and women who have come before us?
A Prayer for Our Country, from the Book of Common Prayer (1928):
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage, we humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners.
Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.
Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.
In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
The Bible instructs us that the nation who trusts in God is blessed (Psalm 33:12). May Christians join together in asking God to heal our land and call our country back to Him.