Today marks the National Day of Prayer. It is a day to pray for God’s will to be done here in our nation. He is God who gives and takes away (Job 1:21.) He is a God who puts leaders in place and removes them (Daniel 2:21.) He is a jealous God (Deut. 4:24.) He wants His glory to matter more than anything… even our ideal America.
So often America is spoken of as though it is in some mystical spiritual bubble, one step away from Heaven. On days like today patriotic songs are sung right along with Jesus music in churches. Though most of our patriotic songs talk about God, the morphed concept of “God&Country” is not a thing. America has had some wonderful, godly founders and leaders in its history. We are still receiving the benefits of that history today; but it is a misstep to glorify history and not the God who made it all possible.
The Call for Revival
We rightly desire revival for America. Revival is when followers of Christ are “vived” (or as Dictionary.com says, “restored to life, consciousness, vigor, strength.” When we pray for revival we are asking God to strengthen the belief, faith and passion of His true followers. When we as Christ’s followers are invigorated it becomes infectious to a neighborhood, city, state and nation. It is inside-out change.
If we are honest it is very easy to nostalgically glamorize the past. I am sure the Israelites did the same thing. When hunger and thirst got to them the Israelites glamourized their life of slavery in Egypt (crazy, huh?!) over Moses’ leadership. During the time of flip flops from good kings to bad kings, Israelites wished for the days of godly David or Josiah instead of evil Ahab or Rehoboam.
In America we like to look back longingly at a certain presidency or decade…. perhaps the 1950s. There were some great things that happened in the ’50s. It was in the 1950s the National Day of Prayer was first established and “In God We Trust” was placed on our currency. At the same time in the 1950s some Christians were more horrified by Elvis’ hip wiggle than by the racially segregated water fountains.
Revival does not look like the 1950s America; it’s BIGGER. I don’t know why but for some reason we have changed the meaning of revival to a reversal of social norms. For example, some would say revival would look like intact families, decreased drug usage, and increased value of life. Don’t we want MORE than going back? Don’t we want passionate worship? Don’t we want to WANT longer church services more than more hours on digital devices? Don’t we want to WANT to pray? Don’t we want to WANT to repent? Don’t we want to WANT to serve one another? Don’t we want to WANT to boldly share our faith story?
Historically when those shifts have happened widespread revival has occurred and it has made life easier for Believers. There are places however where passionate surrender to God looks like the underground church movement of China or North Korea. What if personal persecution and the continued social decline of America are required to point the world to their need for God… Are we ready to dare pray in a way which risks personal comfort?
On this National Day of Prayer I find myself praying for God’s agenda- first. That’s a scary prayer. I want to pray for a comfortable, nice country for my kids and grand kids to live in. Instead I find Him calling me to pray He will increase, period.