Do we have a sick land that needs to be healed? Take a jaunt through the news channels and advertisements of American media and see the symptoms rise from a putrefying abyss. The laws of God have become a “hiss and a byword” to commentators who pontificate and re-label sin as acceptable for manmade morals in a decaying society. Lies are woven like spiderwebs around victims to bring their lives to ruin. Sacred emblems of freedom are trampled and defaced. The Constitution is dangling like a kite in a hurricane.
Public forums advocate the destruction of human freedoms, property rights and social robbery. And, worst of all, who would have ever imagined that doctors having taken the Hippocratic Oath, to do no harm to humans, would be allowed to kill the most innocent of human beings on their birthday. Yes, we can safely say, “Our nation is languishing even near the deathbed.”
The Lord gave us the prescription and the antidote to cure all our ills but, for many, the spoon to take the elixir is a forgotten device. Prayer was banned from the public arena nearly 50 years ago and has gradually faded from the home in many places. Now even the mention of God or religious symbols bring outcries of bigotry and offence.
Certainly, not the entire nation is suffering with the cancer of secularism; there are good people in every pocket of the nation, but the voices that scream the loudest often get rewarded. For the Lord to heal this nation, our voices need to be heard in the highest courts of Heaven and in the righteous courts of our land. We must once again learn the path and pattern of prayer.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus himself teaches us how to pray. As he begins his teaching moment, he first tells how we should not pray. (KJV Luke 11:1-4)
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Prayer is a private communication between man and God, not a public show of eloquent phrases and poetic metaphors to impress the gentry. Does that mean public prayers should be outlawed? Of course not; there are many public prayers that brought down the powers of Heaven to the aid of America. Consider Franklin D. Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer, Lincoln’s “A Day of National Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer in The United States of America” and Washington’s prayer (George Washington's Prayer). We need public prayers as much as private prayers because they unite people in a common voice beseeching God in our behalf.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
The best kind of prayer is a closet prayer. Where only you and God are present to hear the stumbling words and see the heartfelt emotion. The Lord knows what we need before we ask Him, but often we don’t know what we need before we pray. Prayer is a time when our thoughts can unify with God. We can come to understand His will is better for us than our own.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Vain repetitions are a problem for many. Sometimes we say the same things over and over because we need the same things. Using different phraseology each time is not the answer. We are then simply focusing on the words and how to make them sound different. Vain repetition has more to do with what we are feeling and what we are willing to do with the answers we receive than the words we speak. When we really need something, we are willing to listen and pay the price to get what we want. If we are simply saying the same old grocery-list prayer without any commitment to help those prayers be answered, we are praying in vain.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Taking time to recognize who we are talking to makes a huge difference in our prayers. We are talking to a God of miracles. The one who created the universe, with billions of planets and stars. He put together the seasons, the evaporations systems and who knows the end from the beginning. He parted the Red Sea and gave sight to the blind. Recognizing that awesome intelligence and power will bring us to a point where we can believe and expect answers.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.
Praying for God’s kingdom to come is to recognize the government we are living under now is not the government of the future. One day Christ will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It will not be a kingdom of forced obedience. Men, women and children will bow to the will of the Lord because they choose to. They will be charitable because they choose to. There will be no poor or downtrodden because people will reach out with compassion to correct any social ill among them. People will act as God’s angels in heaven, quick to obey and submit to every command because they love Jesus.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Daily bread is symbolic of all our needs. We pray for the crops of our fields, the famines across the world and those close to home. We need to pray for unjust laws to be repealed and abandoned. This prayer is a place to ask those questions, “What lack I yet?” in progressing toward true Christianity. This is the place to consider our daily spiritual bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
As hard as it may seem, the Lord expects us to forgive everyone. Even those politicians who want to destroy our freedoms? Even those who are blind to the destruction they are causing? Even those who cut us off on the freeway? Yes, even those.
Jesus instructed us to pray for our enemies. We don’t need to pray that they will succeed in their evil quests, but we can pray that they will be hedged up and impeded in their progress. We can love the person but hate their actions. He instructs us not to judge others. We can and should judge between what is good and what is bad policy.
We don’t have to agree with bad policy or bad people, but we must be compassionate. We do not know their hearts. We can leave the verdict to the Lord. He will repay all wrongs and reward all righteousness. We don’t have to do it. We need simply to be kind and uphold the banner of truth. We must remember that the Lord will forgive our trespasses only if we learn to truly forgive others.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
We need to pray for the strength to avoid temptation and the power to resist. We are all vulnerable. We are weak in our resolve and fear the reprisal of our friends and neighbors. We don’t want to raise our head above the crowd because we might get mud in the face. We might be called ugly names. But now is the time to give glory where glory is due. Now is the time for us to stand up with prayer to allow the Lord to heal our nation.
The Lord says,
“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in Heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in Heaven.”
Yevet Crandell Tenney is a Christian columnist who loves American values and traditions. She writes about faith, family and freedom.