More than 50,000 believers from across our nation gathered this past Saturday, September 26, in Washington, D.C. for two significant prayer events: The Return and The Prayer Walk. One media outlet reported that an additional 1+ million people participated in the events through the Internet coverage. The day was marked by prayers of repentance and a call to return to God for spiritual and moral healing in the nation. While hundreds of Scriptures were read or quoted, the underlining biblical emphasis was from Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seekmy face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Solomon realized that judgment wound come to Israel if they turned their backs on God. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he told the people there would be a threefold requirement for healing. God would then provide a threefold remedy. Believing that our nation is suffering because we have greatly sinned, we are following Solomon’s admonition and expecting God to hear, forgive, and heal.
September 26’s concentrated prayer fell during the 10 Days of Awe (the Jewish days of repentance and reflection), which began with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), and was just before Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, in the Jewish lunar calendar. This holiest day has been commemorated throughout the centuries with fasting, asking forgiveness, and even making right those wrongs that were committed. I believe God ordained the call to prayer for our nation to be during these holy days of the Jewish calendar.
God has answered prayer many times for the United States. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress called for prayer and fasting on July 20, 1775. Our war for independence from England had many ups and downs, but, although the fighting continued for two years, the British surrendered in 1781. As the War of 1812 raged, James Madison called for a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Aug. 3, 1812. When the British burned the Capitol and the White House in 1814, it seemed that Britain would win, but God gave decisive victories and a treaty was signed that December. These days of war occurred during The Second Great Awakening (1800 – 1840), so God was working despite the turmoil in the land.
Lincoln’s call for a day of prayer and fasting on March 30, 1863, was the turning point of the Civil War. During WWI when it looked as if the Allied Forces were losing, Woodrow Wilson called for a day of prayer. The next day the U.S. Marines won a significant battle that turned the tide. After King George VI called for a day of repentance, God answered prayer and Hitler’s forces began losing.People prayed and repented on the Washington Mall in April 1980, shortly before Reagan’s election. During the next eight years, The Cold War ended, and patriotism and faith were encouraged. In praying this weekend, we also prayed that once again we would see a return to God and that revival would sweep across our land.
These have been dark days with COVID-19, rioting in the streets, open sin against God’s commands, gross corruption, foul language, and lies. It’s almost as if we wonder if God has forgotten us. Is God hearing our earnest cries? Daniel said that in the last days that the enemy, Satan, would “wear down the saints of the Highest One” (NASB) or “shall persecute the saints of the Most High,” (Daniel 7:25, NKJV). One woman recently told me, “I believe Satan has released all his evil minions on earth.” Though circumstances look grim and Satan is trying to wear us down, to discourage us, and push us to give up, we are not defeated. But we desperately need another Great Awakening.
In Lynn Austin’s book While We Are Far Apart, Jacob Mendle, the elderly Jewish landlord says, “It must have been that Hashem (God) must not be listening.” Later he says, “Sometimes it’s wrong to judge the effectiveness of prayer by looking at the immediate results.”
So, we continue to look beyond the present circumstances and believe that God is answering prayer for our nation, just as He has in the past. We continue to humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways and trust God’s plan for redemption and restoration.