I’ve been asked to give a primer of sorts on how to pray for our nation. So I’ll share the way I pray.
As you know, God did not format the Bible as a textbook. We must depend on the Holy Spirit to guide us in our prayer. Thus, I am sharing how I pray, but you may be called to pray otherwise.
If you’d like to join my Facebook group where we pray for the nation, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/553733668413863/
That said, let’s get started.
I prefer to have Scriptures as guides for prayer. When praying for the United States, I am guided by I Timothy 2: 1-2 and II Chronicles 7:14.
I Timothy 2: 1-2
I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (KJV)
II Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sins, and heal their land. (KJV)
Using the Scriptures as Prayer Guides
When I have my daily prayer for the nation, I start with a moment of reflection based on II Chronicles 7:14. If you notice, when God is giving instruction on how He wants to go about healing a nation, He doesn’t start with fixing the godless. He starts with fixing His own people.
Got that? He starts with fixing His own people. Or rather, He starts with calling His people to be willing to get fixed!
Let’s take that in steps:
Step 1: God’s people shall humble themselves.
This is absolute key! How can pray like God wishes if I am not humble?
We know that pride goes before a fall, but one of the things I’ve noticed about myself and my fellow believers is that when we think we’ve got the necessary fixes for our nation (or church or friends or family) figured out we easily can fall into pride, stubbornness, and become judgmental.
Generally, when we are operating in pride, stubbornness and being judgmental, we have stepped aside from the place and manner in which God works. Remember: Who are the only people that Jesus called names (“White-washed sepulchers”)? The Pharisees, who knew their Scripture, who prayed and lived the “right way”…and condemned everyone who did did not do things their way.
One way “prayer’s pride” often looks is political partisanship. Please sit with that a moment. If we pray humbly, we can pray about what God is doing and wants done. It will usually look completely different than any particular political party.
Another way “prayer’s pride” often looks is angry accusations of the godless. We know that sin pains God, but may I point out that it tends to be the sin of the godly that pains Him the most. And if you say you have no sin, go read I John 1:8:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Step 2: …and pray
Okay, so when I pray for the nation, I insert II Timothy 2:1-2 and do specific prayers for the nation. Let’s look a those:
- intercessions, and
- giving of thanks,
- be made for all men;
- For kings, and
- for all that are in authority
- Supplications: These are requests. I work to keep my requests free from my (or my political party’s) agenda. So it looks like: Requests for wisdom, humility, fruit of the Spirit, honesty.
- Prayers: These are Scriptures I specifically pray for the nation. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you some to pray. The passage I pray for the nation daily is Ephesians 3: 14-21. Basically, I simply read this passage to God and offer it to Him for the nation.
- Intercessions: These are “petitions”, specific things I would like for God to handle. Again, I try to keep my own (and my political party’s) agenda out of it. I pray for people in need, cities or regions in need and ask for God’s help.
- Giving of thanks: Gratitude is one of the most important prayers that God has given us. He tells us to “give thanks” more than 100 times in the Bible. There is always something going on in our nation, or about our nation, that we can be grateful for.
- These 4 prayers need to be prayed for:
- All men: Daily I choose a person or people group or organization to offer the 4 prayers for.
- Kings: Well, we don’t have a king, but we have a president, so no matter how we feel about him, we have instructions to pray for him.
- All who are in authority: I pray for US Congress, US Supreme Court, State Governors, State Legislatures, State Supreme Courts, Local governments, military, police, leaders in churches and organizations I am part of. I rotate, so only do one group daily.
Step 3: and seek my face
II Chronicles 7:14 next instructs us to seek God’s face. For me, that means to sit quietly with Him, with a heart and mind to know and understand His heart and mind. Try it. It usually is not an emotional experience, because this is not about me. It is about me looking towards God; it’s about Him.
Step 4: and turn from my wicked ways
In this part I ask God to help me avoid my flaws and develop the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control). I never outgrow needing to do this.
This is how I pray for our nation. It is not THE way to pray for the nation, but if it helps you develop your way to pray, that’s good.