Praying and Fasting for Our Nation
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Devotional for Day 4
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.
— Daniel 9:1-3 (ESV)
Daniel’s life is an encouraging example of what it looks like to seek the Lord in prayer and fasting for the sake of others. Daniel’s people had been living in sinful rebellion toward God, and Daniel took personal responsibility for their corporate sin by pleading to the Lord for mercy with prayer and fasting. Daniel chapter 9 goes on to describe his prayer where he declares who God is, what God has done in the past, as well as holding God to His promises to forgive and restore His people.
It is important to note that this account of Daniel interceding for his nation follows a description of his vision of the Son of Man. Daniel encounters God in his vision and then is burdened to seek the Lord on behalf of his people. Similarly, Peter had a vision once while seeking the Lord in prayer which compelled him to share the Good News with the first Gentile family. Paul also encountered God in a vision on the road to Damascus that transformed him into the world’s foremost evangelist and apostle.
There are many examples from the scriptures and church history that demonstrate this very principle, that as we spend time in the presence of God, our hearts become burdened to pray and sometimes fast for others. We, like Daniel, Peter, and Paul, have encountered God’s mercy and kindness in Christ Jesus. We, who are the recipients of God’s marvelous grace, have the awesome privilege and responsibility to intercede for our nation and the people God has put in our lives. Let us lift up our country before the Lord in prayer and fasting and cry out for its restoration. If we don’t seek God and ask for mercy and forgiveness over our nation, who will?
Take a moment today and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you specifically how He wants you to pray for your nation.
O our God, listen to the prayer of Your servants and to their pleas for mercy, and for Your own sake, O Lord, make Your face to shine upon this nation. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name. (Daniel 9:17-19)
Ministry Fellow, Christian Union at Harvard