“O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules…
O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.
O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act…”
(Daniel 9:4b -5, 18-19a)
Most High God, Creator of all things both visible and unseen, Refuge for Your people and wise and just Judge, You alone are good. To You belongs all manner of praise and honor. You are faithful and Your lovingkindness is without end. I rejoice in You today, for no matter what circumstances may lie in my future, You are enough and Your grace is sufficient for me.
But Lord my Strength, I also weep before You today for my weakness and the weakness of my people. I come to the Throne of Grace empty-handed, for I have nothing to offer the Almighty but my confession. Even my most noble deeds are stained and soiled by selfishness and pride. To my shame, my mouth utters complaints that expose my unbelief and do not magnify the incredible benevolence of my God.
And my nation, O King of kings; my nation is reeling and staggering from the effects of a huge and horrible malignancy. My countrymen are consumed by our own sin. Like lepers, we can see the ravages of decay yet we are numb to the pain. Sadly, we are even in denial of the extent of the damage, for we have called what is evil, “good” and what is good, “evil” and reviled and ridiculed those who reject confusion and embrace purity and truth.
As a nation, our faces no longer burn with shame but instead we delight in debauchery and make it a source of entertainment, casually exploiting others for that which does not satisfy but only increases a peculiar, wasting hunger. We have cast off all inhibitions, even rejecting common sense and reason in favor of feelings and perceptions.
With pride grown grotesquely bloated, we have believed our foolishness to be evidence of our great intellect and mocked the very God who gave us life. We have exchanged Your truth for a lie and we worship our selves along with our own mad notions rather than the Creator of life.
What was formed in hopes of a “more perfect Union” has become a disunion. My race, the human race, has become impulsive in our fears and prejudices and have divided ourselves up into groups bordered by nothing more than economic and cosmetic differences. We seem to live fueled by rage, harboring grudges and licking our wounds instead of extending kindness and forgiveness. Rather than bear with others patiently, we jostle and jockey for positions as silly as being the first in line at the next streetlight.
We have attempted to rationalize evil by sanitizing the words we use to speak of it and have attempted to escape the consequences of our deeds by eliminating or ignoring them. Just as Israel did, we have sacrificed our children to worship prosperity, prostituting ourselves to the gods of wealth, convenience, entertainment, and comfort.
We have dressed ourselves in the garments of our success, yet we cannot see that they are mere tatters, soiled by the stench of our own putrefaction.
In all this and so much more, we have sinned and fallen far short of Your grace. And yet, Lord, I do not believe the sickness and folly of this nation in which I sojourn is beyond hope. Your grace is sufficient even for this great burden of guilt.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, You declared to Israel:
…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
I believe You, my Lord.
I repent of my own wickedness, of my critical and unforgiving nature, of my careless words and my unbelief. On behalf of the waywardness and wickedness of my nation, I repent as well and plead with You on behalf of those who have been blinded and hardened by the deceit of our ancient enemy.
As I lift up my supplication to You, I know I do not pray alone. Even so, O Lord, hear the cry of Your people! Oh Lord, forgive! Oh Lord, save!
Send Your Holy Spirit in full force, piercing the hearts of this nation, healing the blindness and opening many eyes to see Your Truth, replacing numb and stony hearts with vulnerable hearts of flesh that ache with the pain of contrition.
Bring about a flood of compassion for others, of mercy and tenderness for those who hurt, of zeal for Your Kingdom, and of hunger for Your truth.
Teach our hearts to forgive the little slights we have endured because of the immensity of what You have forgiven us. What a gift You offer in Jesus! May the eyes of many, many enslaved souls be open to see the wonder of His sacrifice and the riches of Your grace. How astonishing that we who deserve dishonor, contempt, and death have been offered forgiveness, mercy, and everlasting life!
Then, O Lord, as many come before the Throne of Grace in true repentance, replace our leper’s rags with garments of praise. Place a new song in our mouths and teach us to magnify Your name together, opening our lips in praise for the marvel of our Salvation and for love of our Savior.
No matter what the future holds for our nation, may it be that we soon see an influx of new sheep to Your flock, and may we welcome them with tears and shouts of joy.
For those who are in Christ already, we ask that You increase our thirst for You, O Living Water. We confess our distraction and our spiritual lethargy and ask You to renew the joy of our salvation. Renew our passion and our fervor for Your Kingdom.
Fount of Living Water, fill Your people to overflowing, drowning out the chattering lies of our enemy in a thunderous cascade of Your righteousness. Help us to hear only Your voice, our Good Shepherd, and compel us to obey swiftly with eager diligence.
As a nation, I pray that You will humble our hearts and bring us to our knees in gratitude for the work that Jesus has completed on the cross. Turn our mocking into shouts of adoration and praise. Let us magnify You, our God! Restore that which is broken, cut away the festering disease, and heal our land.
And then, O Gracious Redeemer, restore us to Yourself that we may be fully restored. Even if we should wait weeks, years, decades — even lifetimes — remind us that Your timing that is perfect. May we never doubt Your goodness nor waver in trust, for what You have begun You will surely bring to pass.
Great is Your faithfulness; even when we falter in unbelief, You are steadfast and Your mercies are new each morning. O Lord, give strength to Your people! Amen.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”