Neh 1:5, Dan 9:4
Have you ever noticed the difference between the way we tend to pray, and the way the saints in the Bible prayed? We (me included) tend to address God in a very familiar way almost as if we are addressing a friend or co-worker. Yet when we read in the Scriptures, where do we see anyone addressing God in this way?
When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray he first said to say “Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be your name”, or as the New Living Translation puts it “May your name be kept Holy”. Why is this important? Well, I believe it has to do with the fear of the lord.
From Genesis to Revelation, the saints of the Bible feared God, and responded to Him in prayer with the knowledge that He is the creator and they are the created. They never lost sight of the fact that He is God, and they would often confess that fact at the start of their prayers. Making confession of who and what God is in prayer is vital when it comes to praying for the restoration of a nation.
Why? Because when we affirm or confess the facts of God’s character: His holiness, mightiness, and greatness, as well as His unending love, great mercy, and forgiveness, we throw in stark contrast our character which is flawed by sin.
How can we ever know the true filth of our sin without first seeing God for Who and what He is? We can’t, and neither will this nation. Before we can truly see the sinfulness of our nation, we must first look at God and confess His glory! Because it is in the light of God’s glory that the shadow of sin is seen best!
Confessing who and what God is, as well as His mighty acts among men, sets our hearts right when it comes to confessing sin; we see our sinfulness and the sinfulness around us far more clearly than we would have otherwise. Remembering who He is and His greatness is vital to praying for the healing of a nation.
While we are confessing the greatness of God, we must at the same time confess the greatness of His love and mercy! Confessing God’s holiness and greatness without confessing His love and mercy can lead to sterile legalism and a loveless faith! Confessing only the great love and mercy of God can lead to a faith that believes God will not judge sin, so live any way you want! We need to do both. Nehemiah and Daniel did, and we need to also. Once we have done this and set our hearts right before God, we can then move onto the next element of praying for our nation.
2. Confession of our national sins
Neh 1:6-7 “I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.”
Dan 9:5-6 “We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.”