I was speaking to someone recently about the old computer operating system DOS. I remember as a kid learning how to write programs for DOS. We were taught to increase each command line by 10 so if you needed to add a line of programming later, you had the room. Another thing they taught us is the phrase, “If this, then that.” It was a way to tell the computer if the user does this, then I want you to skip to another line and run the program from there. It was all about cause and consequence.
The Bible is full of “if this, then that” type phrases. In John 15:7 Jesus said, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you then you can ask whatever you will.” II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people will humble themselves and pray…, then I will hear from Heaven and heal their land.” These are just a couple of examples. God puts conditions on many promises that require an action on our part first in order to activate them just like in the old DOS programming. If we don’t do the first part, then the next part is skipped.
Another conditional promise is found in II John 1:3. It says, “Grace, mercy and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ – the Son of the Father – will continue to be with us who live in truth and love. (NLT)” If we will continue to live in truth and love we will receive grace, mercy and peace. Grace is God’s unmerited favor which affords joy, delight and pleasure according to the Blue Letter Bible. The favor of God alone is enough, but John added in through his use of the word grace that we would also get joy, delight and pleasure by living in truth and love.
Next, he said we would get mercy. One of the definitions of mercy is to have the providence of God. That means that God will order your steps and guide your future. He won’t just let you wander. Your life will be filled with purpose which leads to the last promise of peace. When we live in love and truth, we will also get peace in our hearts, our minds and our lives. That includes peace with others. We will be someone who gets along with others and doesn’t have to carry the weight of stressful relationships because there’s no peace between you. God wants to give us these three blessings if we will simply live in truth and love.
As you read the Old Testament in the Bible, you come across several places where the nation of Israel were summoned to pray to God as one nation. It was usually during times of captivity that they remembered the Lord, fell on their knees, repented of their sins and prayed. God heard their prayers every time, delivered them from bondage and returned them to their land. Some times it only took a few people to humble themselves before God and He would rescue them. I don’t know why sometimes it took the whole nation and others it didn’t, but I do know that God hears our prayers.
Today is the National Day of Prayer. It’s a day where we as believers have an opportunity to pray with a unified voice for our country and to repent of our sins as a nation. I understand that most Christians may not join in this day of prayer and certainly not all Americans will. Perhaps today will be one of those days where God will listen to the voice of a few and restore an entire nation. Today could be the day that starts a revival that turns the hearts of our people back to God. Revival is sparked by a few and then spreads untamed across the land. Will you be one of the few that sparks it?
The most famous scripture used for days like today is II Chronicles 7:14. It says, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. (NLT)” This requires more than a one day commitment of prayer. It requires continual prayer for this nation. It requires us, who are called by His name, to seek His face beyond a day of prayer. The Amplified version says, “Pray, seek, crave and require of necessity my face.” We have got to seek God as if He were a necessity like air in our lungs if we want to see this nation return to Him.
I’m glad that we live in a nation where all but two presidents since George Washington have set aside national days to pray and to seek God’s face on behalf of our nation. The leadership that God has placed in our nation has always understood the value of prayer of its people for the nation. It just hasn’t always been understood by the people. When we pray for our nation, God hears our prayers and moves on our behalf. God desires to restore this or any nation who will get on their knees and seek Him. It starts with a remnant of people who will accept that call. It starts with you and me. Will you join other believers today and in the future to pray for our nation?