But the one thing that kept coming to mind was to pray for our nation. And as I did, it kept coming back to the fact that “our nation” is not “them,” but “us.” And more specifically, it’s me. If I want to see unity in these so-called United States, if I want the Lord to bring spiritual awakening to our land, then I don’t need so much to pray for others as for myself.
Which brings to mind a principle I have mentioned before that I often have to reiterate when counseling, especially when it involves relational issues involving other people. I usually have to mention it when there’s only one of the parties there, often a wife, or a husband involved in marital strife. And, it usually frustrates or infuriates that person to no end. It’s not just a cute cliche, it’s a big reality, for counseling and for just about everything else.
The conversation usually goes something like this: The only person we can work on here is yourself. Let’s not talk about the other person, and their problems and their issues. They’re not here, so it won’t do any good to talk about them. The only person we have any control over here is you, and besides, you are only responsible for your actions anyway. It may feel good for you to unload on the other person, who is not here to defend themselves, but it won’t do any good or make any progress. There clearly are changes that need to be made, or you wouldn’t be here, but the only person you can change here is you. So, let’s see how we can change you.
You may have heard that conversation first-hand once or twice, but either way you can understand how it may be frustrating if you came looking for someone to join you in blaming the other person for the problems they are causing. And in reality, the other person may truly be the one who is at fault, but once again, if they are not there, how is it going to help to talk about it, if we can’t fix them anyway? You have to focus on what, or who, you can change.
Which brings me back to my prayer for our nation, and where we are these days. I can’t fix everybody else, from either side of the political spectrum. And no matter how misguided I may believe their political or moral stance may be, throwing stones at others is of no use, whether it be on social media or in my privacy of my own prayer life. In fact, it is rather condescending of me to suggest that I have it all right and they have it all wrong, whoever “they” is. Blaming others for our nation’s political and moral woes never does anybody any good. Either way, I can’t now, nor could I ever, fix them. And I’m not responsible for them anyway.
So, as I pray for America, I am praying for myself. For though I am only 1 in about 319 million, I am the only America I have control over. As I ask the Lord for brokenness and repentance in the land, I must look in the mirror and see where I have fallen short in pride and sin and come to the Lord for renewal and restoration. As I pray for a quickening of heart, there’s no better place to begin than right where I’m sitting. As the old hymn used to say, “Lord, send a revival, and let it begin with me.”
I hope you’ll join me in praying for our nation, and begin right where you are. Who knows what the Lord is going to do, beginning in my life and in your life, in our church, in our community. And remember, amidst the chaos and division of our nation this week, Jesus still reigns as King of kings, and He can be trusted.
And one more thing on this Veteran’s Day. Thank you to all of you who have served our country in the armed services in protecting our freedom. Your sacrificial service on our behalf is appreciated more than you could ever know.
May the Lord bless each of you with His grace and peace. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.