Prayers for America and Our Divine Editor | The Institute for Creation Research
Prayers for America and Our Divine Editor
Today is America’s National Day of Prayer. How should we pray for America? Some might feel led to apply 2 Chronicles 7:14, where God says,

“If My people who are called by My name will 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.”

But should this verse be applied to America? As a theological technicality, the easy answer is, “No, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not a prayer formula for America, for the simple reason that America is not God’s people.” Not all readers will perfectly agree with the analysis that follows—but be patient. You will agree with the conclusion!

Yet the more relevant question is this: Can the passage’s principle of repentance and humility be applied to Christians in America? Real Christians, of course, have a right to call themselves “God’s people.”1

On the other hand, it should be observed that the immediate context of 2 Chronicles 7:14 indicates that the phrase “My people, who are called by My name” refers to the nation of Israel that had just consecrated Solomon’s Temple for the worship of the Lord.2

Could an attempt to apply this verse to Christians living in America be out of context? If so, not to worry!

Scripture contains an example of a Gentile nation, Assyria’s Nineveh, that feared God, repented of national wickedness, and collectively humbled itself as a nation before God. The people pled for His mercy and forbearance!3 That wicked nation more than 2,500 years ago became repentant at an almost unbelievable scale in response to the doomsday preaching of the reluctant prophet Jonah.

The example of Nineveh’s national repentance illustrates a Gentile society that asked for and obtained God’s mercy at a time when they almost experienced destruction. In fact, if Jonah would have had his way the Ninevites would have been destroyed in heavenly fire just like Sodom and Gomorrah!4

Obviously, Nineveh’s revival was unprecedented—and there likely hasn’t been anything like it since.5

We can rely on the national repentance of Nineveh as a general principle that God will do likewise toward a Gentile society undergoes similar humility and begs His mercy. This is based upon a promise delivered by the prophet Jeremiah, who served God years after the Ninevite revival.

At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.6

What a comforting promise!

Amazingly, the passive form of the Hebrew verb nâḥam, which is translated as “repented” in Jonah 3:107 is elsewhere translated as “comforted” in Genesis 24:67 and 37:35. So the main idea is that God is “comforted” (or “relieved”) when we genuinely repent of our sins and plead for His mercy, because He grants mercy on the basis of Christ’s atonement.

Accordingly, when God is about to judge sinful behavior—whether it be personal or corporate, self-judgment of that sin invites God’s mercy and forbearance.8

Amazing! God’s inclination to punish sin is affected by (relieved by) our repentant humility. Our plea for mercy actually relieves God!

But there’s more good news if we are serious about praying for America!

Thankfully, we have a divine Editor who theologically corrects our sincere prayers for God’s grace. That divine Editor is none other than God the Holy Spirit, who dwells within every Christian.9

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.10

So, we should pray without ceasing for God’s mercy at the personal level, and also for whatever group we belong to—including our nation!11

Let God the Holy Spirit adjust the theology of your prayer “on the way up.” But there is no prayer to edit unless a prayer is given!

So, please pray for America—and trust the Holy Spirit to edit your prayers “on the way up.”

References
1. Acts 15:14. 2.
2 Chronicles 7:12-16.
3. Jonah 3:1-10.
4. Jonah 4:1-3, 4:9.
5. Matthew 12:41.
6. Jeremiah 17:7-8.
7. See also Joel 2:13 and Jeremiah 26:3.
8. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 and 1 John 1:9 with Jeremiah 17:7-8 and Joel 2:12-14a.
9. Romans 8:9.
10. Romans 8:26-27.
11. 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Romans 1:9; Acts 12:5; 2 Timothy 1:3.

*Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.
The Latest
NEWS
ICR's New In-Depth Science Book: Chimps and Humans
Evolutionists frequently claim that human and chimp DNA are over 98% similar. They need this percentage to support their hypothesis that humans and...

NEWS
Fossil Chromatin Looks Young
What are the odds that a buried animal would still have intact DNA after 125 million years? Researchers publishing in the journal Communications Biology...

NEWS
Inside October 2021 Acts & Facts
How is the Lord’s handiwork on display at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park? Does the universe look old? What can we learn about science and...

NEWS
Two-Volume Series: Restoring the Truth about Origins
The subject of origins continues to attract interest from the public and the scientific establishment. Understanding our origins informs us of who we are...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Floods Form Fossils Fast
Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
A Battle for Hearts
Since the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History opened in fall of 2019, tens of thousands of people have walked through our doors. They...

APOLOGETICS
Eating Bugs Isn't Always So Simple
The Lord Jesus Christ deserves glory for why He made Earth’s diverse creatures, and He also deserves glory for the complicated details of how...

ACTS & FACTS
Does the Universe Look Old?
Since distant galaxies are billions of light-years away, some understandably assume that distant starlight must have taken billions of years to reach...

ACTS & FACTS
Hawaii Behind the Scenes
ICR Research Scientist Dr. Brian Thomas and ICR Video Producer Clint Loveness, with help from friends and family, recently shot footage in Maui, Hawaii,...

ACTS & FACTS
Mutation, Design, and Faith
Any alteration in a cell’s DNA sequence is a mutation. These changes can come from copying errors, exposure to chemicals or radiation, or from...