America has a complex history, to say the least. There are times when Americans have stood up for what is right and just in the eyesight of God, but unfortunately, there is also a dark side to America’s past. This dark side includes slavery, segregation, systemic oppression, and racism to name a few.
More recently, this history has been at the forefront of national debate and conversation, causing division and disunity. It is a difficult time in America on many different fronts, and many people feel helpless and unsure of how to move forward.
As Christians, we have a unique opportunity to unite during these turbulent cultural times to see our nation healed by God.
I truly believe that we as a nation can and must take a cue from James 5:13-20, which provides a blueprint for how we can come together and invoke the prayer of faith to see God heal our nation of its sin and spiritual darkness.
“13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
In this passage, James exhorts us to lift up our nation and those who are suffering in prayer, offer words of encouragement and praise to those who are joyful, unite in seeking God’s presence and healing as His church, confess our sins to God and one another, and trust in the power of the prayer of faith. James encourages us to turn to God to be forgiven of our sins through the prayer of faith, believing that God will and can bring about healing and unity in the midst of cultural turmoil.
And this first Thursday of the week in May, we have a special opportunity to put these very actions into practice during the National Day of Prayer. Since 1952, this day has been a time to reflect on the power of prayer to unite people in the common cause of praying for our nation and its leaders.
This year’s theme, taken from James 5:16b, reminds us of the fervent prayer of the righteous and its ability to avail much. There is power in the gift of prayer when rightly placing God at the center and all the more when a righteous person, one in right standing relationship with God, is the one praying the prayer of faith. And this prayer of faith in Jesus has the power to heal not only people but to reconcile and restore a divided and disunited nation plagued by sin.
So, let us not despair into hopelessness. Let’s place our complete hope, trust, and faith in Jesus as we unite and gather for the National Day of Prayer.
Practical Next Steps of Praying the Prayer of Faith:
Pray for those who are suffering.
Whether it’s due to political unrest, racial tensions, or personal struggles, there are many people in our country who are suffering. As believers, we must lift them up in prayer, asking God to bring healing and peace to their lives.
Offer words of encouragement and praise.
When we see others who are cheerful and joyful, we must encourage them by speaking words of praise and affirmation. This helps build up their spirits and contributes to an overall sense of positivity and hope.
Seek healing through God’s church.
James encourages us to call for the elders of the church if we are sick or in need of healing. This can be a powerful way to experience the healing power of God, both physically and spiritually.
Confess and pray for one another.
James also encourages us to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another. This fosters an atmosphere of vulnerability and trust, which can lead to deeper relationships and a greater sense of unity.
Trust in the power of prayer.
The prayer of a righteous person has great power, and we can trust that God will work through our prayers to bring healing and reconciliation to our nation.
- How can you incorporate prayer into our daily lives — where we live, work, and play — to promote healing and unity in our nation?
- How and to whom can you practically apply James 5:13-20 in your own life and in your interactions with others?
- How can we balance the need for justice and accountability with Jesus’ call to forgive and love our neighbors as ourselves?
- How will you continue to pray for our nation and its leaders, all the way down to praying for local elected officials, even after the National Day of Prayer has passed?
Let’s Pray Together:
May God use us, His sons and daughters, to bring healing and unity to our nation, its people, and beyond. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Alvin Brown, the Lead Pastor of Mosaic Church Fort Worth, brings over a decade of pastoral ministry experience and more than 20 years of operational and technical leadership expertise. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Telecommunications Management from DeVry University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. He enjoys spending quality time with his wife, Mallary, and their three children and contributing as a writer to various media outlets.