"I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's house, have committed against you." Neh 1:6
It is impossible to look at the current world economic system today and not consider the possibility that Babylon, the great world power of mammon, is falling (Rev 14:8). Unlike previous recessions and depressions, there seems to be no nation untouched by the crisis. It would appear that the world is under judgement for elevating love of money above love of God.
God's chosen people were under judgement. Word came to Nehemiah, in exile, that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, that the city gates had been destroyed by fire and that the people were in great distress. Nehemiah's response, as a godly man, is intriguing for he did not simply weep over the state of God's people which had brought about such catastrophe. He associated himself with the sin of the nation and it's people completely. He does not try to excuse himself or claim to be better that his fellow countrymen.
Recognising Where the Guilt Lies
How are we praying for our nation? Are we looking upon our compatriots as different from us? Do we see their materialistic lifestyle and judge their contribution to the present crisis? Are they at fault because they have borrowed more money than they can afford to pay? Have they been to liberal with their credit cards? Is it the fault of the banks, greedy business or incompetent government? Is it all somebody else's fault? Are we praying for them from outside the situation?
Nehemiah wasn't judgemental towards those who appeared most guilty and neither should we be. Nehemiah grieved over the state of his nation as we do but associated himself with the greed and corruption which had led to God's judgement. That added power to his prayer. He prayed as one of the guilty ones pleading for forgiveness and God both heard and used him.
We have a duty before God to pray for our nation and, as citizens, we are under the judgement that falls on our country. If we want our prayers for mercy and restoration to be heard we cannot deny our part in the nation's sin. We must recognise our own guilt, even if only by association, and plead with the Lord for mercy and restoration as Nehemiah did.
In 1959, Dr Martin Lloyd Jones wrote a book on revival in which he noted this nation was well overdue for a revival. 50 years on, in 2009, we are still waiting. As men and women see that nothing governments can do will deliver us from acts of terror or financial calamity, they will become more receptive to the gospel of the kingdom of God. Now is the time to identify with the lost and broken, to plead for God to be merciful on our nation and to pour out His Holy Spirit in revival power, being ready ourselves to be broken and revived.
Prayer College Assignment
Pray for revival, but do so by first identifying yourself with the rebels and pleading not solely for them but for yourself and your family.