On October 27-28, 2016, it was an honor for my wife, Becky, and me to represent the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) at the National Prayer Assembly held in Washington, DC. Organized by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, more than two hundred people from across the United States, Canada, and Peru joined in this special time of prayer for our nation.
It would seem that this prayer gathering, just prior to the election process of our nation, would have centered on the elections but that was not the case. The focus of the prayers was for our nation. We were all deeply touched that people from other nations took the time and effort to come to Washington, DC from their countries to join us in praying for the people of the United States.
Two statements from key leaders seemed to capture the essence of our gathering. Ricky Bradshaw, pastor of First Southwest Baptist Church in Houston said, “The condition of the land, is always related to the condition of God’s people.” Ronnie Floyd, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention shared, “As the church goes, so goes America.”
Various speakers shared concerns for a few minutes and then the group prayed about the particular issues. Pastor Joe Ahn, an IPHC pastor from Columbia, Maryland, led in intercession for children, youth, and emerging leaders.
We began by repenting for the corporate sins of the United States and cried out in intercession for spiritual revival and moral restoration for the church in the U.S. Other topics of prayer included healing of the division in our churches and nation; restorative justice and racial reconciliation; prayer for each branch of government, national security, family and sexual issues, religious freedom and the economic challenges in our nation. We also joined in intercession for the poor, the media and educational systems.
And now, some weeks after this prayer gathering and the elections, I reflect on what is happening in our land. Fear seems to be an element that grips many. Scripture reveals that only perfect love can drive out fear (I John 4:18). We cannot drop fear from our lives; God’s love in us is what drives, or casts out, the fear in our lives. The Message gives John 4 in this manner. “There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear.” I believe God is calling us, the church, to be a place of love; a place where fear can be driven out of people by the love of God. That role of the church never changes; in every nation and every era of time. The condition of the land is always related to the condition of the God’s people.
For some time I have used the 40 Day Prayer Covenant as a guide for my prayer thoughts. One of the lines in that prayer covenant is: “Empower me to love others the way you love me.”
By Lou Shirey