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The Power of a Praying Nation

(Paperback - 2002)
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Overview

Stormie's timely guide to praying for our country covers complex issues-praying for our enemies, why bad things happen to good people, and what it means to be a godly nation. Includes beautiful sample prayers.

Details

  • SKU: 9780736910217
  • SKU10: 0736910212
  • Title: The Power of a Praying Nation
  • Qty Remaining Online: 138
  • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
  • Date Published: Feb 2002
  • Pages: 119
  • Weight lbs: 0.32
  • Dimensions: 7.96" L x 5.28" W x 0.32" H
  • Features: Table of Contents
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical;
  • Category: PRAYER

Excerpt

Chapter One

When Tragedy Hits Home

I woke up at 3:30 in the morning on September 11, 2001, with a deep feeling of dread, overwhelming sadness, and suffocating oppression. It was so heavy on me that it felt like the weight of the world. At first I thought something terrible must have happened or that someone had died. I’d awakened with a similar feeling several years before on the morning after the sudden tragic death of a close friend. Yet I don’t even recall that feeling being as strong as what I was experiencing at this particular moment. But to my knowledge no one had died and nothing terrible had happened.

I realized I needed to pray, but I didn’t know exactly what to pray about. So I started with praying for each of my children and my husband. I knew they were safe in their beds at that time, but I thought perhaps there was something looming out ahead that I should pray about in advance. I didn’t have any clear leading about that, so I moved on to other loved ones. I prayed for my dad, sister, brothers-and-sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, aunts, and uncles. I prayed for friends one by one and each of their family members. I prayed for myself. Was the trip I was going to be taking out of the country something to be concerned about? Still no relief. Still no answer. Still no peace.

“Has something terrible happened that I don’t know about?” I asked God. “Is something bad about to happen? What is this heavy oppression, Lord?”

There was still no answer, so I kept on praying as the Spirit led. It was quite some time before I was finally able to fall asleep again. As a result, I slept much later than usual. I didn’t even hear my husband, Michael, get up and make coffee in the kitchen. Shortly after 9:00 A.M.he burst into the bedroom and woke me from a deep sleep.

“Stormie, you have to get up and see this,” he said as he grabbed the remote from the small table on the other side of the bedroom and turned on the TV.

“An airplane hit one of the World Trade Center towers, and as I was watching the news coverage, another plane ran right into the other tower,” he urgently explained. “They are both on fire.”

“Oh God, help us,” I said as I got up and moved to where I could see the television more clearly. What he described was being replayed at that very moment. The sight was sickening and shocking, almost too horrible to believed.

“God help the people in these buildings,” Michael and I prayed together in desperation. “Save everyone who is still alive. Rescue those in the upper floors who have no way out. Help them to evacuate the lower floors.”

We sat glued to the television, paralyzed by the horror of what we saw.

My mind flashed back to the last time I stood in front of these same buildings. I remembered looking up at their mammoth stature and being struck with how solid and breathtakingly beautiful they were.

Those towers are girded about with steel, I thought as I continued to watch the television. They withstood that last enormous bombing at the site of their very foundation. Surely they will hold now. If the fires can be confined to the upper floors then certainly the floors below will be spared.

We continued to pray as the tragedy kept unfolding. The news reported another jetliner had crashed into the Pentagon. There were more deaths and more destruction. It was clear by that time that America was under attack and the plan was to destroy as many people and high-profile landmarks as possible using fuel-heavy aircraft as bombs.

“Dear God, put a stop to this evil destruction,” we prayed in desperation. “End this attack on our country. If there are more planes headed for other targets, stop them immediately. Halt this onslaught of terror. Protect President Bush. Hide him in Your shadow, Lord, where no weapon formed against his life will prosper. Give him wisdom to make quick decisions.”

As horrifying as all these events were, nothing in our worst nightmare or wildest thoughts prepared us for what we witnessed next, when suddenly one of the enormous 110-story World Trade Center towers collapsed completely to the ground in a heap of burning rubble. Thousands of people who had not already died in the fire and smoke of the upper floors were now carried to their deaths. The unimaginable horror was impossible to believe. We sat frozen in shock, stricken by the overwhelming magnitude of this unfathomable catastrophe.

“This can’t be happening,” I cried as we sat in stunned silence, watching it over and over. “Oh Lord, save anyone who might still be alive.”

We were then notified by a news report that another aircraft had crashed outside of Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania. And in Washington, D.C., part of the Pentagon had collapsed. More unsuspecting people met a violent death.

Twenty minutes later the other World Trade Center tower collapsed like its twin in a burning, billowing, blinding heap of rubble. Thousands more lives were lost. We and the nation watched the events again and again, as if by doing so we could make ourselves comprehend them. But it was a tragedy beyond comprehension. Through our tears and shock we tried to get our arms around the enormity of it all, but it was just too big. We hoped to wake up from this nightmare. But we never did. We had awakened toa nightmare instead. And this nightmare was just beginning.

We looked for signs of hope and kept praying that by some miracle people were still alive in the rubble or in the mall under ground. “Lord, keep those people alive until rescue workers can get to them,” I prayed over and over.

Another news report informed us that the four crashed planes had been hijacked commercial jetliners. Each one had passengerson them. It was another devastating realization that more unsuspecting, innocent people had been killed in a most brutal and terrifying way.

Then came the news that hundreds of firefighters and police officers were lost in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. Hundreds! Hundreds of brave, heroic men and women lost their lives trying to save the lives of others. Was there no end to bad news on this day? The grief was unbearable. It felt like the weight of the world.

The weight of the world!

At that moment, I remembered awakening in the middle of the night with the same terrible, oppressive feeling. And suddenly I realized what that was all about.

“Oh Lord, You were calling me to pray for our country, but I didn’t get it,” I said. I prayed for myself and my loved ones, but I didn’t think to pray for my country. I had learned years ago the importance of praying for the nation’s leaders, especially the president of the United States. I had been praying fervently for President George W. Bush from the time he was elected because I had this strong, unshakeable, undeniable feeling that he would be the target of a would-be assassin. My prayer group, the women who meet weekly in my home, felt that way too, and so we faithfully prayed for his protection each time we were together. But never did we think to pray about a terrorist attack on our land. That possibility just seemed too remote.

In the days that followed, the nation woke up each morning with heavy hearts. But as the initial paralysis of grief wore off, we became determined to do something about the forces of evil that had caused this destruction so that they could never do such a thing to anyone again. We rallied behind our president, confident that he was the right man at the right time. His compassion and unflinching determination to bring the perpetrators to justice gave us strength. And he had by his side many gifted, knowledgeable, godly, and wise men and women who were capable of getting the job done.

America declared war on those responsible for this horrible act. But it would be a war like no other. There were no boundary lines for the enemy who hid and preyed on the helpless and innocent. The thousands of lives that were destroyed on September 11 were not soldiers on a battlefield. They were civilians who said goodbye to their loved ones that morning, never dreaming it would be for the last time. They were fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, and friends who would never come home again.

Now there were numbers of children left without a father or mother to love them. There were mothers and fathers without the son or daughter they had sacrificed their lives to raise. Brothers, sisters, family members, loved ones, friends, valued acquaintances, coworkers, employers, employees, business partners and associates were now forever bereft of the people who gave their lives meaning. As we heard each new heartbreaking story of tragic loss we cried all over again. We mourned with those who mourned. We tried to have hope along with those who still hoped their loved ones would be found. People everywhere extended themselves to do whatever they could to help. But whatever we did never seemed like enough. The loss was too great. The destruction too massive.

Of all the many horrific aspects of that tragic day, it seems like the moment the first World Trade Center building fell something fell in our hearts as well. It was the end of an era. The things in life we thought could never fall did. And something fell in us too.

We realized how desperately we needed God. Prayer suddenly became the right thing to do. God got invited back into our public gathering places. People saw that they couldn’t handle life without Him after all. There were many gutwrenching questions about why this had happened, and people looked to God for the answers. They found prayer was an answer that had been forgotten for too long.

For weeks afterwards, I couldn’t stop crying over the senseless loss of life, and for the families and loved ones who grieved for them. Indeed all Americans cried together. If God really does keep our tears in a bottle, as the psalmist suggests (Psalm 56:8), then heaven must have been flooded in the aftermath of that morning. Our flow of combined tears became a mighty river of unity like we had not known before in this country. It flowed out to others, even to strangers on the streets. And it flowed back to us in the outpouring of love and compassion from people all over the world who shared our grief.

We who witnessed these events will never be the same. We witnessed the unimaginable. We were exposed to incomprehensible evil. We watched thousands of people disintegrate in front of our eyes. We may have gone back about our business because we had to, but it will never be business as usual again. We look at each other differently now. With new eyes of appreciation. With new eyes of suspicion. We may have resumed our lives, but our minds contain the knowledge that something bad could happen at any time. We’ve gone back to building for tomorrow, but we can’t be certain what tomorrow will bring.

Anyone who doubted the existence of evil can’t deny it any longer. They’ve seen it in action. Even the pictures of ground zero, with the endless smoke rising over mass destruction, resembled what hell must surely look like. Satan had left his imprint. His destructive design for our lives was revealed in the rubble, in the ashes of lives that are no more.

Have we cried our last tear over this horrible event in our nation’s history? I hope not. Will we get to the point where we can see our flag or hear our national anthem and forget all it meant and symbolized for us in the days following September 11? I hope not. Will we take for granted the freedom for which thousands of brave men and women have given their lives over the years? Will we again feel so secure that we think we don’t have to look to God as a nation anymore? I pray not.

Even as our lives return to normal, we must never forget what happened. To remember will remind us to pray like we have never prayed before. If the memories of that day can inspire us to become prayer warriors strong enough to turn our nation toward God, then the thousands of victims of that dark morning will not have died in vain.

We who know God have heard His call to pray, and it has awakened in us a whole new sense of urgency. But it must also broaden our scope. When I heard His call to pray early that morning, I was only thinking in terms of my own little world. God wants us to think in terms of praying for our nation and the nations of the world. Our prayers must not only cover our own land, but they must also reach around the globe.

Regardinghow to pray, God knows that “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” (Romans 8:26). In other words, we won’t always know the specifics of what we need to pray for, but the Holy Spirit will help us. I remember in that middle-of-the-night prayer session when I didn’t know what more to pray about, I felt led to pray the Lord’s Prayer. Who knows if the words “Your will be done on earth” and “deliver us from evil” might have saved even one person’s life that day? The Holy Spirit knows and will lead us when we ask Him to.

As to why I didn’t hear from God about specifics of how to pray on that early morning when I was awakened out of a sound sleep, I believe the answer lies in the fact that I had not been praying along those lines in recent months. Even though I had been taught how to intercede for my country, I had fallen out of the habit. And there was good reason for that. I had been dealing with a life-threatening illness and though I had nearly recovered physically, I was still trying to recover my life, which had gone speeding on by me during my long convalescence. I had not been asking God to show me how to pray for my country and its leaders. My mind and heart were not there and so I was not sensitive to that.

But in addition to the specific prayers in a moment of great need, there are also prayers we can pray on a regular basis that will cover our nation and help us to become the intercessors God is calling us to be. And if we join together in these prayers, we can become a powerful praying nation. This book is about those prayers.

Today there is a hole in the heart of our nation that only God can fill. We have a pain in our souls that only God can heal. Our country is weighed down with a burden of grief that only God can carry. He wants to do all that and more. God wants to bring new life where there has been death. He wants to bring restoration where there has been loss. He wants to not only raise us up again, but to take us to new heights. But that can only happen if we turn to Him with a humble and pure heart, seek His face and His ways, and pray like never before.

Let’s do all that so we can unite this country in prayer and see the power of God move on our behalf. Let’s truly become one nation under God, indivisible. Let’s ask for the peace of God to bless our land and the nations of the world. And let us continue in prayer to fight for liberty and justice for all.

Prayer Power

Lord, I pray for the people of this country to find healing for the memories of the terrible tragedies that have happened in our land. I pray especially for those who have lost loved ones. Give them a greater sense of Your presence so that they may find Your comfort. Provide for their every need. As we weep with those who weep, help us to bear their burdens in prayer. Pour Your healing love over them so they will know Your peace. As we recover from this tragic time, help us not forget why we must “pray without ceasing” for our nation to be protected (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Help us to remember that the only things in this world that are indestructible are You and Your Word.

Your Word tells us that there will be cataclysmic events that will happen in the world, but I pray that there will be an end to disasters or tragedies in our nation. Even if those kinds of events do occur again, I pray that You would protect us in the midst of them. Turn the heart of our nation toward You. Awaken in us a new realization of our need for Your guidance and protection. Give us a new understanding of what is really important. Comfort us in our affliction with the life of Your Word (Psalm 119:50). Your Word says that You have “borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). Bear our grief now and make it count for something. Carry our sorrow and turn it into good for future generations. Put gladness in our hearts once again.

Lord, teach me how to be a powerful intercessor for my nation and the nations of the world. Help me to pray consistently and with great understanding. Give me revelation and insight that guides my prayers so that I may pray more effectively. Help the believers of this nation to rise up together and learn to pray in power. Enable us to teach our children how to pray for their nation as well, and help us all to understand what it means to be a nation whose God is the Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray.

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