God hears and responds when we pray, intercede and repent on behalf of our nation.
“O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfil your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations… O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”
We are all familiar with the idea of personal prayer and repentance. But can one person or a group of people pray and repent on behalf of a whole city or nation? Does God hear and respond to such prayers?
When we look in the Scriptures, we see that the resounding answer to this question is yes. There are many examples of this kind of repentance in the Bible. The first and perhaps most obvious is the prophet Daniel, whose prayer is quoted in part above. Israel was captive in Babylon, and Daniel understood that this was a consequence of the nation’s many sins against God. Daniel didn’t wait until enough of his people were willing to repent—he went straight to the prayer closet and repented on behalf of his nation.
We see a similar situation with the city of Nineveh. Jonah (very reluctantly) took a message of judgment to that city—one that Nineveh’s king could have easily dismissed, given that the city worshipped other gods. But the king believed Jonah’s word, and called his nation to repent in sackcloth and ashes. With his leadership, Nineveh’s king led his people in repentance, and God spared the city.
Abraham famously interceded for the city of Sodom, pleading with God not to destroy it if even ten people could be found there with repentant hearts—and God agreed. As we know, God ended up raining fire and brimstone down on the city, which was evidence that the city was so wholly corrupt that ten righteous people couldn’t be found within its walls. But God’s promise stood: had ten repented, Abraham’s intercession would have resulted in Sodom’s salvation.
And we have all heard 2 Chronicles 7:14—“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
This was a blueprint that God gave to King Solomon if Israel ever found itself in a place of rebellion and imminent destruction. Though the church is distinct from Israel, this is still a principle and a pattern for us to follow. Whether Jewish or Gentile, and whether just one heart or many, corporate repentance and intercession has strong precedents in Scripture, and therefore we should be praying in this way for Australia.
More than any time in our nation’s history, Australia needs God. We have turned our hearts away from him and against each other—most notably against the preborn and the aged, who are vulnerable and cannot defend themselves. This, too, is a sin against the Almighty, because it’s an assault on precious souls who are made in his image.
It is time for Australia to repent and turn back to God. In the absence of our entire nation being willing to do this, God calls his people to stand in the gap—to pray, intercede, and repent on behalf of our nation. “Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.” (Jonah 3:9). “Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.” (Joel 2:13).
Father, we thank you that we have the promise of your mercy—most fully revealed in the victorious work of Jesus. Pleading his blood, we now repent of our personal sins and the sins of Australia. We rend our hearts before you and ask that you hear our prayers. Please have mercy on Australia. We repent of our assaults on each other, and most of all, our rebellion against you. Send a fresh wave of your mercy across our land. We ask for revival all across Australia. We pray that many hearts return to you. Teach our nation to love and value life as you do. May we walk in your ways and see Australia restored. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayer Points for October 2020
1. Pray for a Breakthrough for LIFE, specifically an end to abortion and euthanasia in our nation. Exodus 20:13
2. Pray for a Breakthrough for INDIGENOUS LIFE, specifically an end to high youth suicide and premature death due to ill health. 3 John 1:2
3. Pray for new POLITICIANS for LIFE, especially pray for the upcoming elections in Queensland (31st October), ACT (17th October) + USA (3 November) & New Zealand (17 October). Proverbs 29:2
4. Pray for the Revitalisation of SPIRITUAL LIFE, namely repentance, renewal & transformation, that our nation might return to God. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Kurt Mahlburg has a particular interest in speaking the truths of Jesus into the public square in a way that makes sense to a secular culture and that gives Christians courage to do the same.
We invite you to join the daily 1-hour Zoom video National Prayer Call every night:
DATES: 1st– 31st October 2020
TIME: 8pm-9pm AEST
ZOOM URL LINK: https://zoom.us/j/776881184
ZOOM MEETING ID: 776881184
See Zoom tutorial here.
Daily devotions brought to you by the Canberra Declaration.