Your Prayers Can Transform America!

David CerulloBy David Cerullo8 Minutes

Can a nation be transformed in 40 days?

Humanly this would be impossible, especially when a nation’s moral trajectory has been on a downhill slide for many decades. Many in America are tempted to lose hope for our nation, and I’ve talked with people in other nations who’ve lost hope for their country as well. Nevertheless, the Bible gives us many illustrations of God’s power to turn things around when His people turn to Him.

The book of Jonah tells the story of God’s prophet being sent to the wicked Assyrian city of Nineveh. You’ve probably heard the story of Jonah’s initial disobedience, which landed him in the belly of a huge fish for three days. Fortunately, God was merciful to Jonah, and he was given another chance to fulfill his mission. So if you feel like you’re stuck in the belly of a whale today, take heart: God wants to set you free and powerfully use you to transform lives!

When Jonah finally got back on track and entered Nineveh, God gave him an ominous message to deliver: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” (Jonah 3:4 NLT). Can you imagine being a Ninevite and hearing this sobering message?

Amazingly, Jonah’s words brought about a stunning revival: “The people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them” (v. 5). Even the king and his nobles joined in the repentance and cried out to God for His mercy: “Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?” (v. 9).

My friend, the Lord was merciful to Nineveh when they repented, and He is willing to show mercy to your city and nation as well: “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it” (v. 10).

Our nation deserves God’s judgment because many of our citizens have abandoned God and rejected His righteousness. However, there’s still time for mercy to triumph over judgment if we follow God’s formula for forgiveness and healing.

God’s Formula

God wants to bring healing and restoration to America and the other nations of the world. Here’s how His Word says that can happen:

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear fromheaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Each phrase of this beautiful promise is packed with meaning:

“If My people who are called by My name …” Notice that the first step in national restoration is not that unbelievers repent. God addresses His own people first, for that is where both judgment and mercy must begin (1 Peter 4:17-18). We who are called by the Lord’s name must accept our responsibility to be His ambassadors to our sin-sick world (2 Corinthians 5:20).

“Humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways…” Many preachers and many Christians today are experts on the “wicked ways” of our surrounding culture. We see all the ways our political leaders, celebrities, news organizations, and entertainment media need to repent. Yet that is not where God initially shines His spotlight. WE – those who claim to follow Jesus as our Savior and Lord – must first humble ourselves and turn from OUR wicked ways. We must go beyond “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayers and truly seek God’s face.

“THEN I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” I love the fact that this phrase begins with “then.” God wants us to see that although He wants to heal our land, His promise requires us to fulfill the conditions He has laid out. When we confess and acknowledge our sins, He will show us mercy and forgiveness (1 John 1:9). As the Ninevites experienced, judgment will be averted, and abundant grace will be poured out.

The Next 40 Days

I’m convinced that many Western nations are facing a tipping point. Will we turn to God or continue our descent into spiritual darkness? Will the Lord give us wise and caring national leaders, or will we select leaders who openly reject biblical precepts?

As the people of God, the answer to these questions is in our hands. There’s still time to turn things around, but we can’t afford to delay.

Instead of being destroyed in 40 days, the people of Nineveh repented and received God’s mercy and healing. I can’t help but wonder what would happen today if God’s people took the next 40 days to cry out to Him as never before. What would happen if you made a personal commitment to share this message with your friends and loved ones during the next 40 days, challenging them to intercede for your nation?

Rather than reaping judgment and curses, this can be a day of great blessing when we turn to the Lord:

“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him? (Joel 2:12-14).

Let’s take the next 40 days to humble ourselves before the Lord, repent, and pray for Him to forgive our sins and heal our land. There’s no time to lose.

God bless you,

David Cerullo