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Praying and fasting for a nation in crisis

In South Africa, within one week in February 2023, two different national state of disaster declarations were released. First, the President declared a national state of disaster over South Africa’s power crisis, as daily rolling power cuts are paralysing businesses and threaten food security. Then, a few days later, he declared a national state of disaster to enable an intensive response to widespread flooding that has affected seven of the country’s nine provinces.

We also hear of many natural disasters occurring around the world. The devastating earthquakes in the region of Turkey and Syria in February 2023 caused the death of tens of thousands of people. Furthermore, of all the conflicts raging in and between nations and ethnic groups in the world, the war between Russia and Ukraine continues with seemingly no end in sight any time soon.

Across the globe, nations are in crisis with more natural disasters, wars and adverse circumstances arising everywhere. How do we know what to pray as matters worsen daily and new calamities come?

One is reminded of the historic time of Queen Esther, when Israel was in exile in Babylon (Esther 3:8-10). When a nation is at risk, when a people is in trouble, God is looking for men and women who will lay down their lives, even unto death, to fast, pray and cry out to Him for help and deliverance. Are you such a man or woman?

 

What do we pray practically?
  • Pray for Government to seek solutions to help meet the basic needs of its citizens, whether it be food, water, healthcare or rebuilding communities during and after the crisis. Pray against any form of corruption, theft or the misuse of resources. Ask the Lord for godly wisdom in steering the nation through the crisis.
  • Pray for the Church to become light and salt in the lives of millions in desperate need, filled with fear, anxiety and hopelessness (Matthew 5:13-14). Pray for supernatural healings, provision and multiplication of supplies, and for Christians to share selflessly with others.
  • Pray for psychological help for those affected by the crisis in the country. Ask for godly counsellors who will minister to the vulnerable and traumatised with the love and compassion of Christ (Matthew 9:36; 14:14).
  • Pray for the private sector to step in where possible e.g., pledging skills and finances to rebuild infrastructure, helping with food production, distributing basic healthcare etc.
  • Pray for sufficient international aid to become available if the country cannot deal with the crisis on its own.
  • Pray for security services to maintain law and order, and healthcare services to have access to the necessary supplies to help people, especially in setting up temporary hospitals where needed.

 

What do we pray spiritually?
  • Cry for mercy. Lord have mercy on man and beast amidst unimaginable hardships. We will not put our trust in princes, or in any man, for with them there is no help (Psalm 146:3). We put our trust in You, our Lord and God. Save us and deliver us (Psalm 7:1).

 

  • Humble ourselves before our Heavenly Father. Father, in wrath, remember mercy (Habakkuk 3:2). Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; but according to Your mercy remember me (Psalm 25:7). All Your paths are mercy and truth, to such as keep Your covenant and Your testimonies (Psalm 25:10). Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, for I am desolate and afflicted (Psalm 25:16). You are righteous in all Your ways, gracious in all Your works (Psalm 145:17).

 

  • Choose holiness. Father, we choose to lay aside laziness in prayer and our compromise with worldly desires, and we turn away from a general apathy to do what is right according to Your Word. We choose to gird up the loins of our mind, to be sober and rest our hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ; not conforming ourselves to the former lusts, as in our ignorance; but as He who called us is holy, we also choose to be holy in all our conduct, because it is written, “BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (1 Peter 1:13-16).

 

  • Absolute surrender. Only wise God, Your understanding is infinite (Psalm 147: 5). Lord, you know all things and nothing is out of your control. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways! (Romans 11:33) Let Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

 

  • Worship his name. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! (Psalm 103:1). Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! (Psalm 105:3). I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. (Psalm 116:17). Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:8).

 

Fasting

For information on how to fast during your time of prayer for your nation, read the article on the ‘Esther fast’.

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