I WAS ASKED TO LEAD THE PASTORAL PRAYER at the Path of Life fundraising banquet last night. I led us in a prayer of contrition for the sins of our nation. Although most joining me in prayer had not committed the sins we confessed, we confessed them in the first person plural, “we.”
Why would we do this? It is a pattern throughout scripture. When the prophets and leaders of Israel prayed they began by confessing their corporates sins. They prayed “Lord, forgive us for _____ sin” even though they didn’t personally commit that sin because they, as members of that culture, are connected to those sins. (See Lev 26:40, Nehemiah 1:6ff, Daniel 9:3ff, etc.)
We can also pray this way because we are fellow sinners. We are not faultless. It is form of self-humbling, and God always blesses the humble. When we pray this way we are fulfilling priestly calling.
Here is my prayer from last night. See if you can pray along, and if you can, pray this way for our country. We are in deep trouble.
Heavenly Father we approach your throne of mercy and grace with fear and trembling.
You are a Holy God. You hate sin, iniquity, and rebellion. You hate human autonomy. You hate unbelief.
The United States has sinned against you. We have done, and are doing, what you hate. Therefore, in an attitude of hope, we humble ourselves and confess our sin to you.
In the early seventies we embraced no-fault-divorce, weakening the marital covenant, wrecking many marriages and families. God forgive us.
We then embraced the sexual revolution, rejecting the life-giving sexual purity that you command, that builds up marriage and family. God forgive us.
We abort close to a million babies in the womb each year. Many in our culture would even shamelessly extend abortion to infanticide. God forgive us.
We have normalized, and even celebrate, the sexual perversion that is homosexuality. God, please forgive us.
We have done what no other nation has ever done. We have legalized and even celebrate the fiction of same-sex marriage. God please forgive us.
We promulgate and propagate monstrous lies—that there are no differences between men and women, that there is no such thing as male and female. God please forgive us.
Pursuing the sovereignty that belongs to God only, we recklessly attempt to undo and reverse the gender in which you created us. God forgive us.
Sinning against the sanctity of human life, we have legalized euthanasia in eleven states. God please forgive us.
We have turned to secularism as an alternative religion, rejecting you and your holy will. For many the State has become a god-substitute. God forgive us.
We put up with, and even vote for, men and women who trample the rule of law underfoot with impunity. God forgive us.
Lord, we are in trouble, and our problem is you. We have sinned against you. We have brought on your fierce indignation. We fear you. You are sovereign over the rise and fall of nations. You hold our corporate destiny in your hand, and we deserve judgment.
But you are also a God merciful and gracious, abounding in steadfast love and mercy. Slow to anger. Forgiving iniquity, sin, and rebellion.
Therefore, we come to you this evening and plead with you for mercy. We do not deserve mercy. We deserve judgment. But we have great confidence in your character. As far as east is from west, so far do you remove our sins from us. As a Father has compassion on his children, so you have compassion on your people. You hear the prayers of those who humble themselves.
You are our only hope.
Trusting in your infinite goodness, we plead with you to send your Holy Spirit to your church. Revive us again, O Lord! Pour out your Holy Spirit. Save millions. Redeem this nation from the pit into which we have fallen.
Do this for your Name’s seek.
Do this for Jesus’ sake.
Do it to put on display the glory of your mercy, grace, and love.