Heal our land

The United States is again facing a presidential election. As we anticipate the outcome, everyone is hoping for their candidate to win. Some are dreading the dire possibilities that might occur if the “other” one wins. I’ve seen this kind of drama played out in the news media in every election that I’ve paid attention to, from 1976 when I had my first opportunity to vote, to the current campaign. And if what I read in history is true, there have been many elections with similar drama.

A leader is an important thing for a country. Even if he or she is not the one who makes every decision that affects that country, the actions taken by that person can still be very influential. If enough people are swayed to follow the direction that leader takes, it can turn an entire nation, for better or worse.

That same story is told repeatedly in the Bible. The Old Testament books of 1st and 2nd Kings and 1st and 2nd Chronicles tell the stories of the kings of Israel and Judah over the centuries. In most cases, a godly man who became king was an influence for righteousness in the land. An evil king resulted in the further downward spiral of the people into greater and greater sin.

When Solomon, Israel’s third king, completed the temple of God in Jerusalem, he offered up an earnest prayer of dedication to the Lord. In that prayer, he asked God to bless the temple and the land. God appeared to him at night, and agreed to do this. And the Lord made many other promises that answered Solomon’s prayer. 2 Chronicles 7:14 mentions an important promise God made, a promise that he would hear when his people humbled themselves and prayed, and sought after God with all their hearts.

I won’t presume to endorse one candidate or another. I know who I am going to vote for, and I have hopes that my candidate will win. But whether he does or not, I know that the most important result will not be who leads this land. The critical factor in this or in any election is whether or not God’s people will turn from their ways, and seek God with all their heart, asking him to heal their land. This promise is not just for Israel of long ago, nor is it something that just America can obtain. Any country or city in the world can be blessed in this way, if God’s people will earnestly dedicate themselves to prayer.

And those prayers have a greater impact on the future than any political platform will ever have.

Ted Sandquist (with the help of Phil Keaggy) expressed this desire musically, back in 1976 (as I mentioned above, an election year). The album Higher Up And Further In included this song, If My People Will Pray:

If my people, called by my name
Will humble themselves and pray
And seek my face, to turn from their ways
I will hear them

Yes I will, forgive their sin
And I will heal their land
Yes I will forgive their sin
And I will heal their land

If my people, called by my name
Will humble themselves and pray

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