My friends overseas are worried about the United States. When people I know from Uganda or India see news reports of stores being looted in Chicago and cars burning in Portland, Oregon, they assume I live a few miles from the violence. I explain that America is a big country, and that these riots aren't happening in my city.
Christians in other countries have always considered the United States a "Christian nation" because we have so many churches and we send many missionaries to the world. Now they hear of police killing unarmed Black people. They see anarchists setting government buildings on fire. They hear politicians defending abortions up to the point of birth.
"I am very worried," a pastor from Nigeria told me this week. He says he views what is happening in the United States today as "an attempt by hell to divide the church along political lines in order to bring about a satanic strategy for America."
One pastor of a megachurch in Singapore told me, "We are horrified by what is happening in the United States. It is painful to see anarchy and lawlessness so rampant. We are praying constantly for America."
One of my pastor friends from Uganda says he is praying for a healing of divisions: "The devil fights the hardest when he knows we are making a difference. He laughs at the evil, riots and violence. But we say, 'No more.' We are asking God to turn His people back to Him."
I am constantly pleading with my foreign friends to pray for my country. The alarm has sounded. When they ask me how I'm praying, I share the list below.
Pray that the COVID-19 pandemic will end. God can stop a plague. Pray that the coronavirus will stop spreading so people can go back to work, kids can return to school and churches can meet again. And remember that this pandemic is having a much more devastating impact on developing countries.
Pray for an end to riots and violence. The peaceful protests that began in May to honor George Floyd have morphed into something unrecognizable. Anarchists have hijacked a movement. Portland, Seattle, Denver, New York and Kenosha, Wisconsin, have all suffered irreparable damage from lootings, shootings and arson. In Chicago, business owners are leaving the city because they feel unprotected. Pray for peace.
Pray for a peaceful election Nov. 3. People are on edge these days because of fears of voter fraud. And there are rumors that violence will break out if the election doesn't turn out the way certain groups want. Pray for fairness and accurate ballot counts—and no rioting.
Pray for leaders who have character, moral values, courage and wise policies. The church is divided politically. But I hope all Christians can agree that we need leaders who have respect for God's standards. Pray for voters to select the best candidates to lead our country—and keep in mind that the 2020 election is not just a contest between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. We will also choose 35 U.S. senators and 96 members of Congress.
Pray for racial justice. We can't ignore the fact that people of color have suffered in this country because of discrimination and racist attitudes. Pray for a true change in people's hearts, keeping in mind that racist attitudes have also affected immigrants as well as Native Americans.
Pray for reconciliation and an end to hatred and division. I don't remember a season in my lifetime when Americans were this hateful. Whether they are feuding on social media, arguing on TV talk shows, shouting profanity at each other in the streets or throwing bricks at crowds, many people have become ticking time bombs. Pray that God will defuse the hostility.
Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, our nation is sunk if we continue on a path toward atheism and godless humanism. An election is not going to save us. A political party cannot save us. We need the rain of heaven. Our ultimate prayer must be, "Lord, send revival."
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years and now serves as contributing editor. He directs The Mordecai Project (themordecaiproject.org), an international ministry that protects women and girls from gender-based violence. His latest book is Set My Heart on Fire (Charisma House).
This article was excerpted from the August issue of Charisma magazine. If you don't subscribe to Charisma, click here to get every issue delivered to your mailbox. During this time of change, your subscription is a vote of confidence for the kind of Spirit-filled content we offer. In the same way you would support a ministry with a donation, subscribing is your way to support Charisma. Also, we encourage you to give gift subscriptions at shop.charismamag.com, and share our articles on social media.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
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