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Magazine > Content

Praying for Healing in Troubled Times

Anxious about our nation’s various crises? There’s something you can do today that will make a great difference

By Patricia Raybon


The Word of God is crystal clear on what to do in times of national crisis. Throughout the Bible, He spells out the four things a nation and its people must do to experience healing: humble ourselves, pray, “seek His face,” and turn from our sinful ways. That’s what God specifically told Solomon, the king of Israel, in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14.

In a lesser-known biblical scenario found in the book of Jonah, the very same prescription for national healing was given by God and resulted in dramatic restoration. When the powerful Assyrian city of Nineveh (now located near modern-day Mosul, Iraq) faced destruction, Nineveh’s king followed very single one of these four healing remedies.

When he heard the Lord’s warning from the prophet Jonah, he completely humbled himself in the way ancient people did: he tore off his royal robes and covered himself with sackcloth, even publically sitting in an ash heap (Jonah 3:6).Next, he issued a royal decree calling all his people to repent of their “evil ways,” fast from food to seek God, and “urgently” pray for mercy. The king also issued a national decree for everyone to “call urgently on God” (Jonah 3:8).

“Who knows?” he said. “God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish” (Jonah 3:9 NIV). Indeed, in that story, when God saw their humility and how they genuinely turned from their evil ways, He had compassion on them and did not bring the destruction upon them He had warned them of (Jonah 3:10).

These steps, borrowed from Nineveh’s story, can guide and inspire us to effectively pray for our nation in the coming months ahead.

1) Be still before God.

Choose to quit spinning in circles about what's going on in the news cycle. Instead, as Psalm 46 exhorts us to do, we should be still before the Lord (Ps. 46:11) and acknowledge His sovereignty, even in times of trouble (Ps. 46:1). Each day, take time out to get quiet and turn your attention solely on God, focusing on His amazing presence and breathing in His rest, peace, and wisdom. Consider this promise: "They who dwell in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1). The result? Refreshment, renewed vision, and more powerful prayer.

2) Seek God wholeheartedly.
Commit your worries and concerns to God and instead, put your energy into seeking His face (1 Chronicles 16:11; Psalm 105:4). Doing so changes our focus from the news, the crisis, and ourselves, and turns it back to the Lord. As we humbly seek Him, we’ll begin to recognize that He is already taking care of us, providing His answers to our problems. Matthew 6:33 is key to a healthy perspective: when you “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” before anything else, He will meet your other needs.

3) Commit to forgiveness with humility.
Jesus said: "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." (Mark 11:25). When you humbly turn from the sin of unforgiveness against others, you not only glorify God; you free yourself to receive His answers to your prayers. Ask the Holy Spirit to remove vengeful, bitter, or antagonistic feelings about others from your heart, and look to Jesus’ ultimate forgiveness on the Cross—and the healing He offers.

4) Completely turn away from sin.
If you have a hidden fault – one you know is offensive to God – now is the time to turn from it for good. Focus today not on what sins others have committed; instead, examine your own life and reconcile with the Lord. Consider His words to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:13: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

5) Get up and get busy serving others.
Put some “feet” to your prayers. First, ask God to give you His compassion for others. Consider His attitude toward the city for which Jonah had nothing but disdain: “Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” Use this time of national crisis to help your neighbor. Ask God to show you someone else’s needs that you can meet. After all, praying is not just about asking; it’s about how we live.



Patricia Raybon is the author of I Told the Mountain to Move: Learning to Pray So Things Change.

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.


22 comments
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  • April 27, 2013 10:43 AM

    by

    thank you Dr. Stanley on this reading about prayer in troubled times we all should pray for this whole nation thank you again God Bless You.
  • April 23, 2013 10:34 PM

    by

    Thank you, Dr. Stanley, for the teachings on defending against and recognizing the enemy of our souls. I needed to hear those teachings! God bless, you and In Touch Ministries. Respectfully, Marc Hernandez.
  • April 20, 2013 12:09 PM

    by

    magnificent, wonderful words of truth and wisdom!
  • May 13, 2012 08:35 PM

    by

    restore my relationship with my love one,establish your peace,understanding & love God.
  • December 12, 2011 03:39 PM

    by

    I have a request deep in my heart and it is for God to heal my mother who is only in her 70's of lung cancer. Please pray for her that she might be healed. I thank you for the article and it truly is a blessing.
  • November 27, 2011 09:59 AM

    by

    My prayer is that God Heal our nation and put Godly leadership in their place.
  • November 24, 2011 03:31 PM

    by

    Help me to pray for my financial crisis..help me to pray...im hopeless help me...
  • October 31, 2011 01:19 AM

    by

    I believe in the power of prayer. Going to print this out and pass it around! Seems so simple but yet there are so many people that just don't understand. Pray everyone takes heed to the words of truth. We need God back into our lives, country and world!
  • October 30, 2011 10:58 AM

    by

    Every time I lift my heart to God in prayer, I feel more and more like He is there with me. I am beginning to feel like I am praying to my best friend who is standing there with me and I am talking to Him. What a wonderful feeling to know that Christ is there listening to me and is ready to help me with my problems. I am fighting some potential life-threatening situations right now in my life. I know that Christ is there with me, holding my hand through all the tough times. Prayer has made me feel like Christ and I are on the same frequency and He hears me. What a feeling! God bless you all. Hang in there with God in prayer.
    Dick
  • October 27, 2011 09:39 AM

    by

    I am truly thankful and blessed for the words that Dr Stanley brings to us. I have been listening to Dr Stanley for many years, and each time I hear him comes a new beginning in my life, so refreshing and so real. Lord, I pray for Dr Stanley and the words that he gives us freely from You. I pray for his family, his friends and the nation.
  • October 25, 2011 05:07 AM

    by

    This was such a blessing for me. I need this to stay focus everyday, and to stay strong and live holy.
  • October 22, 2011 08:54 PM

    by

    Love the Lord God with all your heart, mind,strength and body. And secondly love your neighbor. Love heals, love protects, love does not delight in evil but rejoices in righteousness and truth. Do not put your faith in material possesions or what money can buy. Money to some people is like a god to them. It is a God that cannot save, a god that is not alive. The Lord God the creator of the heavens and earth and man and all that exists within infinite space is a God of mercy, grace, righteousness and justice. I love God the Father of Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. Jesus Christ is coming to reign here on earth. How glorious that day will be when the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ will be here on earth. Jesus Christ you are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Jesus when you return every knee will bend and every head will bow.
    I pray peace,joy and hope and protection be with the people who are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. I pray lord God that you help those who are helping the fatherless, the widow, the homeless, the poor, the sick and the lost who don't know your beautiful son Jesus Christ. IN JESUS name AMEN.
  • October 20, 2011 06:29 AM

    by

    Be blessed. It is a blessing that we live in the Kingdom of God and it is Our Father's delight to give us the blessings of Abraham. Praise God that all our needs are met according to Christ's riches!
  • October 16, 2011 07:36 AM

    by

    Lets join together and pray for our nation. For revival, forgiveness and healing. Please remind women to remember their breast exams. I missed last year and was recently told I have breast cancer. I know God will take care of me. May the Lord raise up prayer warriors for our nation and for Isreal. Lord please forgive our sins and cleanse our land and draw your children closer to You.
  • October 13, 2011 05:20 PM

    by

    Just what I needed.Jesus always comes through at the right time in His time.
  • October 12, 2011 07:33 AM

    by

    Patricia Raybon has beautifuly shown us a tool to combat the evil hurting our nation.
  • October 11, 2011 06:10 PM

    by

    I'm not going ask for things just would like Dr Stanley to say a prayer to save my life.
  • October 05, 2011 11:57 PM

    by

    SISTERS AND BROTHER'S MAY THE BLESSINGS OF THE LORD BE UPON ALL
    WHO LOVE AND TRUST HIM REMEMBER IT'S NOT ABOUT US IT'S ABOUT HIM
    AND HIS MERCY.AND ABOUT HIS WILL FOR US ALL.GOD BLESS
  • October 04, 2011 12:10 PM

    by

    What wonderful guidlines to help me with my prayer and everyday living! God bless all of you!
  • October 04, 2011 03:13 AM

    by

    yes
  • October 02, 2011 04:51 PM

    by

    i needed to read this this was food for the spirit
  • October 01, 2011 08:57 AM

    by

    I pray we all will follow these instructions

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