The Hour that Changes the Nation
The inspiration of this pattern of prayer is based around the time when Jesus was agonizing in prayer in Gethsemane and found the disciples unable to support Him in prayer - Matthew 26:40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.
There does seem to be something special about spending an hour in prayer before the Lord. The aim of the following pattern is to break the hour up into manageable parts, giving both variety and comprehensive coverage to the different aspects of prayer.
The original plan was to spend 5 minutes on each section, but, especially in praying for the nation, you will find yourself wanting to spend more time on some sections than on others.
1. Praise - A great time to remind ourselves how big our God is, how great His power, and how amazing His love and grace. Read selections from Psalm 145 onwards to gain inspiration and content for your declarations. Praise God for His heart and redemptive purpose for our nation to be a missionary nation to the nations.
2. Waiting - Read 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 to encourage you of the promises when we turn our hearts to the Lord. This is a great time to fill our mind with Him, reflecting on His nature, His presence, and His love for us and for our nation.
3. Confession - Read Psalm 139:23-24; Psalm 51 - especially verses 10 and 11 dealing with our actions, attitudes, affections and words. Seek personal forgiveness cleansing and the anointing. Read 2 Chronicles 7:14 - identifying with the sins of the nation as did Nehemiah. Read Nehemiah 1 for further insight.
4. Declaring the Promises - Read Jeremiah 1:5-12; 23:29 “Is not my word like fire," declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? Isaiah 40:8-10; 44:24-26; 55:10-11. You will find a number of scriptures that can be applied to our nation in a very specific way. Use those that are listed later in this booklet and be open to the Holy Spirit to bring others to mind. The section dealing with prophetic declaration will also be helpful to you. You may wish to stand or walk around as you make these declarations.
5. Watching - This brings us back to our introductory scripture. Remain alert to spiritual opposition and strengthen yourself with great verses. Read Romans 8:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 14:2, 4, 14, 15. Be open to pray through those things that come to mind concerning the nation. Make a note of things you think may be significant to re-visit in prayer, or to share with others such as your prayer co-ordinator. This introduces a dimension of the prophetic which allows us to pre-empt the enemy’s plans rather than fighting a rearguard battle. Be encouraged from the section on watching in this booklet.
6. Intercession - Read Genesis 18:16-33 and 1 Kings 18:41-46. Great examples of others who have stood in the gap in powerful prayer. James 5:16-18 also gives us much cause for encouragement.
Pray for the lost in our city, our nation, and the nations. Some other areas you can cover include:
- Workers - Matthew 9:38 “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Workers within the church, and ministries from the church to the community. Pray for those who are expressing their Christianity in the marketplace. Pray they will recognise work as a gift from God and their workplace as His mission field for them. Check out Psalm 110:1-3.
- Open Doors - Colossians 4:3 “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.” Pray for the leaders of the nation and our towns and cities, so that there will be no hindrance to the preaching of the Gospel. Declare breakthrough amongst new ethnic groups within the city and the nation, and new and creative methods of evangelism. Declare open doors for the ministries of the church that are reaching out into the city and the nation. Revelations 3:7-8 is well worth a visit!
- Fruit that will remain - John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit -- fruit that will last. For the ongoing work of the Spirit in new believers lives, for foundations and discipleship classes. Pray for effective preaching of the Gospel and for signs and wonders to follow causing people’s faith to be founded on the power of God. Claim Philippians 1:6.
- Finances - For the ministry of the church in the nation. Read Malachi 3:8-12, and for the open heaven He promises and associated fruitfulness.
Release finances for mission to other nations. Read and declare 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. Deuteronomy 8:18 is another great promise to claim.
7. Petition - For your own life with the Lord, your ministry, your personal needs, your loved ones, and your destiny in the nation, ensuring that your requests are in tune with His will.
Read 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 “Jabez was more honourable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’ 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.” Ask the Lord to increase your capacity for prayer and to enlarge your heart for the nation. Bring areas of personal concern before Him. Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
8. Thanksgiving - Read Luke 17:11-19. For what God has done, and in faith for what He will do for us, in response to our prayers. Thanksgiving helps us focus on God's faithfulness. Confess all His spiritual, material, physical and external (ie what He has done for others) blessings. Be very specific. This is an area that should not only be part of a prayer time, but a way of life. If you spend your days in thankfulness you will find the gateway to His Presence so much easier to enter. Thank the Lord for our nation and for the many ways in which we are blessed. Psalm 103 will really help you with this.
9. Singing - This is a wonderful gift from God and a key to being filled with the Spirit- Ephesians 5:18-20. Read 2 Chronicles 20, especially verse 22, also Acts 16:16-34. We can sing songs of : -praise (Ps 135:3), power and mercy (Ps 59:16), thanksgiving (Ps 147:7), God's Name (Ps 96:30-[His Names express His Nature]), God's Word (Ps 119:54), a new song (Ps 144:9), among the nations (Ps 57:9). Don’t worry about your singing ability, God has an auto-tuner! This is a great opportunity to sing our national anthem over the nation.
10. Meditation - Joshua 1:8 “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” The word ‘meditate’ in the Hebrew means 'to mutter upon'. Focus on God Himself, on His Word, His works, past victories and blessings, and on things positive and good - Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things”.
11. Listening - Wait for instructions and have a pen ready to write things down. read John 5:19-20, 30 and Isaiah 50:4-5 “The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He awakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. 5 The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears . . .” Be open for revelation about the city or the nation.
12. Praise - Finish as you started by magnifying the Lord in confidence that He has heard your prayers for the nation, that the answer is already on the way and that His Power and wisdom are more than equal to every situation. Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. “
May your hour of prayer bring you much joy in His Presence, increased effectiveness in your daily walk, a sense of fulfilment in the part you are playing in the nation, and some amazing answers to your prayers.
Adapted from, ”The Hour that Changes the World”, by Dick Eastman.