“If my people, who are called by my name, shall 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.” II Chronicles 7:14
“Gather together and fast for three days, I also and my maidens, and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16
“Blow the trumpets and sound an alarm. Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land unto the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord. Joel 1:14 & 2:11 and 15.
A Call to Prayer and Fasting for Virginia
With the election now just 48 hours away, repeated below is a note from a group of other concerned Virginians. It includes a proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago with the concurrence of the Senate at a time of great crisis during the Civil War.
For God and Country,
Dean Welty, Virginia Christian Alliance Board member and Director of the Valley Family Forum
Dear Fellow Virginian:
Charles Dickens began his famous book The Tales of Two Cities with these familiar words:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was great the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”
These words seem to capture the paradox of our living in these times. On the one hand, we as Americans have so much to be thankful for in our country for the blessings and bounty we enjoy but at the same time have much to grieve over as we consider our societal ills.
One has only to consider the abortion rates, murder statistics, incidents of disease, rates of unemployment, divorce, terrorism threats, and sexual sins to realize that we are suffering and in desperate need of help from the Lord as we seek him for repentance, deliverance, healing and revival.
In times past and in times such as these, concerned citizens have turned to God for help and deliverance by fasting and prayer for themselves and their nation. For example, President Abraham Lincoln penned this call to fasting and prayer in 1863:
Abraham Lincoln’s Call to Fasting, Prayer, and Humiliation
“Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the supreme authority and just government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation;
And whereas, it is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truths announced in the Holy Scriptures, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord;
And, inasmuch as we know that, by his divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God, we have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do by this proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer.
And I do hereby request all people to abstain from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.
All this being done in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope, authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace.
Our Call to a Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer
In a similar call, we as concerned Virginians who revere God are issuing a call to a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer to other like-minded citizens who desire to implore the God of heaven to have mercy on us and help us as we are facing serious challenges as a Commonwealth and Nation because we have moved away from our Biblical foundations and commitments.
We are especially concerned about the upcoming election in the Commonwealth on November 5, 2013, and know that our only hope for restoration is that we return to God in repentance, plea for forgiveness and humbly request pardon and healing.
God promises to hear prayer, and we can make a difference by interceding for our Commonwealth and Nation at this critical time in history.
We have set November 3-5, 2013 as the day set apart for this act of faith and ask that you join us and encourage your family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, church members all who would be so inclined to join us as well.
Your Fellow Concerned Virginians
Dean Welty serves on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Christian Alliance and is Director of the Valley Family Forum, a network of families in the Shenandoah Valley that helps build Faith, Family, and Freedom in the culture and in the public square. He also hosts a weekly television program entitled “Valley Faith in Action“.
Valley Faith in Action airs at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on WAZT-TV, which is Comcast Cable Channel 13 in the Harrisonburg area. It will air again at Wednesday midnight. You can also access it and other recent programs by clicking HERE.