Sep 21, 2020 08:00am
National Day of Prayer and Fasting

Several have called for Thursday September 24, 2020 and others for Saturday September 26, 2020, to be set aside as a National Day of Prayer and Fasting asking God to forgive our sins and have mercy upon our land.

National days of prayer and fasting are not new.  In fact, on three occasions, President Abraham Lincoln declared a day of fasting and prayer by Americans for America.

On March 30, 1863, he proclaimed, “A National Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer” for the following reasons: “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 . . . But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us . . . 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.”

If that was true in 1863—how much more so today!

I think it is fair to say that all true believers realize that America is in trouble. The pandemic, racial tension, violence on our streets, rampant crime rates, the secularization of America, the rise of socialists in the public arena, and in less than two months, the most controversial election in America’s history are just a few of the issues facing us. The time could not be more urgent. 

God has established four barriers to protecting a society from morally destroying itself:

 (1) By repeatedly sinning, Americans as a whole no longer experience guilt for their sin and have absolved themselves from any and all responsibility for their actions. The moral compass of most of our citizens is no longer in alignment with biblical morality.

(2) In the past several decades, the family unit as designed by God has been obliterated. Therefore, a family is whatever the government says it is. It is no exaggeration to say that the American family unit is on life support.

(3) God established human government to protect the good and punish the evil (Romans 13:1-7), but today just the opposite is occurring. Evil people are being protected and the good are being punished. This is the motive behind the effort to defund the police.

 (4) The final moral authority is the church, which is now “lukewarm.” There is no doubt we are living in the Laodicean age of church history (Revelation 3:14-22). So who is the enemy coming to silence next? Every church who has not already capitulated to the mores of our age is the next target set for destruction.

And if this were not enough, according to the Barna Research Group one in five churches will permanently close in the United States within the next eighteen months due to the COVID-19 shut down and the weekly attendance of those who remain open will be 1/3rd lower than pre-COVID-19 levels. No one knows if these statistics are true, but the mere thought should scare believers into action.

At this time in our history there is no one who can save us other than the true and living God. But he will not answer our pleas unless we come before him with “clean hands, and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:4). Therefore, to approach God we must come confessing our own personal sins and those of our nation, and begging God to extend mercy and forgiveness to his people and the land in which we live.

Our nation’s future that we leave to our children and grandchildren, along with the first amendment rights to free speech, public assembly, and worship, are at stake.

Therefore, I encourage every pastor to declare a day of prayer and fasting in the local church. If you cannot do this on September 24th or September 26th, please set another date. The date is not important, but the fact that we do it is!

Claim this promise God made to ancient Israel for America today, “If my people, which 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” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Copyright © 2020 by Jeff Swart. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from