Today is the National Day of Prayer and I was blessed to attend the local gathering of civic, political and church leaders for my city. During the program, a presenter read Abraham Lincoln's official proclamation for a day of prayer and fasting for the country, which was then divided by civil war. I was struck at how pertinent and contemporary Lincoln's words are, even to us today. It seems that our sins follow us and that these words, nearly 150 years old, are still dead on. Here's the pivotal paragraph:
"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 the 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." 1
Lincoln said that the nation, mired in war, was being punished by God for the sins they had committed. Though we may not be divided along state lines, our nation is truly growing more divided by moral issues and we are beguiled by thinking our self-sufficiency can help us instead of the One who provided for us to begin with. Let us pray today for our country, our leaders, our churches ans ourselves that we may confess our sins and find forgiveness and grace in God's eyes.