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Uniting Our Nation Through Prayer

Air Date 05/03/2018

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Dr. Ronnie Floyd, President of the National Day of Prayer, discusses how and why we should pray for our nation, and shares his hope that unity in America and revival throughout the land can happen if God's people join together in prayer.

Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

Dr. Ronnie Floyd: I think, ultimately, we want to mobilize as many people in America today, to unify together in public prayer for the country. That’s really our heart. It doesn’t matter whether people are at schools, whether they’re at businesses, whether they’re at planned events, or plan your own event even today where you are.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: You’ll hear more from Dr. Ronnie Floyd, and the voices of many others, as well, as we lift up our nation in prayer today. This is Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Uh, today, John, is the National Day of Prayer and as a nation, and a community of believers, we want to come together to reflect on the importance of prayer in our own lives and to pray corporately for our country. There is a lot of division in America today but prayer can, and should, unite us. In Ephesians 4:3 we’re reminded, to “diligently keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” So, today we’re going to join in unity by sharing a conversation we had with Dr. Ronnie Floyd. He is the President of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. And um, throughout the program we will also be giving you opportunity to pause and pray with us for the eight main areas facing the health and healing of our nation. Those are: racial unity, media, family, education, government, military, the economy, and of course, the church.

John: Dr. Ronnie Floyd has been passionately serving God as a pastor for over four decades, and he’s written a number of books including, The Power of Prayer and Fasting. You can find that, and other resources, at focusonthefamily.com/radio or ask about those when you call 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Let’s go ahead now and hear how the conversation with Dr. Floyd began.

Body:

Jim: Let me ask you - the theme this year is unity, which is an awesome thing because our nation is so broken and needs it at this stage. How did you come to that? And, uh, why did you fix yourself on unity?

Ronnie: Jim, I tell you what, what really is, uh, so disturbing to me today is the disunity that exists all across our country - the division, the schisms. Uh, it seems like we’re in a very angry environment, uh, that has... When we were just really praying through what this needed to be, we just became convinced that unity, uh, was the heart of what we’re about. And that’s where it’s got to happen. It’s got to happen in the church.

Jim: Yes.

Ronnie: And the church, and those of us who call ourselves believers in Christ, we need to exemplify that unity. And as we really, really deeply went into the Word of God, we finally came away with, uh, a verse that you mentioned a moment ago in Ephesians Chapter 4, verse 3. And we’re using the translation of making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. And that making every effort - there is an urgency to that. When you look into the uh, the meaning of the word it’s the urgency. Make haste. Now is the time. Well, now is the time that we unify in this country.

Jim: You know, for me, Ronnie, I’m thinking about the racial divisions in the country...

Ronnie: Absolutely.

Jim: ...All the things that are happening that do split us apart. We alluded to those, whether - you know, the politics of the country.

Ronnie: Absolutely.

Jim: We have 24-hour cable news that preys on that feasting of animosity both left and right. And it seems so difficult to get together to say there is some common ground. I mean that in the best sense of the term - that there are some things that we can do to better our pluralistic culture - we, the Christian community and others.

Ronnie: That’s right.

Jim: Why is it so difficult? What is it in human nature that is keeping us so separate right now?

Ronnie: Independence, pride, just the spirit of anger that exists in the culture. It’s no longer taking your word, but it’s questioning your word. And it seems like the enemy wants to use social media and all forms of media to take something that is the most non-intimidating thing and all of a sudden build it up to be some ridiculously exaggerated experience. And it’s not even that. And so what is truth? We don’t know what truth is because it’s always twisted. It’s always spun. And what we find ourselves in - it... we’re in a moment where it leads to such division and disunity and hurting people. And this is where the church steps in, Jim. Only God can unite the nation. But listen, God wants His church united.

Jim: Yes.

Ronnie: God wants His Church working every day toward unity in the spirit. And we need to be vigilant in that fight and not give up in that fight and call for it again and again and again, even when the culture’s breaking.

John: Well, we are called to unify ourselves and to pray. And join us, now, as we pray for racial reconciliation, and as well, for our media outlets to be able to proclaim Truth.

(Music transition)

Stacey: (Prayer on racial reconciliation) Gracious and Eternal Heavenly Father, I thank you for the access to come boldly to Your throne. For in Your Holy Presence there is deliverance, peace, and love. I first thank You for this great nation and the liberties that You have granted us. Father, I pray that You would continue to have mercy on us and help us to turn our hearts to Your righteousness and continue show love to one another, as You have loved us. We know that the enemy tries to use race to divide us, but Father, You have created us all uniquely in Your image. I pray for those who have been hurt by hatred. That you will help them to forgive and to walk in Your love. We acknowledge that we have fallen short of Your glory, just as the psalmist wrote, “Have mercy on us, O God, according to Your loving kindness. According to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out our transgressions.” Wash us today, and cleanse our heart of racist thoughts and actions so that the church can stand up and walk together as one body. Father, I praise you, in advance, for healing our great country. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Paul: (Prayer for the media) Heavenly Father, what a time to be alive. Thanks for the miraculous means of modern communication and mass media. It’s now possible to instantaneously reach hundreds of millions of people all around the world. We thank You for blessing us with this luxury, but realize that what may seem like a luxury is also a liability. Members of our media wield and yield unprecedented influence on our culture. Every day they’re shaping debates. They’re influencing both the young, and the old, alike. And so we humbly ask that you would impress upon these women and men the realization of the awesome responsibility that accompanies their positions. This is a bold request, but we ask that You give journalists the ability to see things from Your point of view. Please infuse them with courage and wisdom. Thank You for blessing these individuals with the gift and passion for communication. But, above all, may those who dispense news be filled with the Good News of the Gospel, and may they use their platforms to bring glory and honor to You. I ask this in the powerful and almighty name of Jesus. Amen.

(Music transition)

John: Amen. and uh, today we’re joining together in unity to pray for this nation and the various areas of influence. Uh, and let’s go ahead and hear more from the conversation. Uh, Jim you talked with Dr. Ronnie Floyd, and we’re going to come back to that conversation about why making time for prayer is so important for us.

Jim: Talking about the importance of prayer, I think for many Christians - I know it’s true for me, John, I’m not sure about you. But sometimes I feel like I’m just too busy. I’m not giving enough time to simply pray.

Ronnie: Yeah.

Jim: But, talk to me and everyone else listening about the importance of prayer. Why is it so important, as a personal discipline, to pray?

Ronnie: I really believe that - that we have to understand that prayer is not only us talking to God, but it’s God talking to us. Oftentimes, prayer becomes our last choice rather than our first choice. And it needs to become the first choice that we make every day in our life. Things go better and smoother, ultimately, when we pray. And I challenge people all the time. And I practice it for years. Either start your day with God. I mean, make him first - early or first. Take your pick. If you’re a late rouser, at least make him first.

Jim: Right.

Ronnie: If you’re an early riser, then, hey, he’s early, and he’s first. But I really think if we don’t pray one of the first things we do when we get up, then we lose that effort. And we walk through a day. And we wake up, and we haven’t even talked to God about the very day that we’re living.

(Music transition)

Jim: Join us now as we pray for our families and schools.

Ketty: (Praying for families) Heavenly Father, on behalf of families and the children that You have gifted to us, I ask forgiveness for anything that I have knowingly, or unknowingly, done that has hurt my family members. I know that You have placed the family as an expression of Your nature. That Your desire is that we reflect intimacy, oneness, community, and fellowship within our families. We desire to honor you. Give us the wisdom, as parents, to guide our children to love and follow You. To bear one another’s faults in love. Give us the strength that we need to overcome the difficulties that we’re dealing with now, and give us a hope and a joy for the future. Help us, Father, to make every effort to remain united in our homes, and bind us together in peace. May our families bring You glory through Jesus Christ, Your Son.

Ketty:  (Repeats the prayer for families in Spanish)Padre Celestial, en nombre de las familias y los niños que nos has dado, te pido perdón por cualquier cosa que haya hecho, a sabiendas o sin saberlo, que haya lastimado a los miembros de mi familia. Sé que has puesto a la familia como una expresión de tu naturaleza. Que tu deseo es que reflejemos intimidad, unidad, comunidad y compañerismo dentro de nuestras familias. Deseamos honrarte. Danos la sabiduría, como padres, para guiar a nuestros hijos a amarte y seguirte. Para soportar las fallas de los demás en amor. Danos la fortaleza que necesitamos para superar las dificultades con las que nos enfrentamos hoy y danos esperanza y alegría para el futuro. Ayúdanos, Padre, a hacer todo lo posible para permanecer unidos en nuestros hogares en paz. Queremos que nuestras familias te traigan gloria a través de Jesucristo, tu Hijo.

Hope: (Prayer for our Education system/educators) Dear Heavenly Father, I am thankful for the opportunity to go to school every day and receive a good education from knowledgeable teachers. Please continue to provide strong role models and mentors for children like me across this country. May Your word be welcomed back into our classrooms and hallways so that we can all look to You as our ultimate Teacher. Give our administrators and teachers wisdom to make decisions that affect us all. Raise up Your people to stand for Truth, integrity, and justice in our school systems. Keep us safe from bullies and those who might seek to harm us, as we strive to become this nations next leaders. Remind our teachers, administrators, and all those who work in our schools that they are our heroes and we look to them with hope for our future. Pour out Your peace over each and every school. Make our classrooms a place of safety, opportunity, and love. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

(Music transition)

Jim: Ah...that girl. That...she touches my heart, John. That’s amazing. What a great prayer. Thank you for joining us in prayer today on Focus on the Family for our children to know and speak the Truth and for unity in families as we come together as a nation on this National Day of Prayer.

John: Yeah, we appreciate you listening, and you can find out more about making prayer a more regular part of your life. Dr. Floyd has written the book, The Power of Prayer and Fasting - I mentioned that earlier. Uh, we’ve got copies at focusonthefamily.com/radio. We’d invite you donate while you’re at the website, and when you do, we’ll send a copy of that book to you as our thank you gift for your partnership with us.

Let’s go ahead and hear, now, why praying for the big needs of our nation really matters.

Jim: Dr. Floyd, what are the goals of the National Day of Prayer? You know, is there some hidden agenda here? Are you going to tap into the power of God?

(Chuckling)

Jim: It’s pretty simple, I know it. That’s why I’m, you know, smiling as I say it. But...

Ronnie: Sure.

Jim: ...What are those goals to pray for government, military and right on down the line?

Ronnie: Yeah.

Jim: What is it you want to see accomplished today in a spiritual context?

Ronnie: I think, ultimately, we want to mobilize as many people in America today to unify together in public prayer for the country. That’s really our heart. It doesn’t matter whether people are at schools, whether they’re at businesses, whether they’re at planned events, or plan your own event even today where you are.

Jim: Yeah.

Ronnie: Just stop...

Jim: They’ll be in parks. They’ll be all over the country.

Ronnie: That’s right. Just you determine what needs to be. And really, you know, there are people in every environment that are concerned for the country. You know, the culture has helped us right now, even though we somewhat push back on it obviously. But the culture’s helping us because we’ve never had such a backdrop to the desperate need for prayer in America as we have today.

Jim: That’s true.

Ronnie: I mean, we desperately need people to call out to God today. So I would just encourage people, as they go home today, whether they’re driving in a car or they’re listening to their i-Pod on the way home on the Metro or wherever you are, talk to God about our country. That’s our goal. That’s our heart.

John: Dr. Floyd, it’s - it’s very obvious for us to pray for family needs. You’re calling us to pray for big, big needs, big areas of our country that I don’t see them - the needle moving. I don’t see the impact like I would if I’m praying for a child. Encourage me in that.

Ronnie: Well, first of all, I think we need to be encouraged that we’re doing what God wants us to do when we pray, and that our kingdom is not of this world. But our kingdom is of, uh, the kingdom of God to come ultimately. And obviously, the kingdom is here now in the presence of Jesus. And He is ruling eternally. And uh, and we have to trust Him for that. I think that we have to remember, too, that - that any time we look into the history of America, the heritage - the spiritual heritage of America has been shaped by great moves of God in history - the First Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening, the revival of 1857 and beyond, the movings of the Lord that so shifted. Now, we’re overdue for that next movement. That’s why - is another reason we need to be diligent to pray. But we need to be encouraged because as much sin as is happening and how - how much doom and gloom is happening, there’s much grace also being exercised. Because where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. And there’ll be some fabulous experiences today of millions of Americans joining together in prayer for this country. And even as people come, you want to be encouraged - even as people come to gatherings that are planned, or they’re praying for the nation on their own, they just need to close their eyes and imagine they’re not the only one out here.

Jim: Yeah.

Ronnie: There are millions today calling out to God.

Jim: In fact, one of the best pictures of the National Day of Prayer is in our own capital - Washington, D.C. Because in the rotunda and other locations around D.C., there will be gatherings...

Ronnie: Absolutely.

Jim: ...Of people. And in some of these, the military, uh...

Ronnie: Absolutely.

Jim: ...Officers show up...

Ronnie: Sure.

Jim: ...In full regalia.

Ronnie: Oh, it’s very powerful.

Jim: Both Republican and Democrats...

Ronnie: That’s right.

Jim: ...Will be there.

Ronnie: That’s right.

Jim: Judges - federal judges will be there.

Ronnie: That’s right.

Jim: And it’s an awe-inspiring thing to see people come together. We have disagreements on core social issues.

Ronnie: Sure.

Jim: But it’s wonderful to see people actually say, we can still pray together. And that’s important.

Ronnie: Absolutely. And this is one of the things I really want to forward as well in - in the National Day of Prayer and that is that this is - that this is the moment we come together. This is when we cross the aisles. This is when we hold our - our hands out all the way. And while we may not agree with every doctrinal issue that somebody has or some issue they might have, this is a time, hey, what can we do together? Keep your doctrinal distinctives. There’s nothing wrong with it. Keep your political preferences. That’s fine. If that’s where you are, that’s where you are. But hey, this is about God. This is about our country. This is something we can literally do together. Let’s just decide. Let’s do it.

(Music transition)

John: Join us now in prayer as we lift up our government, and our military, and we ask God’s favor for economic growth.

Carrie: (Praying for Government) Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth, we come before Your throne in awe of Your power and in humility that You welcome us into Your presence. Our hearts are heavy for our nation. And on this National Day of Prayer, we lift up our government. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust in the Name of the Lord, our God. And it’s in this trust in You, Father God, that we ask You to bless the institution of government that You created for our good. Protect our governments - local, state, and national, from fraud, greed, and corruption. We ask You to strengthen our leaders to do what is right in Your eyes, not what is popular in the culture. Raise up godly leaders, including the next generation, to be true public servants rather than politicians. We ask You to pour out wisdom on all in public office, whether in city councils, congress, or the courts. And equip us to engage civic leaders with Truth and love. With boldness, as we exercise the rights that You’ve given to us. And always directing others to Jesus Chris, our Lord. We lift up these requests in His name. Amen.

(Music transition)

Brian: (Praying for our military) Lord God, Almighty, we humbly come before You today, thanking You for the privilege of living in our great nation, and ask you to richly bless and protect each member of our US Armed Forces. Those men and women who willingly stand in a gap to support our freedom in these United States of America. We ask you to bless each member of the US Navy, Marine Corp, Coast Guard, Army, and Air Force, stationed around the world, being away from their families and in harms way. We thank you for giving them the desire to serve, along with wisdom, strength, and courage as they do their jobs. Lord, we also lift up and ask you to bless the First Responders throughout our great land. Those in law enforcement, our firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and 9-1-1 dispatch personnel, each of whom work tirelessly, many throughout the night, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, protecting our families from the evils of this fallen world. We thank You that Your angels wings cover them with Your protection and thank you for each individual who has embraced the calling You have put upon their lives. Lord, Your word says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed. For the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.” [Amen]

(Music transition)

Josh: (Praying for finances) Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply all of your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” God, from the beginning of creation You’ve provided for the needs of Your people, giving us food and clothing and shelter. More than that, You’ve promised in Your Word to supply all of our needs. But God, we confess that we struggle to trust You. We panic when we see a 4.1% national unemployment rate, or when we lose a job. Or when we have to live paycheck to paycheck. Forgive us, Lord, for doubting Your goodness in moments like these. But help us, also, to trust You in the midst of our own personal crises. Help us to understand that Your plan is often beyond what we can see. Help us to remember that we can’t add anything to this life by being anxious about how and when You will provide. And help us not to stockpile the treasures of this world that will eventually rust or break down. Help us to daily seek You and Your kingdom, and to use what You’ve entrusted to us to care for the needy that You’ve placed around us. Father, we ask these things from You, our Great Provider. Amen.

John: Amen. And we hope that if you’re struggling as a family economically that that prayer kind of will help you put your trust in God as the ultimate provider. Let’s go ahead and hear one final question that Jim Daly had for Dr. Ronnie Floyd.

Jim: Uh, Dr. Floyd, let’s talk about the country and where we, as Christians, are today. Because there’s a lot of chatter, um, about being on the downside of power. Where is Christianity in a modern world? Are we relevant? Uh, young people leaving the church supposedly. I know that there are some researchers that refute that...

Ronnie: Right.

Jim: ...Saying they’re just not pleased with organized religion, but they’re not walking away from God necessarily. So there seems to be a lot of turbulence in this modern world of social media and everything else. When you look at it all do you have hope for revival?

Ronnie: Absolutely.

Jim: Do you think this nation can find its way back to its core?

Ronnie: I believe God can do anything. I tell people everywhere, Jim, that God can do more in a moment than we could do in a lifetime. And because of that, I have a lot of hope because I believe he is able. And I believe he will graciously bless this nation with another great move of God. I pray that it’s in our generation. And I think when you look at history, it doesn’t matter whether it’s in the Bible or historical precedence in our own country, there is no great move of God that has ever occurred that has not first been preceded without the extraordinary prayer of God’s people.

Jim: Think of that.

Ronnie: Absolutely. And that’s one thing that the National Day of Prayer is about. This is the day that we do things that are beyond the ordinary. I had somebody ask me one time - I was speaking on extraordinary prayer. And they said, well, what’s extraordinary prayer? I said, well, that’s a great question. It’s beyond the ordinary. Whatever your ordinary is, then that’s what it is. And so if your ordinary is you don’t ever pray for the country, well, make this today, a day that you will pray for our country. And so am I troubled about where we are? I am absolutely troubled by where we are. I am heartbroken over where evangelicals are with one another. I’m heartbroken over where the country is politically. But I’m telling you, I am more convinced today, as I sit here with you, that God is prevailing. God is winning this battle. I am trusting Him. And my eyes are in the right place, and it’s not on the nation’s capital. It’s not on a political party. It’s on God. Our hope must be in God alone. I’m reminded of King Jehoshaphat fact when he was surrounded by his enemies. They said - and what did he say? He said, Lord, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on you. And that’s where we need to be.

(Music transition)

Jim: Join us for one last prayer, as we pray that our churches would be unified and strengthened.

Rajeev: (Praying for the church) Lord, we come to you today, agreeing with our brothers and sisters in Christ, to lift up the body of Christ, and pray for unity amongst Your saints in local churches across the country. You created the church to fulfill Your purpose here on earth, and we now pray, as your word says in Ephesians 4:12 ...to equip the saints for the work of ministry, and for building up the body of Christ. Let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works, neglecting to meet together, and encourage one another. We pray that the gospel will continue to go forth in power in churches and communities across the country. And the community of believers would be a light, a city on a hill, for the world to be drawn to Jesus Christ and know Him and become disciples. We pray for an outpouring of Your Spirit on our nation. And through the local church Your believers would unite, strengthen, and empower us to speak the Truth in love to a culture in chaos and in desperate need of Your shalom. [Amen]

(Music transition)

Closing:

John: Amen. And that does bring to a conclusion our prayers today for our nation, and our conversation with Dr. Ronnie Floyd. And I hope that you feel inspired to regularly lift up these areas of influence and need in America.

Jim: I love what Dr. Floyd shared with us today that prayer begins with us—individually seeking God for our families, then our communities, and then for our nation. And prayer truly is the gateway to spiritual breakthroughs and learning to know God’s heartbeat.

Here at Focus on the Family we don’t want prayer to be a one day thing that we do for our nation, but a lifestyle for you and your family. And we have so many resources to equip you and strengthen you in your faith and they’re found at our website or when you call us.

And if you’ve benefited spiritually by what we’ve provided today would you let us know by regularly praying for the ministry and helping us financially? When you donate to our work you fuel the mission of Focus on the Family to help us engage the world with the message of Christ’s love for all people. And today with your donation of any amount we want to say thank you by sending you a copy of Dr. Ronnie Floyd’s book, The Power of Prayer and Fasting. This resource is going to inspire you to draw closer to God and know how to discern his voice.

John: Make your donation and get a copy of the book and a CD or instant download of this conversation and these prayers that we’ve had today at focusonthefamily.com/radio or when you call 800-A-FAMILY.

And I hope you’ll join us again tomorrow when you’ll hear how you can use descriptive words pictures to grow and strengthen your relationships.

Teaser:

Dr. John Trent: When you use a word picture, what it does is, people get caught up in the story and it goes right over their defenses and right into their heart.

End of Teaser

 

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Guest

Ronnie Floyd

View Bio
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas and the author of 20 books including The Power of Prayer and Fasting, Our Last Great Hope and his latest, Living Fit. He has been a strategic leader in the Southern Baptist Convention for decades and recently served a two-year term as president of the organization. Dr. Floyd also served as the first and only general editor of the relaunch of LifeWay's Bible Studies for Life curriculum series, the most-used bible study series in the world. He and his wife, Jeana, have two grown sons and seven grandchildren. Learn more about Dr. Floyd at his website, ronniefloyd.com.