By Nick Perrin
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:4-7
When it came to holding fast to the covenant, Israel had blown it. Now as a result of their sin they were in exile and living among a strange people. Think about the questions God’s people must have asked themselves. “We are God’s people and now we live among a people who do not follow God’s ways. How then shall we live?” A good question, I think. How would the countless Jews taken into exile have answered that question? Some, I’m sure, defiantly committed themselves to making life difficult for their captors any way they could. Others probably said, “Well, if you can’t beat them, join them”, and caved to the surrounding pagan values and lifestyle. But what does Jeremiah say when he writes to the exiles, explaining what life was supposed to look like? I recommend neither of these options.
Instead he says this: build houses, plant, eat, hold weddings, have children, and more. But most of all, pray for that city. No doubt, this last piece must have been hard for many people. When it comes to praying for a city, or a region, or a nation led by violent, immoral, and corrupt leaders – one can only imagine how challenging that must have been!
The Bible never lets us off the hook in praying for the host nation in which we the people of God find ourselves. It doesn’t matter whether our leaders are righteous or unrighteous; it doesn’t matter whether or not they name the name of Jesus Christ. Our job is simply to pray. Why do we pray for our nation? Well, here’s one reason: because if it goes well with the United States, it will go well with us.
Suggested Reading: Jeremiah 29
- Pray for the PCA, its church-planting efforts in different parts of the country, and its missional outreach.
- Pray that the social divide in our country would be replaced by unity and peace.
- Pray that the United States would be a place of true, impartial justice.
- Pray for our Governor, state legislatures, and those who hold power in the legislative, judicial, and executive branches, including the President.