Over the past two decades, I’ve spent much of my time overseas. I’ve visited 40 countries so far, and I keep going back to some of the same nations because I’ve built close friendships with people from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. My travel has been restricted during the pandemic, but not one day goes by when I don’t speak with at least a dozen overseas friends.
So when a Minnesota policeman tragically murdered George Floyd last week in Minnesota, and peaceful protests quickly turned violent, I urgently asked my international friends to pray for us. We can’t handle this crisis alone. We need our brothers and sisters worldwide to hold up our arms.
Within two hours I received responses from people from almost 30 nations. In spite of all our national sins, our institutionalized racism and our foreign policy blunders, I could see that people around the world still love America. I cried when I read prayers posted by Christians from as far away as Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, India, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Romania, Nigeria, Bolivia, Australia, Mauritius and Malaysia.
When I asked my friends to pray for the United States, I shared these four simple points. I’m sharing these requests today, hoping that more people will join us:
- Pray that the United States will repent for years of racism and cruelty to minorities. Many African Americans feel frustrated and ignored, especially after the senseless murder of George Floyd on May 25. We are grieving for his family and grieving for our own shameful legacy of racial inequality. These kinds of incidents happen almost regularly in our country, and African Americans feel hopelessly vulnerable to mistreatment. The injustice must end.
- Pray that God would restore peace in our streets. Many people began protesting the killing of George Floyd last week. These protests were originally intended to honor Floyd’s life and to call government leaders to enact justice swiftly. Peaceful protests are helpful because they give people an opportunity to express their anger and pain. But other protesters infiltrated the marches who seemed more interested in looting buildings and burning down stores. Entire communities are now traumatized by acts of destruction.
We are now in our sixth day of violent clashes with police. Please pray against a spirit of anarchy. Pray that the protests will honor the memory of George Floyd—who was a Christian brother. This week, Mr. Floyd’s own brother begged protesters to keep the marches peaceful.
- Pray that God will give our leaders wisdom to know how to deal with this crisis. Right now, America is more divided politically than at any point in my lifetime. People are hateful and vindictive. We are still dealing with the coronavirus crisis, but our hate is worse than any virus. We need leaders who will be peacemakers and reconcilers.
Pray for President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. Pray that governors, mayors and law enforcement officials all across our nation will lead with compassion, wisdom and courage. At this time, politicians are very angry at each other. Our president sometimes uses inflammatory language that doesn’t promote healing. Please pray that the Lord will set a guard over his mouth, according to Psalm 141:3.
- Finally, pray that God will mercifully pour out His Spirit on America again. We are overdue for another spiritual revival. Unless God changes hearts, we have no hope. In the past, America generously took the gospel to the nations and gave hope to the world. Now we are biting and devouring one another, and we are sliding toward a national judgment. Without God’s mercy, we cannot recover from this.
The ultimate solution to our problems is not political. Neither Democrats nor Republicans can save us. Our salvation is not in Joe Biden or Donald Trump. Right now a virus has shut down our economy, and stores that were preparing to reopen are now looted and vandalized. Our leaders are divided. Even Christians have stopped talking to each other because of political divisions.
If we ever needed spiritual support from our overseas friends, it is now. I am standing on Lamentations 5:21: “Restore us to You, O Lord, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old.” Regardless of where you live around this world, please translate these requests into your language and share them with local intercessors. Please pray that America’s light does not go out.