National Day of Prayer: Why Pray?- Shades of Grace | Natalie Nichols

National Day of Prayer: Why Pray?

National Revival in America: It Comes Down to You and Me

Today is the National Day of Prayer, an event established by an act of Congress that encourages Americans to pray for our nation, its people and its leaders. As you may know, this is our focus each Thursday in the Concert of Prayer. I am passionate about our nation, its history and founding. The fact that we have departed from the principles on which we were founded – the principles by which God’s blessings rest upon a nation – grieves me deeply.

I had planned for the post on this significant day to include information about our nation’s founding and how it was steeped in prayer. But the Holy Spirit changed my plans. There will be other posts with that content in the future, but today God wants us to know that more than we long for our country to be blessed, He longs for intercessors to stand in the gap so that He can bless America, its people and its leaders.

At the end of this post are two such prayers by way of video. I urge you to join us for prayer and worship. You will be blessed!

God Seeks Intercessors

  • “I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth” (Isaiah 62:6-7).
  • “And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor” (Isaiah 59:16).
  • “No one calls on Your name and awakens and bestirs himself
    to take and keep hold of You…” (Isaiah 64:7, AMPC)
  • “And I sought for a man…that should…stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30).
  • “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 15:16).

God is the God of glory, able to meet needs, reverse judgment, preserve nations, extinguish wars, heal diseases, raise the dead, rescue cities from destruction, save the perishing, shut the mouths of lions, stop the sun in its course, subdue the elements and accomplish the impossible.

The Bible tells us that He delights in mercy; He longs to be gracious and pour out His blessing. The love that caused Him to sacrifice His son to death lingers over every human being. Yet something stays His hand. He doesn’t help…and they perish. God does not move.

God loves and longs to intervene with a depth we cannot fathom. But something holds Him back. What could it be? Scripture says that our unbelief is the cause (Mk 6:5; Matthew 13:58, 17:20). It is our absence of faith.

Our Prayerlessness Limits God

God has made us partners with Himself (see Heb. 3:14). He has honored us and bound Himself by making our prayers one of the means of the working of His power. Why do we not pray? Unbelief. Scripture tells us that “whatever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). Therefore, at the root of all sin is unbelief. At the root of the sin of prayerlessness is unbelief. Faith prays. Unbelief does not. (see Interceding for America.)

Lack of prayer is the chief reason for the lack of blessing and power of God in our lives, our churches, our leadership and our nation.

Modern Day Watchmen

In the Old Testament, God appointed watchmen in Israel. They were to cry to Him day and night and give Him no rest. Although He had appointed these men, He often wondered and complained that there was no intercessor. He wondered why there was no one who aroused and stirred themselves to take hold of His power and intervention.

The same is true in our day. God still wonders why all of His people do not give themselves to this highest privilege, this most holy work – and why many of them who do so, do not engage in it more intensely and tenaciously.

He wonders why ministers, pastors, preachers, church leaders complain that their duties do not allow them time for what He considers their first and most effective work. He wonders why His servants who have left home and family for His sake, fall so short of this preeminent calling. He wonders why multitudes of His people have no conception as to what intercession is.

God longs to give greater blessings. He longs to reveal Himself in deeper ways. He longs to show us His power and strength. He longs to display His saving love and mercy. He is seeking intercessors in larger numbers, in greater anointing and power, to prepare the way of the Lord. Yes, He seeks intercessors. And where is He looking for them? In His church. In your church. In your home.  In your prayer closet.

Intercessor: God’s Role for All Believers

When we hear the term “intercessor,” we tend to shun all personal implication. We immediately pawn the term, deliberately pretending that it applies to others and certainly not to ourselves. We think surely it must refer to those who are given a spiritual gift for this special type of prayer.

God wants each one of His children to be intercessors. No one is exempt. How do we pray if we don’t intercede? How can we purport to be Christians, Christ followers, and yet not pray?

The role of “intercessor” is a calling for every believer. What needs exist in your home? What heartache are those around you suffering? What family is being destroyed?  What friend or family member is lost and headed for hell?

God is looking for you, oh intercessor, oh watchman, to awaken and bestir yourself, to take hold of His power and pray down His blessing and intervention.

“No one calls on Your name and awakens and bestirs himself to take and keep hold of You…” (Isaiah 64:7, AMPC)

Is the power of God lacking in your local body of believers?  Is the Holy Spirit so present in your church that when people merely set foot inside they are instantly convicted of sin?  How is your church failing to fulfill its ultimate calling as a “House of Prayer?” In what ways is the freedom to speak Christ’s name restricted in your community? Where is prayer driven out and made unlawful? How many innocent lives are murdered by abortion in your community? (The shedding of innocent blood pollutes the land” Nu. 24:33.)

Beloved, you are the appointed intercessor for these desperate needs and grievous atrocities. God is looking for you to stand in the gap. He wonders why there is no intercessor in your home.

“And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor” (Isaiah 59:16).

From the beginning God had intercessors among His people. He listened to their voice and gave deliverance.

Here in Isaiah, we read of a time of trouble when God sought for an intercessor, but His seeking was in vain. Scripture says “He wondered.” Ponder that for a moment.

In The Secret of Intercession, Andrew Murray writes,

“Think of what that means: the amazement of God that there should be none who loved the people enough or who had sufficient faith in His power to deliver, to intercede on their behalf. If there had been an intercessor, He would have given deliverance; without an intercessor, His judgments came down. (See Isaiah 64:7; Ezekiel 22:30-31) Of what infinite importance is the place the intercessor holds in the kingdom of God! Is it not indeed a matter of wonder that God should give men such power? Yet there are so few who know what it is to take hold of His strength and pray down His blessing on the world.” [1]

Intercession: God’s Work Depends On It

When God completed the new creation in His son, Christ took His place on the throne. The work of extending His kingdom was given to men. Christ lives to pray and intercede (Hebrews 7:25).

Prayer is the highest exercise of His royal right and privilege as Priest and King upon the throne. Everything that Jesus was to do in Heaven He would do through His people on earth. In His divine wisdom, God decided that the work of His Spirit would be determined by the prayer of His people. He waits for their intercession.

Andrew Murray continues,

“God rules the world and His church through the prayers of His people. That God should have made the expansion of His kingdom to such a large extent dependent on the faithfulness of His people in prayer is a stupendous mystery and yet an absolute certainty. God calls for intercessors; in His grace He has made His work dependent on them. He waits for them.” [2]

God is waiting for your intercession. He is waiting today. Don’t put it off till tomorrow, till a day when there is ample time. Begin now!  The work of His kingdom on earth is dependent upon your prayers.

As I wrote this article, the Holy Spirit convicted me of the sin of prayerlessness in my own life. I have not been interceding as I should. I pray that God has spoken to you pertaining to something in your daily walk through this post.

This message is first and foremost a call to daily, continual prayer and a light illuminating the sin of prayerlessness and unbelief.  When we become the intercessors God has called us to be, our nation, its people and its leaders will be affected.

If we don’t become the intercessors God has called us to be, we may no longer have the National Day of Prayer in America. The freedom to speak the name of Christ, to witness and share the Gospel could soon be extinguished.

May Christians across the nation gather on this significant day to humble ourselves, grieve and repent for our sins and give attention to God’s truth:

Intercession for America – Part 1

Intercession for America – Part 2


Question: For whom will you intercede in prayer today?





  1. Andrew Murray, Andrew Murray on Prayer (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1998), 604
  2. Ibid., 604


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