Repenting On Behalf Of Our Nation

Q. May I ask you to help me understand something? I follow several prayer groups praying for our nation. They all include the phrase, “Repent on behalf of our nation.” May I ask how we repent on behalf of another or for that matter a nation? I do pray that the Holy Spirit will do His work and convict the citizens of this nation of our sins. But, apart from that, I don’t understand how we can repent for our nation. Seems to me that is an individual responsibility.

A. Repenting of behalf of our nation has become a very trendy thing to do lately. But as popular as the idea is there’s really no Biblical support for it. The only clear example we have of a nation repenting and praying for deliverance from judgment is Nineveh (Jonah 3:6-10). In that case everyone from the King to the lowliest servant participated and the nation was spared.

In Ezekiel 14:12-20 the Lord told us that when He reaches out to judge a nation for their sinfulness, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were there to pray for that nation, they could only save themselves. He said their prayers wouldn’t even help their own sons and daughters, but only themselves.

Therefore I believe repenting on behalf of our nation would only be effective if we could get everyone in the nation to join us in doing so. After all it’s not nations that need to repent, it’s people.

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