Students of history say a great prayer revival in 1857 preceded the Civil War and led to the end of slavery. They say the awakening began in New York as people prayed for immigrants, but soon spread to cities all across the country. Multitudes gathered in churches, fire stations, and auditoriums repenting and pouring out their hearts to God for salvation, national unity, and the end of slavery. Not only did they pray this before the war began; but during the war as things were going badly for the north, Abraham Lincoln set a date and called the nation to intercede with God to save the nation. Both Lincoln and the church knew the value of intercessory prayer. So did the patriarch, Abraham. We find in Genesis 18 that he pleaded with God to spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction if 10 righteous people were found. He hoped the presence of the righteous would also spare his nephew Lot. Intercessory prayer by God’s people on behalf of others can be powerful. May God’s Spirit inspire us to pray for our nation, our leaders, our relatives, our friends, and our children. Pray that love and obedience toward God will grow; that love and justice for people will increase.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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