Transforming a Nation
By Dr. Ronnie Floyd
The United States of America is comprised of more than 328 million people, each of whom lives in one of 19,510 incorporated locations in the United States (towns, cities, and villages) in 3,142 counties.
Our vast nation needs the transforming message of Christ.
Advancing an intentional strategy of prayer for America calls upon each Christian, church, and ministry to do all we can, working together to achieve this God-sized assignment: to remember our audience and the daunting task entrusted to us.
Not one of us can advance this strategy alone. We need one another.
Transforming America with Prayer
Transforming America is only possible when the Lord hears the roar of His people in prayer for all of America.
That is why the National Day of Prayer is significant. It calls upon each of us to unite with our fellow believers in prayer for our nation on one specific day: Thursday, May 2, 2019. The National Day of Prayer is the one day each year when every town, city, and county should have at least one prayer observance for America. This needs to be accomplished in 2019.
Prayer can help create a culture where a transforming message can be heard and received by everyone, including people who may not look like us, believe like us, talk like us, or understand us.
If we cover our nation in prayer, America will receive this transforming message that will be lifted up across our nation, beginning now and especially on the National Day of Prayer.
Transforming America with Jesus’ Words: Love One Another
“Love One Another” is the theme for the 2019 National Day of Prayer. These words are powerful and convicting. They set a spiritual standard for us and challenge us.
Jesus’ words, “Love one another,” are recorded in John 13:34: “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another” (CSB, emphasis added).
Please notice, in this one verse, Jesus calls us three times to love.
Love is so important to Jesus that He went further with these convicting words in the next verse: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love another.” Of all the actions we can take as Christ followers, only one action distinguishes us from everyone else in this world. It is Love One Another.
In our nation, where government cannot fix us and politics cannot heal us, we must call out to God and live out before others these transforming words: Love One Another!
Why Love One Another?
Love One Another is a dynamic theme to advance, beginning now and through the National Day of Prayer and beyond. These are the words of Jesus Christ. We cannot improve on what Jesus said: “Love one another. Just as I have loved you. . .” (John 13:34).
I find it very powerful that in the first part of John 13, Jesus said someone would betray Him, and at the last part of that same chapter, He declared someone would deny Him three times. But it was in the middle of this chapter that Jesus proclaimed boldly but compassionately, “Love one another.”
This theme is extremely relevant. It is clear, simple, and easy to understand. It is also easy to communicate, even to people who are perhaps very different from us and do not understand us.
I believe everyone in the United States would agree that our nation could become much better if we would just love one another. Everyone gets it. America needs to learn to love one another.
How Deep Is Jesus’ Love?
John 13 begins Jesus’ farewell to His disciples. From John 1 through John 12, the word love is used 12 times. From John 13 through John 21, the word love is used 44 times.
Love is the theme of His farewell.
Love was Jesus’ burden when He prayed for unity among His followers in John 17. He prayed, “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (v. 26, emphasis added).
Loving one another distinguishes us from unbelievers. Loving one another is God’s transforming power in all relationships.
According to the testimony of the early Christian apologist Tertullian (A.D. 155–240), the pagans said about the early Christians, “See how they love one another?”
The pagans witnessed these early Christians washing the feet of others. They even saw them lay down their own lives for the Lord, for His name, and for others.
When Jesus said, “I give you a new command,” He was speaking of a new kind of love that is personal and fresh. Theologically, the death of Jesus Christ is the only way we can get right with God, and it is the coming of the Holy Spirit that sets our hearts afire with love!
The specific word for love used in John 13:34 expresses purpose. It is the kind of love that gives of self completely and unselfishly. It is a love that calls us to lay down our lives for others and to seek the welfare of others.
Love like this transforms people and can transcend all problems within relationships. Love like this is a new kind of love, and the Holy Spirit ignites us to love even our enemies. Jesus said, “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). This is extraordinary love based on the depth of God’s love for His Son Jesus, and for each of us.
Even in his epistles, John addressed this kind of love. With boldness he declared, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love his brother or sister” (1 John 3:10).
Jesus is calling us to forgive, release, forget, and even to seek out those who offend us and love them in a better way. Jesus calls us to love people just as He loves us: willfully, sacrificially, and unconditionally.
Because God has loved us, we are to love one another. When we belong to Jesus, we belong to love.
How Wide Is Jesus’ Love?
Love One Another spans all generations, all ethnicities, and all languages.
Each of the 350,000+ churches and 200 denominations in America needs to live up to these profound, life-changing, transforming words of Jesus: love one another!
God’s greatest footprint on our nation is the hundreds of thousands of churches across our country. Each church can host a prayer observance for America on the National Day of Prayer, or a few can join with each other to cover their region in prayer.
While our task of mobilizing unified public prayer for America is daunting and intimidating, it is not impossible.
A Day of More Prayer
We need to resolve to make Thursday, May 2, 2019, the day America is prayed for more than any other day this year. We need millions of people to pray for America on the National Day of Prayer.
We may differ with one another at times, but we can always love one another. Love is our highest duty to God and to one another. Love is the badge of our discipleship. Love is what sets us apart from others.
Jesus did not say that we are known by our creeds, songs, doctrine, knowledge, achievements, dress, appearance, or the color of our skin. We are only known by our love.
We need a baptism of love by the Holy Spirit that will immerse the entire Church of Jesus Christ and our entire nation in a baptism of love. This kind of love must begin in the church houses of America, and then go to the state houses of America, and ultimately go all the way to America’s White House.
Loving one another will transform America.
DR. RONNIE FLOYD is president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. His website is ronniefloyd.com.