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The President Repents

During a recent event, the president offered a remarkable prayer of repentance for himself and the nation. Consider a few of the words from his prayer to God:

I stand here today to close the evil past and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask for Your forgiveness.

We confess these sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation.

We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal.

Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict.

These sins and many others have characterized our past leadership, especially the last 50 years of our history. Lord forgive us and give us a new beginning. Give us a heart to love You, to fear You and to seek You. Take away from us all the above sins.

These are not the words of the American president but of Yoweri Museveni, the president of the nation of Uganda. He gave this prayer at the National Jubilee Prayers event as the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence from Britain. As he closed his prayer, he said this:

We want to dedicate this nation to You so that You will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation, whose God is the Lord, a people You have chosen as Your own.

I renounce all the evil foundations and covenants that were laid in idolatry and witchcraft. I renounce all the satanic influence on this nation. And I hereby covenant Uganda to You, to walk in Your ways and experience all Your blessings forever.

I pray for all these in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I know nothing of President Museveni or whether his heart is truly with the Lord. The only basis I have for forming an opinion of the man are the words of this prayer. On this basis, I am impressed that a national leader would so publically express the spiritual needs of his nation and seek the favor of God for himself and his people. It is refreshing to read these words and know that somewhere in the world a person of great influence and leadership is at least saying the right message. Let us hope that his nation will follow and bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt. 3:8).

Naturally, these events in Uganda cause me to reflect on our own nation of the United States. How long has it been since we have heard a national leader speak in such a way in America? It certainly has not happened in my lifetime. The early leaders of the nation often declared days of prayer and fasting during the Revolutionary War. During the Civil War, President Lincoln declared a national day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, saying, "It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord." President Roosevelt even led the nation in prayer over the radio on the evening of D-Day, but that was a long time ago.

Will we ever again hear an American president speak words like those of President Museveni or President Lincoln? None of us know the answer, but it is encouraging to know that a nation like Uganda, which has been marred in wickedness for many generations, can begin to show signs of turning to the Lord. If that nation can turn from the depths of evil, then the United States can turn also. If the nation turns, then be assured that God's blessings will come, for "righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people" (Prov. 14:34).

Stacey E. Durham




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