Maybe you took a second look at the title. You may have figured, "He meant to say, 'Pray like you've never prayed before,' didn't he?" No. That phrase still reminds me of a cartoon years ago, in the "Hagar the Horrible" comic strip, where the Viking Hagar tells his ship's crew, "Row like you've never rowed before," and they do - like they have absolutely no experience.
Those of us Christians who are accustomed to praying for America and its leaders need to summon all our experience in prayer, and all our learning we have gained from Scripture about prayer, and all our faith in God's willingness to hear and answer prayer. We need to heed all the preaching we have heard about prayer - especially about what can hinder it.
Who is there in your life that you haven't forgiven? Jesus said, "When you stand praying, forgive." Are you married? Do you reconcile with your spouse after arguments? Or have you "learned" to avoid arguments and just sit on your anger or frustration? The apostle Paul said that friction between spouses can hinder prayer. Is there someone who needs to be asked to forgive you? Jesus said that if you are coming to God with an offering or sacrifice - and praise or prayer are called sacrifices in Scripture - and your brother has something against you, go and settle the matter with your brother and then come back with your offering to God. Is there something in your life that you know you should be giving up, as a Christian, yet you cling to it? David said in the Psalms, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." (Sometimes - for myself as well - that needs to be turned inside out, because sometimes it is the excuses for not getting something done, it is the repeated procrastination, that we need to give up.)
Those of us who are experienced at prayer need to remember the examples of persistent prayer in the Bible. There is Abraham, who kept petitioning God until he agreed to spare the city of Sodom, where Abraham's nephew Lot lived, from judgment if there were at least ten righteous men there. (Evidently there were not.) There is Jacob, who wrestled all night with the angel of God and said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." There is Moses, who spent not just forty but eighty consecutive days and nights without food and water at Mt. Horeb, (check out his account in the book of Deuteronomy), first to receive the Ten Commandments and then to beg God to set His wrath aside when His people had broken them already. In the New Testament, there is Jesus' parable of the woman who kept coming to petition the unjust judge, (the point being that God, as a perfectly just judge, would be far more responsive).
Finally, we need to get around and get past whatever conviction and discouragement we may feel after considering all those things - because I know I'm experiencing some - and still get our praying done for America's leaders, for those in slightly lower and still lower positions of authority. We still need to come before the Throne, realizing that it was never by dint of our own diligence in prayer that we were given that privilege anyway. It is the loving grace of our Father, bought for us with the precious blood of Christ, that enables us to come before Him in prayer, giving us the privilege of asking Him to focus His power on those things our nation needs.
Just remember, the purpose of PrayForAuthoritiesUSA is to pray for rather than at people in authority. However critical we may feel about President Obama, or about Vice President Biden presiding over Harry Reid's doings in the Senate, we are to pray for these individuals, as individuals, no more and no less in need of grace and forgiveness and salvation and transforming by renewal of their minds, than we once were - and to some degree will always continue to be.
"That will take a miracle," you may say. Well, you'll be going to the right place for that, won't you?
A Christian man living in Southeastern Pennsylvania, USA. Came under conviction in 1978 or 1979 to begin believing the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Came to saving faith in Christ in October 1982 by confessing I was a sinner by nature and only Christ could save me.