As we prepare for the 20th Anniversary of September 11th, Afghanistan remains the elephant in the room.
America is gone, and the world has taken note of how we left, and who we left behind.
Not only does our absence in the region raise all kinds of geopolitical concerns, but more excruciating are the moral repercussions within our own country. As Americans, we watched in horror while the government whose only real job is to protect us left our fellow citizens, our allies, and innocent people behind in the most brutal and traitorous way.
We can only imagine their fate.
Americans feel angry and helpless. They are shocked and disgusted. As people watch these events continue to unfold, most feel powerless to do anything.
How do we as a nation take that righteous anger that we are feeling and do something that will make a difference?
First, by praying.
While modern culture is quick to dismiss prayer as weak and ineffective, it is rather a powerful tool. Prayer moves God’s hand.
It offers encouragement, changes circumstances, brings peace, delivers those in need, builds hope, cements courage, and draws us to God.
Prayer has also played a huge part in our nation’s history.
Prayer was the key to breaking a 5-week stalemate in the writing of our founding documents and the creation of our nation’s framework.
In response to the floundering efforts and disagreement, Benjamin Franklin challenged his fellow founders in the Continental Convention of 1787, declaring, “And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proof I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, it is probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
After the period of prayer and fasting, our Constitution was authored—an inspired document that is the longest ongoing Constitution in the history of the world.
The impact of prayer is woven into the fabric of the American people, and that continues to this day. Millions of Americans have been praying for Afghanistan as they’ve watched the events spiral out-of-control, and we’ve seen the power of prayer at work. Stories are emerging on social media of people passing a Taliban checkpoint unchallenged or hiding unnoticed in a building crawling with Taliban. These stories are a testament to God at work.
But in addition to prayer we need to seek ways to take direct, physical action.
The Bible gives us examples of combining prayer and direct action. A very applicable example is found in the book of Esther. When the Jews were in danger of slaughter from the evil plans and deceit of Haman, Esther employed prayer and fasting, then took action to appeal to the King, ultimately saving the Jewish people.
Prayer often tills the soil for direct action to take root. So, let’s pray, but let’s also take action that the world can see.
That means holding those responsible who jeopardized the safety of Americans and our allies by speaking up to our elected officials. Their response is not our responsibility—our responsibility is to speak truth to power, to be looking for ways to make a difference and speak up for what is right.
It also means directly helping those groups that are still working to rescue Americans and our allies in Afghanistan. Just because our government has acquiesced its moral authority to our fellow Americans and allies doesn't mean the American people need to do the same. There are opportunities to play a part in bringing people to safety and help them start their lives over.
It’s also crucial that we help support our veterans. These heroes are struggling as they see the country that they fought, bled and watched friends die in, return to chaos and darkness. Now more than ever we need to be there for them—coming alongside them both spiritually and physically.
This is our time to rise and be the people of prayer and action that America needs. The darkness we see now isn’t something we haven’t seen before, so let us meet that darkness with the same fervent prayer and the same selfless action that we have seen in defining moments of our nation’s history.
Prayer and action is a dangerous combination against the enemy of truth and freedom.
Dave Kubal is the President of Intercessors for America, and leads PrayandActUSA.org—the coalition calling Americans to pray and take action for Afghanistan.