“O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble. They have left the dead bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the sky, the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild.” Psalm 79:1-2

This prayer is all about God—”your” inheritance … “your” holy temple … “your” servants … “your” own people.

It’s a surprising prayer. After all, the reason the nations invaded, the temple defiled, Jerusalem destroyed, and the people left for dead, was because of the idolatry and wickedness of God’s people. They behaved badly, they ignored God’s warnings, and now they were reaping the consequences.

Yet when the Psalmist prays he reminds God that it’s his inheritance, his temple, his city and his people. Would we pray this way? “Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake. Why should the nations say, Where is their God?” (verses 9-10).

Do we look at the situation from God’s perspective and pray from the viewpoint of God’s glory because we are concerned the nations are watching? Or are we focused on our needs, our inconveniences, and our losses?

This psalm teaches us how to pray for our families, our communities, our nation, not when things are going well, but rather when they aren’t. We want the world to see that we’re a people God blesses (Isaiah 61:8-9). That he still responds to our prayers even when we haven’t been fully committed to his ways.

Regardless of our situation, we remain confident of his mercy and grace. We pray big prayers. Prayers that will impact more than just us. Prayers that will impact nations.