Jonah 1:1-3 (NKJV)
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 �Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.� 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

The people of Nineveh were wicked and God told Jonah to go pray and preach to the city that they might return to God. Jonah didn�t want to, instead he chose to �pay� the fare to go the opposite direction that God desired him to go.

The other day I wrote a devotional about praying for all people. A friend asked, �How does this square with the preponderance of people praying that "God bless America"?�

I believe we all need to be praying for America, but not just for blessings, but that we would know God and that this country would find a revival of God in our lives. We should desire God�s wisdom, justice and liberties. For when God is with us, who can be against us?

We should also remember to pray for countries stricken with famine and disease. We need to pray for those who are less fortunate and need care. We should pray they too would know God�s love, acceptance and salvation. For understanding God can turn the hearts of people from wickedness to something beautiful just as the preaching�s of Jonah did in Nineveh.

As Christians we are all ambassadors for Christ. Our lives are to represent Christ and we are to spread His message of salvation to all people. We are not to selfishly think of just America, but of other countries and other people. We are to take actions to help those we pray for.

Irving Berlin wrote the song �God bless America�. Irving was a Russian Jewish immigrant. Nicolass II, the Russian Tzar had revived anti-Jewish pogroms of brutality. As a child, Irving had watched his home burn. His family fled to America, which became a safe haven. It was in that understanding that �God bless America� was written. Berlin's daughter, Mary Ellen Berlin-Barrett, states that the song was actually "very personal" for her father, and was intended as an expression of his deep gratitude to the nation for merely "allowing" him, an immigrant raised in poverty, to become a successful songwriter.

President Nixon was the first president to use the words, �God bless America�, in a speech. In the heat of Water Gate, Nixon finished a damage control speech by saying, "Tonight, I ask for your prayers to help me in everything I do throughout the days of my presidency," he said. "God bless America and God bless each and every one of you." As we know there were later consequences for the unlawful actions that had been taken. I don�t believe God blessed America through those actions.

So while it is not a bad thing to say �God bless America�, we need to keep our focus on God and less on America. For God is our provider, our deliverer and our salvation. Let us all praise God and that all people would turn to Him.