North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    There was a flag used in the darkest hours of the revolutionary war. It was called the Tree Flag (or Appeal to Heaven Flag). It wasn’t the stars and stripes. It wasn’t red, white, and blue. Gen. George Washington unfurled a simple white flag with an evergreen tree sewn on it. Above the tree were the words: “APPEAL TO HEAVEN”. As commander in chief of the Continental Army, Washington knew that he was out-gunned, out-manned, and didn’t have near the supplies when compared with the mighty British Army. The flag represented Washington’s prayers as they forged their way through Virginia. He knew that without an intervention of God, this new nation would die before it ever had a chance to stand on its own.    The words on the flag were an expression from a treatise written by the English philosopher John Locke. In that treatise, Locke asserted that when people have exhausted all courts, arbitrators, and kings, “then they may appeal to Heaven”. Many historians fail to give emphasis to the well-documented fact that the Revolutionary War was accompanied by a strong wave of prayer. The green and white flag symbolized this revival of prayer—a sign of the godly desperation and appeal of our founding fathers to our heavenly Father.

    Hardly a day goes by that we don’t have some controversy and violence in our nation. Therefore, it’s high time to appeal to heaven. We need this resource more than anything else. Prayer is a mighty force. God does things in answer to prayer that He would not do otherwise.

    I can quickly recall seven biblical men of faith that appealed to Heaven:

    Abraham prayed with COMMITMENT. Abraham’s faith had been severely tested. When he prayed with commitment to the will of God, God intervened. Genesis 22:11 says, “The Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, Abraham! Abraham! Yes, Abraham replied, here I am!”. When we commit our will totally to God’s will, our prayers will prevail also.

    Jacob prayed without CONSTRAINT. God told Jacob to return home, but he feared Esau. Jacob prayed with persistence and God answered. The Bible said, “He wrestled with God and man; and prevailed” (Genesis 32:28). We must also lift our hands toward heaven and touch God without constraint. God will answer when we prevail in prayer for ourselves and others.

    Moses prayed with CONCERN. Because the Israelites made idols, God threatened to destroy them. Moses intervened by putting his life on the line for them. God will hear and answer the intervening prayer of concern we have for unconverted friends, loved ones, and those under the heavy burden of guilt and shame.

    David prayed with CONTRITION. “Have mercy on me, Oh God, because of your unfailing love; blot out the stains of my sins.” When David repented of his sin with humility and contrition, God forgave and restored to him the joy of salvation. Our prayers, also, must come from a humble and contrite heart. God will forgive us, His mercy endures forever!

    Elijah prayed with CONFIDENCE. He prayed with faith to the true, living God (1 Kings 18:37-38). The fire fail, the rain came, and the skeptics believed. Elijah’s God answered prayer. The prayer of faith will move mountains and will move God’s hand to forgive and cleanse us. He is the same miracle-working God who changes not.

    Daniel prayed with COURAGE. Daniel didn’t buckle under threat. God honored his courageous devotion and faith, and protected him from the lions. Daniel 6:10 says, “Daniel, at home, knelt down and prayed before God; giving thanks”. In the face of persecution, our prayers of courageous faith also will be heard by God, who can deliver us as He did Daniel.

    Jesus prayed with COMPASSION. In Jesus’ darkest hour and most excruciating hour, he prayed with compassion for those who despitefully use us. We too can grow and learn to love them because God first loved us.

    Our appeals to heaven through prayer need not be a last resort, but the first resort! More than schools, armies, jobs, or healthcare, we need a viable, daily prayer life. Prayer is the Christian’s life line. God tells us how to be made whole as an individual and a nation when he says, “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My ears will be attentive to every prayer” (2 Chronicles 7:14-15). We need to appeal to heaven for our families, relationships, and churches. When we pray, we enter into a covenant with Jesus, and his promise: If we ask, it will surely be given to us, as will benefit us and our relationship with him.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s the Public Health Services Manager for Santa Rosa County, Florida, a U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. He recently published his 4th Volume in the “Living With Purpose” Book series which can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him at:

Posted by on Nov 11 2018. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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