In recent decades (and perhaps far longer), it has been in vogue for evangelicals (particularly in America) to talk about praying for our country and and governing authorities. Frankly, there has often seemed to me to be an unhealthy dose of nationalism and even prosperity theology behind such talk, and over the past few years, I have wondered whether there might be times when we should not pray for our country and authorities. The prophet Jeremiah, for instance, was told on several occasions (7:16, 11:14, 14:11) not to pray on behalf of Judah because the time of their judgement had come, and in Jeremiah 15:1, God goes so far as to tell him that even the greatest intercessors in Israel’s history could not sway Him from bringing His judgement. This last verse is of particular interest to me; several years ago, I made election day a day of prayer and fasting (as I have often done), and opening to that verse as part of the day’s reading schedule seemed like more than a coincidence. Given certain developments since that time, I have come to suspect more and more that praying for America is indeed a lost cause at this point. Still, I sometimes wonder if I am simply letting pessimism get the better of me.