In 1888 a noted chess master named Paul Morphy attended a dinner party in Richmond, Virginia. During the dinner his attention was drawn to a painting on the wall. The scene portrayed a young man locked in an intense chess match with the devil. The devil's next move would surely claim victory - entitling him to the young man's soul. The devil wore a triumphant expression. After dinner the chess champion walked over to the painting, studying the board and the pieces portrayed on it. Suddenly he turned to his host and said, "I can take the young man's game and win!" "That is not possible!" his host replied. "Not even you can retrieve that game." The chess master answered, "Yes, I think I can. Suppose we place the men and give it a try." To the surprise of everyone Morphy bested the smug opponent in the painting. Victory was snatched from the devil and the young man was saved.
Sometimes we feel like that young man. We see Satan poised claim victory. We fee something near despair as we watch our nation make wrong turn after wrong turn. Yet in the darkest moment God whispers, "I have good news for you. He has not won yet. "If my people who are called by my name are sorry for what they have done, if they pray and obey me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from Heaven, I will forgive their sin and I will heal their land." God gets the final move. And we can urge Him to take it - when we pray!