“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1–3).
Dear Christian friends,
As I write this, it is Independence Day weekend. On July 4th, we observe the 244th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. We have much to be thankful for in this country. God has given us a system of government that has allowed us to worship and practice our faith in our vocations relatively freely. God has given us a land filled with natural resources and industrious people that have made this the most economically prosperous nation in the history of the world. God has brought a diversity of people from all over the world who have sought to live together acknowledging the richness of our own ancestral heritages, while at the same time seeking to build a common culture.
Certainly, our nation is not without problems. No human society in this fallen world will ever be. No matter what side of the political aisle you stand on, I am sure that you can identify concerns that you have. Most recently there are issues dealing with respect for authority, assurance of equal protection and justice under the law, and how to deal with the medical, emotion, and economic consequences of a pandemic. In our system of government, we have the tools to deal with those concerns peacefully. As citizens of this country, we have the right to voice our opinion public square. We have the right to vote and campaign for candidates who best represent our views and interests. And we have the right to worship and practice our religion according to consciences.
As Christian citizens, we have a duty to not just look out for our own benefit, and the benefit of our loved ones, but for the good of our neighbor as well. God has also given us the privilege and duty to pray on behalf of our nation, civil authorities, and people, that, as St. Paul urges, “may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” We acknowledge our failures of the past, the many challenges of today, and pray for the Lord’s guidance and protection of our nation as we move into the future.
Toward that end, I offer this prayer, adapted from Lutheran Book of Prayer, for your consideration.
Heavenly Father, we come to Your throne of mercy bowed down and wearied by the weight of suffering and disaster visited upon our country through disease, distrust, and disorder. We beg You to protect this nation in our hour of need. We acknowledge our trespasses before You and do not deny either our own transgressions of Your holy Law or the sins of other citizens of our homeland. We have not loved You above all things; we have failed to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are laden with iniquity, but You call us to Your forgiveness, salvation, hope, and life. Turn the hearts and minds of all to You that they might find peace through the cleansing of Jesus’ blood. Let us not be confounded or dismayed, so that we, children of Your grace, may courageously speak to this needy world of the hope that is within us. Make us instruments of Your peace in a world of conflict, witnesses to the power of faith in a world lost in unbelief, and bearers of the joy that overcomes the sorrow of a fallen world. Grant to the leaders of the nations of the world wise counsel, calm thinking, and unselfish aims. Amid the tumult of disaster, build Your kingdom and turn even more souls to Yourself. Because of Your grace, we are not altogether lost but find peace and forgiveness in You. O Lord, give us the grace to seek You, trust You, and confess You; in Jesus’ name. Amen
The Lord bless us and keep us and our nation in His Word and will in however many days and years He has allotted to us. Amen.