Prayer for America

By Mark A. Taylor

Last Sunday, the day before the Fourth of July, I had the chance to lead worship in my home congregation. While I don’t believe Sunday-morning worship is the place for patriotic rallies (I’ve written about this before), I do believe we should be praying for our country as Christians gathered.

So I wrote the following prayer as a responsive reading for the service I led. Maybe it will encourage some readers today. And some might even personalize it to use in their own congregations.

July5_MT_JNLeader: Dear God, as we think about the freedoms, privilege, and possibilities that are ours simply because we were born in America, we must bow to thank you.

Congregation: Thank you, God, for America.

Leader: We know this is not a Christian nation, but it is a nation where Christianity has been allowed to flourish. We worship without fear. We share our faith openly.

Congregation: Thank you, God, for America.

Leader: But these are troubled times. Many of our neighbors—maybe most of them—do not know you. And some of them ridicule and revile us for our Christian faith.

Congregation: God, help America.

Leader: Public discourse has become crass and confrontational. Public values lean toward the self-indulgent and self-promoting. The veneer of godliness or even goodness has disappeared from much of entertainment, business, government, and education.

Congregation: God, help America.

Leader: And so, as we prepare to celebrate another Independence Day in America, we come to you without swagger—we do not assume, God, that you owe our country something special, and we do not claim consideration that you would not give your people in any land.

But we are concerned about our country.

Congregation: God, bless America.

Leader: We pray that religious liberty will not be eroded here. We pray that somehow you will work through the upcoming election to accomplish your will.

Congregation: God, bless America.

Leader: And, God, we pray for our church. Help our congregation to be an agent of influence and change in our community. Show our church how to show your love to those who do not know you.

Congregation: God, help our congregation in America.

Leader: And we pray for ourselves, Lord. Help each of us to be salt; may our actions and attitudes help preserve the righteousness and holiness that brings you glory. Help each of us to reflect your light, showing through all our decisions and dealings your unique outlook that is the only hope for a world stumbling in darkness.

Congregation: God, help us as Christian Americans.

Leader: God, forgive us when we have been proud and claimed entitlement. Forgive us when we have soaked up the blessings of this land without contributing of ourselves to help keep the land whole. When we ask you to bless our country, we’re asking you to re-enter our lives, refine our motives, and re-energize our commitment to you.

Congregation: God, bless America.

 

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