“Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: we humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry,sound learning, and pure manners.
“Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.
“Endure with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness … and compassion for all infirmities.”
~ Book of Common Prayer
Almighty God and Merciful Father, you have established your throne in the heavens and your sovereignty rules over all. You are the one who changes the times and the epochs, and it is you who remove some from authority and raise others up.
Knowing that you are God, we bring these petitions on behalf of those who will be elected to office, as well as the people of this land.
Lord, give us rulers who are better than we deserve. Having forsaken you as a nation, you would be just to discipline us with tyrants. But show us mercy in giving us rulers who will learn to love righteousness and the wisdom of your ways.
Lord, grant us rulers who recognize your authority over them. May this lead them to govern with humility and justice. Cause our rulers to see that you have not ordained them to be saviors, but servants. Help them to be be good ministers of justice, who will judge without partiality and know the limits of their power.
Lord, send us rulers of good character who despise corruption. Do not send us those who would come to steal, kill, and destroy. Protect us from deceivers who would use their office for their own gain. Preserve us from the wicked who would cause us to groan. Rather, increase the righteous that we may rejoice.
Lord, bring woe upon those rulers who call evil good and good evil. And bring us those who are able to discern between good and evil that they would fulfill their calling in keeping with your Word. May your law be the foundation of our laws so that we would have liberty and peace.
Lord, keep us prayerful for those in authority, so that we would lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. Keep us from covetous hearts so that we would not look to our rulers to steal for us. May your Spirit empower us to govern ourselves, since it is only by good self-government that we can ever expect to have good civil government.
Lord, help us to see always that our hope is not in the servants of the state, but in you. Cause us to know that it is righteousness that exalts a nation and nothing else. May this lead us to have repentant hearts and a new desire to honor you.
Comfort us concerning all our cares as we remember that you have already installed Jesus Christ as the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
In His Name, Amen.
What is God’s design for the human race? His design is to bring about of a new humanity in Jesus Christ.
What’s this new humanity to be like? It’s to be comprised of those who dwell in peace, unity, righteousness, and faith as it is given by the Lord.
Why does the realization of this new humanity seem so difficult? Because there is resistance to it from spiritual forces of wickedness.
How is this resistance to be overcome so God’s design can be brought to fulfillment? By prayer.
This is the message that the Bible gives us about God’s purpose in this world, and how that purpose is to be worked out in reality.
Through Jesus Christ, God the Father has secured the redemption of the human race and the bringing about of a new humanity. As a result, all who belong to this new humanity through faith in Christ are equipped to live differently. They are able to put off the old man and put on the new, and live in peace and righteousness. Through history, God’s Spirit works to cause this new humanity to grow and grow.
What a glorious picture! But it’s a picture not easily realized. It’s much like the promised land of old. Canaan was a place of great blessing, but there were enemies to contend with. The same thing is true regarding our own redemption. All who are in Christ are given hope and promise – but there is resistance that must be dealt with if we are to realize the blessings of redemption.
Because of this, we need God’s ongoing grace — and we need to pray.
Prayer is a general term for various kinds of communication with God. Prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication are all to be a balanced part of our lives as we seek to have God’s best realized in this world.
Most common is to raise up prayers of petition because we face so many needs and obstacles. And this is something we should do because the Lord tells us that we should ask in order to receive (Jn.16:24).
The Bible makes it plain that we are to pray for the persecuted, as though we were suffering with them (Heb.3:13). One of the difficulties with this is that we may not know much about those we need to pray for.
The following video helps with that problem, as it reveals that those who are persecuted have families and hopes and fears as we do. As we remember this, may our prayers for the persecuted not just be abstractions, but heartfelt petitions on behalf of fellow saints with serious needs.
In our anxious times people devote themselves to statistics, experts, methods, and untold data as they make important decisions. Despite all this devotion, the decisions that are eventually made frequently are done so without any real assurance that the decision was the right one or that it will bring any effective result.
Could it be that in our pursuit of all the right data and expertise that we’ve forgotten about prayer? In earlier ages, where there was a whole lot less information available, people didn’t seem to have the anxiety about their decisions that we have today. Maybe in the absence of all the info that we think we must have, they devoted themselves to prayer instead, with the result being a whole lot more confident decision making.
Nativity Prayer of St. Augustine
Let the just rejoice,
For their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
For their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.
~ St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-440)
The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that people’s lives are driven by their emotions more than they realize.
We like to think that we’re rational creatures who thoughtfully govern all our decisions and actions. But the reality, I believe, is quite different. So often it’s our feelings that drive us in one direction or another. And those feelings can often lead us to do some foolish things.
The big role that feelings play in our lives should not be surprising when we realize all the attention that the Bible gives to different emotions. Anger, guilt, bitterness, peace, joy, and hope are just a sample of the many emotions that the Bible addresses.
It’s interesting, too, that the Bible shows us that there’s an important relationship between the two most powerful emotions of them all – fear and love – when it says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. . .” (1 Jn.4:18).
Understanding this relationship will go a long way in helping you prevent negative emotions from leading you astray. Read more…
“I guess all we can do now is pray.”
That’s a statement you’ve probably heard before. You may have even said it yourself sometime.
There’s a hint of piety in the remark, because it conveys a willingness to turn to God. But this kind of statement also reveals something else. It’s the idea that prayer is our last resort.
How often and when do you pray? Do you pray regularly, or only when you’ve come to the end of your own resources and feel that there’s nothing else to try?
Do you view prayer as a last resort? Kind of like a Hail Mary pass in football that you just hope against all odds will bring about a good result?
If so, I want to encourage you, dear reader, to think differently about prayer.
Prayer is not intended by God to be a last resort. It’s to be a way of life for all He has made in His image.
I appreciated seeing this quote over at John Barach’s blog as he makes the case for singing the Psalms. . .
God’s readiness to hear and willingness to grant His people’s prayers are continually proclaimed throughout Scripture (Ps. 9:10; 10:17-18; 18:3; 34:15-17; 37:4-5; 50:14-15; 145:18-19). God has given us numerous examples of imprecatory prayers, showing repeatedly that one aspect of a godly man’s attitude is hatred for God’s enemies and fervent prayer for their downfall and destruction (Ps. 5:10; 10:15; 35:1-8, 22-26; 59:12-13; 68:1-4; 69:22-28; 83; 94; 109; 137:8-9; 139:19-24; 140:6-11). Why then do we not see the overthrow of the wicked in our own time? An important part of the answer is the unwillingness of the modern Church to pray Biblically; and God has assured us: You do not have because you do not ask (James 4:2). —David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance, p. 250.
The Bible urges us to pray for all men, and especially those who are in authority (1 Tim.2:1,2). This includes, of course, a call to pray for the President.
The reasons to pray for the President are straightforward.
First, we are to pray for him because he needs it. The President bears great responsibility, and what he does affects the lives of multitudes. He lives with enormous expectations upon him, but he is still just a man. As James put it, he is a vapor, like the rest of us (Jas.4:14).
The second reason we should pray for the President is because the Lord rules over him. The President bears great power, but that power is limited by the will of God. There is nothing the President can do that does not first pass through the hands of the sovereign Lord of the universe. “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Pr.16:9).
Because the President is a man with human limitations, serving under an all-powerful God, we are to pray for him. But how?
Since we are praying to God for the President, we must resist praying according to our own partisan notions. Instead, we should pray in a way that is consistent with what God has revealed as His will for civil rulers.
Long ago God gave guidance for the kings of ancient Israel which can help guide us in our prayers for our nation’s highest civil leader (Dt.17:14ff).
First, we should pray that the President does not seek to amass power for the state or place his confidence in the state, because the well-being of the nation does not reside here, but in trusting God.
Second, we should pray that the President does not use his office for his own personal profit (or for that of his friends), but that he would flee corruption and humbly remember the duties of his office.
Third, we should pray that the President would read God’s Word every day, so that he would learn to fear God and obey Him in a way that brings blessing to the nation.
Each of these guidelines for prayer are consistent with what the New Testament tells us about the role of a civil ruler: he is to serve as a minister of justice (Rom.13:4).
Note well, he is not a savior, but a servant.
In this regard, we should pray that the President puts principle over politics and serves as one who loves truth and righteousness. We also ought to pray that he would rule in a way that is not merely pragmatic, but takes into account the impact on the generations to come.
We need to pray that the President rules justly toward all, and that this would include “the least of these” (Mt.25:45) – the unborn.
The life and work of the President may appear far beyond the influence of anything that we can do. But this is not true.
The Bible tells us that the kings heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord, and He turns it wherever He wishes” (Pr.21:1).
We may not be able to reach the President. But we can through Christ reach the One who holds his heart in His hands. Let’s pray for the President.