Below is the pastoral prayer I offered this morning in our worship service at Christ Covenant. Several members of the congregation asked for a copy of the prayer, so I thought I would post it here on my blog. Perhaps it will be edifying to others and can inform the prayers of God’s people.
Gracious heavenly Father, on this day where we celebrate the 245th anniversary of the independence of the United States of America, we come before you to pray for this country.
We give thanks for the many blessings and evidences of divine favor that belong to us in America. We live in what may be the most powerful and most prosperous nation ever on the face of the earth. For hundreds of years, for millions of people from all over the world, this has been a land of hope–the hope of religious freedom, the hope of self-government, the hope of liberty. In the Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers spoke of certain unalienable rights–rights not granted by the government, but given to us by you, our Creator, which our government is obliged to protect.
The United States of America began with the conviction that a nation should be founded upon truth. Not opinions or preferences or feelings, but upon truths. Self-evident truths that remain true no matter the time, the place, or the culture. And central among these truths is the Christian belief that all men are created equal. Made in your image, no one possesses more intrinsic worth for being born rich or poor, male or female, black or white, aristocrat or artisan, financier or farmer. We give thanks for the God-given rights and hard-fought freedoms we enjoy in this country.
And we repent as a people for all the times–past and present–where we have squandered your blessings, where we have not lived up to our national ideals, where we have treated persons equal in your eyes as unequal in ours. Forgive our country for the sins of chattel slavery, Jim Crow, and racism. Forgive us for the legalized killing of the unborn. Forgive us for rampant, brazen sexual immorality. Forgive us for poor memories and hard hearts. Forgive us for our ingratitude, for hardly any people at any time anywhere in the world has had access to as much biblical truth as we have.
We ask for your grace to be shed abroad in our land. We do not deserve your favor. You have made no promise that the United States of America will long endure. And yet, if it be for the good of your heavenly kingdom, would you see fit to deal kindly with this our earthly country.
Give wisdom and humility to the governing authorities. Grant to them the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. Protect those who protect us at home and abroad. Renew in us a desire to love one another and so fulfill the law of Christ. Make us a virtuous people, a courageous people, a reasonable and resolute people.
Frustrate the plans of all those who promote what is false and celebrate what is wicked. Defend the rights of the weak and the cause of those facing injustice.
Give us an appropriate patriotism–giving thanks for the blessings you have poured out on America–without ever trading the riches of the gospel for the thin gruel of mere civil religion.
Strengthen the church of Jesus Christ. Send your Spirit to descend with power upon every Bible-preaching pulpit. Bring true revival to our land–healing our divisions, leading us to repentance, teaching us the truth, and bringing us together to the cross.
For as many more years as you give us as a nation, may we be a land where the truth of Christ is known, the good news of Christ is sent out, and the body of Christ is made strong. We ask, then, in the deepest biblical sense possible, O God, that you would truly bless America.
We pray all this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only King and Head of his church, Amen.