As we approach the November 2010 national elections in the United States of America, I have written a prayer for our nation. To do so is to keep in step with our founding forefathers and mothers who treated elections as great moments of spiritual renewal and possibilities. Churches were often filled to hear “election day sermons” from clergy whose job it was to point the people to their God-given responsibilities. They encouraged their congregations to cast the ballot for those who would most nearly preserve the blessings of a God-given freedom that contributed to national morality, economic health, and protection against enemies foreign and domestic.
I have no other motivation in this prayer but that God would bestow His very blessings on the people of this nation in this our great hour of need. I make this prayer not as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, nor as merely the servant of a great theological seminary, nor as an officer and chaplain in the United States Army Reserves, all of which I am. No, I make this prayer as one believer filled with a foreboding sense that unless God comes down and moves among us in these days, we will not escape judgment and we will not know the divine covering that we need to endure the war against us: both the real warfare that is taking our sons and daughters from without, as well as the spiritual warfare that is destroying us from within. Yet for the demonstration of God’s mercy and grace in days past, I make this prayer with absolute confidence that God hears and answers. I pray with great optimism for the future, for it is surely a future in the hands of a sovereign and just God.
Let us pray.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who guards, protects and governs all of Creation with perfect oversight, unfathomable grace and unapproachable justice and righteousness; Thou, whose ultimate gift of protection for our lives, grace abounding for our souls, and divine justice for our sins was given through Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior; we come to Thee before this coming election day in our nation, the country Thou hast given unto us, even the United States of America.
We recall, O Father, how so many of our founders cried out to Thee as one people for Thy blessing and how their prayers were answered with Thy providence and favor. Yet we confess with pierced and mourning hearts our own sinful negligence and lackadaisical attitudes towards sin and Hell, holiness and Heaven, that we have not come to Thee as we ought. We remember how our forefathers and mothers covenanted together for the sake of the Gospel of Thy Son. We recall how they consecrated their lives and fortunes to Thee for the advancement of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth, and how they did not count suffering something to be avoided for the sake of all righteousness. In our memory of those men and women of God, our fathers and mothers in the faith, and given that these, our spiritual forebearers prayed for us, their posterity, to keep the Gospel, and to bring that godly influence to this nation, we plead for Thy forgiveness. Forgive us of our private, personal, corporate and national sins before Thee, O Christ! Where have we to go but to Thee? What chariot or horse, what army or navy, however brave and honorable, can deliver us from our enemies, but Thee, O Father? In what economic power can we boast before the living God, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and who will not put up with our ingratitude forever?
Yet in Thy eternal mercy through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, be our fortress and shield, O Lord! Protect us from national catastrophes and the terror that would seek to strike at the heart of our people. Remember our weak frame, O Lord, and remember the blood and righteousness of Thy Son, O Father, and preserve this nation. Preserve us through the means that Thou hast ordained for our governance: through the power of the sword given to the armed services of this nation. Therefore, in remembering this provision, we are bound to pray for the soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen, and Marines of this country that Thou hast made great before the world. We also are bound to pray for all policemen and firemen, doctors and nurses, lawmen and representatives of the court, first responders to life, health and property, and all who risk their lives for the sake of common grace and common good. Bless them, O Lord, with their families, and cause them to know the applause of heaven over such humanity that imitates Thy grace and protection, even as they would know the gratitude of a thankful nation.
O Lord, we also lift up those who serve our nation in elected offices. These are “ministers” doing Thy work and deserving our honor and obedience and our prayers. Guard the lives and bless the families of our President, Barak Obama, and of our Vice President, Joseph Biden. Keep the Speaker of the House and the leader of the Senate in Thy perfect care. Strengthen our justices and the courts of our land. Bless that noble institution for good with wisdom from on high. Guard their lives, O Father. Give them wisdom. Give them wise counselors who are under the influence of Thy Word. Strike from our government thoughts and ideas that are contrary to Thy Word and overrule our folly through whatever means is best for our elected leaders and our people.
Do bless also our people, O Christ. Help us to recall our heritage as people seeking to replicate the government we find in Thy sacred Word, that of self-governance. Remind us of how Your people, O Lord, were governed by elders and deacons elected by the people. Remind us how the people were to choose only those who cultivated and exhibited noble and holy lives in both their personal and professional undertakings, as far as one was able to do so by Thy grace. We desire such representatives, O Lord! Grant that we, the people, may exercise wisdom, discernment, and seriousness of mind as we cast our ballots for these, our representatives. Give us candidates from among the people who have the people’s best interest at heart and not their own. Keep us from wolves in sheep’s clothing, who would devour the people’s wealth, the people’s creativity, the people’s independence, and the people’s God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness through unwise and hurtful laws. Grant that in keeping away such self-serving public officials, we may be blessed with a renewed trust in the people’s government and, thus, a renewed esteem for the offices of public service that, according to Thy Word, deserve to be held in great honor.
Give us an election day, this November 2010, O Lord, in which we may rejoice in righteousness, be astounded by true humility in the lives of those who are elected, and be encouraged by the humbled hearts of those who are removed from office or denied office by the vote of the people. Bless this Election Day, O God. We in America need Thee more than ever. We have learned that we have nothing apart from Thee. We are humbled before the nations and before the throne of Heaven. Have mercy, O God. Have mercy, O God. Have mercy and send Your Spirit even in these days of national election.
Remember the covenants of our mothers and fathers, O Lord, who prayed that this nation would be used of Thee for the advancement of the Gospel. Remember their prayers and now hear the prayers of their children as we cry out before Thee for genuine revival! Thou didst send a powerful movement of Thy Holy Spirit in the Church before the days of the Revolutionary War when we were given Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield and countless other faithful ministers and godly people. When we were at war among ourselves, during the War Between the States, both sides encountered an outpouring of Thy Spirit. So now, O God, in this time when radical religious madmen aim to decapitate our nation, kill innocent people, and destroy a way of life that leads to peace; and when our own sin eats away at our core as an unseen but real and deadly virus, visit us, astonish us, and humble us with a magnificent display of Thy glory. Let the Church know of the power and presence of the resurrected and reigning Lord Jesus Christ. May souls be saved and lives be transformed through the faithful exposition of the Word of God by dedicated ministers called out and prepared by Thee. Bless us with a spirit of prayer, not only for ourselves, but also especially for those who do not know Thee. Make us once more a nation of missionaries, O Christ. Let us humbly learn from Thee among the nations of the global east and south who are experiencing Thy divine visitation and then join with them in the march to evangelize the world. Let us renew our commitment to the Covenant of Grace so that we may once more hate sin and love Thy law, extinguish the raging fires of sensuality in our culture, and regain that godly disposition of reverence and modesty in our relationships. Let us drink of Thy grace that we may draw from thy holiness. For the sake of the very preservation of this nation, grant us grace to know genuine nobility in our men, heavenly virtue in our women, and sweet innocence in our children.
Thus we pray, O Father, not for a party spirit but for Thy Spirit. We pray not for a victory that leads to good for some, but a victory that leads to good for all. We pray for a government that exults in what is right before Thee and unleashes the people in a creative marketplace where all to which we put our hands glorifies Thee! We pray for a victory that leads to true freedom for all men and a new sense of refreshment that will bring us to the “old paths” of faithfulness to Thee.
Lord God, our heavenly Father, will You be pleased to pour out Your blessings on America? Bless her as in days past. Bless her for the good of the Gospel and the strengthening of Thy Church. Bless her to be a blessing to the world, and a model of Biblical government that we may lead peaceable lives before Thee and extend that peace, through freedom and mercy and justice, to a world in need. We ask this in desperation, for we have no other Name to go to but to the Name of Jesus, our Lord and our Savior. Amen.