Prayers for America
2nd Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Prayers for America
For this week’s devotional I am offering two prayers, one offered on the occasion of the Inauguration, and the other from our Hymnal.
The first is a prayer offered by my friend The Rev. Marion Aldridge, a Cooperative Baptist minister and pastor of Suber Marshall UMC in Columbia. The second prayer is found in our Hymnal on page 429.
Prayer for Our Nation on the Occasion of the Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
God, our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer,
Ruler of All Nations,
Savior, Deliverer, Judge,
Holy, Holy, Holy
We need understanding.
We have both ignored and refused the Reign of God.
On Earth as in Heaven.
Instead, we hurt one another, seeking
Something smaller, secondary:
My way. Our way.
Where is our love for one another?
Where is our poverty of spirit?
Where is our peacemaking?
Where is our humility?
Where is my humility?
Where is our ability to listen to one another?
Where is our light?
We have been sucked into an unholy contest
Of human wills:
“Here’s what I want!
Here’s what I demand!”
Forgive us as we forgive our enemies.
No, that won’t work.
Forgive us as we forgive.
We pray for grace
And for those with whom we are in conflict
Within our own families, churches, and nation.
We want too much: things, power, money, prestige, security, certainty, bigger, more,
When all we really need is daily bread, water, shelter, work, rest,
And a few loving, intimate relationships.
We don’t need to be in control.
Instead, we need to let go of our willfulness.
We pray, on this day, this week, this year, this decade,
For peaceful transitions of power in our nation.
We pray for the same in our personal lives,
And our communities of faith,
That we be willing to allow new voices to be heard and valued.
That no one can give us dignity or liberty
If our own lives are a moral mess of anger, greed, anxiety, and pride.
That nobody else can make us free
If we are tied in knots internally.
That we would live honorably our small role in the great sweep of history,
That we would have wisdom, courage, and faith,
That our spirits would reflect your Spirit.
Help us to avoid temptation this week especially.
Help us to find quiet places in our hearts and in your creation,
To find peace with you and with others.
Deliver us from chaos and evil.
We pray for our lives to be in step with your will
Where the Real Power and Glory reside
Marion D. Aldridge
Suber-Marshall United Methodist Church Columbia, South Carolina
January 17, 2021
Another prayer that we offer is “For Our Country” found on page 429 in the United Methodist Hymnal. It reads:
“O God, keep our whole country under your protection. Wipe out sin from this land; lift it up from the depth of sorrow, O Lord, our shining light. Save us from deep grief and misfortune, Lord of all nations. Bless us with your wisdom, so that the poor may not be oppressed and the rich may not be oppressors. Make this a nation having no ruler except God, a nation having no authority but that of Love. Amen.
A hymn that also asks God to bless our nation is the beloved “America The Beautiful”. The lyrics say:
O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain; for purple mountains majesties above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed his grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.
O beautiful for patriots dream that sees beyond the years thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears! America! America! God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.
May God bless, protect, and heal us. Amen.