bless our nation
and make it true
to the ideas of freedom and justice
and brotherhood for all who make it great.
Guard us from war,
from fire and wind,
from compromise, fear, confusion.
Be close to our president and our statesmen;
give them vision and courage,
as they ponder decisions affecting peace
and the future of the world.
Make me more deeply aware of my heritage;
realizing not only my rights
but also my duties
and responsibilities as a citizen.
Make this great land
and all its people
know clearly Your will,
that they may fulfill
the destiny ordained for us
of the nations,
and the restoring of all things in Christ.
How do we pray for our country and its leaders, current and future? Does our vote really matter? And for whom do we vote? Can we or our prayers help turn the tide of our nation? If you’re seeking answers for any of these questions, here’s a prayer that might help!
Lord God, we desperately need your wisdom. You have given us a great country, founded on principles and truths from Your Word. We need men and women who will honor You, trust You, and lead us once again back to You. We pray for servant leaders who love the things You love and who care more about others than themselves.
Give us leaders with discerning hearts, bold faith, and wise minds that model Your character. Teach them—and us—not just what is good, but what is best. Guide them in the way our country should go. Give them purity in their intentions, and godliness in their convictions. Energize their spirits and bodies physically and spiritually, and keep them emotionally secure in the knowledge of who You are—and whose they are. Help them to be bighearted and sincere, energetic in goodness, and courteous in their manners.
Raise up leaders with the greatest potential of godly leadership, those who can ease confusion, expose illusion, and heal delusion. You alone hold the power to turn the hearts of leaders, but You listen and use our prayers to move them into right action. Help us to be faithful to care and to pursue Your heart in prayer.
Help our leaders to be quick to admit failure, but ready to rebound in persistent resilience. Encourage them to choose wisely, and when they don’t know what to do, help them keep their eyes on You. Let them take a firm stand on issues that truly matter to You, regardless of the consequences or approval ratings. Make them God-pleasers, not puppets; leaders filled with conviction, not corruption.
As a nation, God, help us to desire righteousness more than rights, and to mirror sacrifice more than selfishness. You know us well, and You understand our flaws. Turn those weaknesses into strengths; bathe us with Your grace and mercy, though none of us deserve it. Fill us with the boldness to choose the kind of freedom that will benefit all, rather than a few. Open our eyes to see others as You do—with godly potential and value. But help us, too, to recognize our own pride in trying to elevate ourselves and others above You and Your purpose for our lives.
We need, You, God. Oh, how we need You! You have exercised nothing but faithfulness and fairness in Your treatment of our country, even when we’ve turned our back on You and forgotten Your goodness to us. Your discipline at times is hard, but You are just. Your purpose is always to draw us close to You, to bless us, and to make us a great nation who honors You. You are a good, good, Father—and Your love for us has a proven track record.
Forgive us for wanting our own way and making our own paths—often the ones paved with least resistance. Forgive us for fence-walking, or for ignoring completely the truths that can so easily set us free. Deliver us from mindless quarrels and destinations that lead us nowhere, but away from You. Free us from divisiveness, and melt our hardened hearts to love, not hate, and to heal, not debate.
Our history has cried for king-like leaders who will solve our problems and meet our needs. But there is only one King, and that is You, Lord. We have blindly sought answers from others to life’s unresolved questions through the years, but You are the only wise Counselor. We have longed for peace, but You are the only Peacemaker, and the only Prince of Peace. We’ve clung to our weapons of warfare, not as measures of defense, but as strongholds of selfish pride. We look at outward appearances; You see the heart. With You, nothing formed against us can prosper. Without You, we are nothing.
Make us a great nation, yes. But more than that, make us good, Lord, with a heartbeat that wants every person of every creed and color to know Your love, Your goodness, and Your worth. Make us wise as serpents, but gentle as doves. Turn our fears to faith, as we look to You and You alone for the future of our country. Give us God-confidence that no matter what happens, we will believe You are not only in control, but that You know exactly what is needed to accomplish Your purpose. Help us not to second-guess Your moves, but to move at Your command, always without hesitation.
We look to You and to You, only, Lord. Help us make wise decisions that move our country in the right direction. Help us to do our part in praying and in staying with what we know is right according to the truth of Your Word. Teach us to make our actions count and our words matter, and line them both up to Your sense of rightness, not ours. Guide us with Your eye; grip us with Your strong arm; teach us what we need to know to make our lives—and our nation—count for you. We pray for our leaders, but we ask You to make us both leaders and followers: leading in the way of Truth, and following those who honor You.
In the precious and powerful name of Jesus,
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is an inspirational author, speaker, and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to encourage others heart to heart. She has written 11 books and over 1700 other articles, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. Her daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
Publication date: February 2, 2016
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The following is an entry on using the format of a “prayer” to think about the forthcoming Malaysian elections. I did not have enough time to think hard enough about what I needed to know before voting in the elections. So, I used the format of a “prayer” to throw in all the elements I knew and then struggled with them. In the next blog entry, I explain how prayer helps me think more dispassionately. It is not in the same way that religious people would think it does.
On this the eve of an important turning point in the history of Malaysia, I want to say a prayer. I want to say to that there are many things I do not know and many things that I do not understand. But there is one thing I do hope. That you will be good to the country of my birth.
In a world where strident nationalism should be fading, the function of a country can only be to produce individuals who can be useful to the rest of the world. It is this that I pray for most of all. That my country will be a community of people that brings out the best in each other and make us fit for the world we live in.
It’s a difficult prayer for me, God, because I am not asking for things to go my way. I want things to go your way, but I don’t know what that really means. When the folly of men leads us to cause wars and famines, even there you have been at work, bringing the best out of us amidst the worst in us. So it is with great trepidation that I make this prayer.
This is the country that despite all of its quirks, gave me my existence. This is where I received an education that has equipped me with the skills I can apply in the best of countries anywhere. But most of all, it gave me my identity. No matter where I live or what I do, my country is me.
Help me to be clear about what it is that I should be asking for. The most pressing matter appears to be the general elections this Sunday. The choice between one group of men and women and another. Yet, to say that there is such a thing as a correct choice is to rate the follies of one group of men and women more higher than that of another.
Friends and friends, brothers and sisters, fathers and sons and daughters are split on this matter so much, that we cannot possibly expect you to be on one side and not the other. So, tell me O God, what is it that we can ask for your help on?
It appears to me that the one thing we have achieved together as a nation today is the ability to make a choice. For more than 44 years, we had acquiesced a series of leaders who took away from us that ability to make a choice between good and evil, right and wrong.
I want to thank you for the men and women who had steadily fought against this deception, for themselves and for the rest of us. At first, we treated these men and women as anomalies. Not mainstream. Quirks. Troublesome. Don Quixotes. Because the economy was progressing fine, we were willing to accept the degradation of accountability and integrity by our leaders in exchange for our personal gratification. Forgive me to the extent that I was a part of that culture.
It was only when it became clear to us that our children were going to grow up in a country that was not going to benefit from the dishonesty and deception, that more of us joined the swell of the disgruntled until it became a mainstream unto itself.
I ask you that we will not miss the significance of what we have achieved. It is the ability to make a decision together. It is a great gift that you have given all of us as Malaysians. But God, do not give us this gift without giving us the institutions to uphold them.
The judiciary, the police, the military, the civil service, the schools, the places of worship. They are all tainted. To foolishly think that one or the other political candidate for leadership at this forthcoming elections can lead us into an untainted future is sheer silly. We are a fallen people without the institutions to protect us from ourselves.
Reward the men and women who have shown us what is possible. Four of the states run by people who have chosen the path of integrity and accountability are prosperous and successful against so many odds. They have given us the language to describe the future we want for ourselves. It is possible.
Reward them by taking them to the next level of their work, regardless of the parties they represent. For what is a party but a creation of foolish men and women who have to think that they are better than the other. But integrity and accountability belongs to all. They are the bedrock of any good society.
In assessing the candidates for this year’s election, I do ask you most of all to protect our prime minister. I ask this because we need to remember the limitations of all who desire to be our leaders. He may be the worst of human beings. He may be the best of human beings. You have worked your hand through both, so please work through him in this time of need.
We cannot judge any man by what he says or thinks. We can only judge a man by what he has done. The prime minister too is paying a price for the choices that he has made. For if he fails, his own people will destroy him. So protect him to be able to continue the good changes he has already brought about.
Whatever that collective decision we make this Sunday, may he have the strength of character stay the course that he has started for this election. By doing so, may he continue to be part of the process of re-establishing integrity and accountability, until its completion. Spare no one.
I hope that in praying in this way, I am also preparing myself for whichever way the elections play out. For who am I to say that to pan out one way is to provide hope and to pan out another way is to harbor disaster.
I share this country with such a myriad of people of different ages, religions, languages, education levels, the urban, the rural and even the tribal. I am beneficiary to such a rich heritage that who am I to say that its future should pan out only in the way that suits me? You work in mysterious ways and my job is to trust you.
Forgive me for having thought that ideas like “meritocracy” and “achievement” would give us our future, at the expense of those of my country men to whom these were subservient to other equally important values. We can see clearly now that in the west it has led only to a shameless sense of entitlement and unprecedented personal greed. That is not the country I want us to become.
The truth is that I have never had the answers, any more than a farmer or a fisherman, even if I thought I did. Somewhere between the values of my different countrymen lies the correct answer for us as a whole. May the shared values arise through our continued interaction.
Please give me the humility to wait for that correct answer to work itself out through the choices we make together as a nation, again and again. Each of my fellow countrymen carry some of your truth that I don’t. So, in trusting them, I am trusting you.
What we need most now is not “change”, but healing. We need to be whole again. There will always be people in my country who are wounded, angry and frightened. Regardless of who wins the elections, these will be people who will never be satisfied. So, it is important for our institutions to be strong enough to accommodate the “them” and the “us”.
The disunity amongst us comes from describing our differences in racial terms. It is always the other race that is greedy, selfish, lazy or short sighted. The truth is that all of us have our own sordid shortcomings and uninspiring past. We have failed to believe the best about each other, when as a nation we have become a little like each other.
In all this, I pray that you will restore the confidence and pride of the Malay people. They are our defining race. I can accept this, whether or not it is enshrined in any constitution. The fact that theirs is the only race in the world that is not defined by ethnicity, should have hinted to us how inclusive they have been in the past and can be in the future.
But they have been wounded by the very institutions that were created to protect them. The most fiery of their orators have failed to articulate a future for them that they can genuinely believe in. I want to ask for your healing start with them, and then to reach the rest of us.
Dear God, I do want to thank you for the many brave people, some in the highest of their professions – doctors, lawyers, engineers – who gave up their status, wealth, careers and some even risked their lives to demand that accountability and integrity should define our institutions and our leaders. Few countries will ever come this point that these people have brought us to this week. They are our true heroes in this hour of decision.
As I struggle with all these thoughts, I become less afraid of the decision that I am going to make on Sunday, as I enter the election booth. Less afraid of the decision that is going to be imposed on me on Monday. But more trusting that it is a journey that we go through together.
But having come so far, dear God, please now give us a language that can transcend all elections. Give us leaders who can lift us from the parochial. Breathe life into who we are as a people, so that we will bring out what is best in ourselves and in each other. Dear God, in praying for my country, I am praying for myself. I want to believe in my nation, because I believe in myself. No matter where I live or what I do, there is no way for me to ignore this great moment in my nation’s history. Because of all it has done for me, my nation is me.