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.
Prayer4Unity was born of the tensions—particularly racial tensions—prominent in the United States. It was created to provide a way for people to seek a positive solution. It was born with the knowledge that “God does not create less than” and the belief that God has a purpose and a plan for each person. We want that God-given purpose and plan to be manifest in our world, in our country, in our communities, in our people groups, in each life.
We are praying for God’s “more than”—we want his “more than” rather than the “less than” we have in everything without Him. So we ask for his “more than,” that His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
We are praying for his “more than” for each person—that each person will have the identity and destiny that He designed for them. We are asking for His purpose and His plan to be fulfilled in each life.
We are praying for his “more than” in our relationships with each other. He calls us to love one another—to love our neighbors as ourselves. “’The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’” (Mark 12:29-31) We have done a poor job–particularly across races and people groups. We are asking Him to come into those areas and to create authentic relationship and help us to love one another in the way He intended.
We are praying for His “more than” for our communities, our states, our nation, our world. God does not do anything by accident. “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.” (Proverbs 16:33). That means that nothing is left to chance. We are asking God to come into all of these places and spaces and for Him to redeem, restore, renew, and revive. “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). We are asking for His presence and His plan in our government, our economy, our leadership, business and industry, in the media–in all aspects of life.
We ask for forgiveness and His help in turning from all of the ways that we have sinned and fallen short of His glory. In what ways have we perpetuated “less than” for ourselves or for others? How has our country done that? How about our communities and people groups? We are asking for forgiveness not just for our own actions but for those of our communities and people groups and nation. For instance, to my knowledge, no one in the history of my family participated in slavery but it is a wicked institution and my people group was primarily responsible–and so I ask God to forgive us. As a people, I don’t know how else to “turn from our wicked ways” and be forgiven than to ask for that forgiveness for the injustices that we see, even if we did not participate directly.
Daniel asked for forgiveness for Israel, for sins in which he had not participated: “’I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws… All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you… Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us… We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” ‘” (See Daniel 9:4-19). Like Daniel, we pray for forgiveness for our sins and healing and redemption of our land.
We forgive each other. We forgive the wrong attitudes, the wrong actions, the wrong words. “Then Peter came to him and asked ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven.’” (Matthew 18:21-22) Forgiving one another for the sins of our fathers and our own sins has to start somewhere. Let it be with us.
We do not seek to substitute our judgment or ideas for God’s. So we do not seek to tell God how to do what we are asking—we just ask and know that He is bigger than any problem and has better ideas than any solution we might devise. Our job is to invite Him in and ask for His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as He has ordained and established it in Heaven.
God does not call us to do what we cannot do and He does not make promises that He will not keep. So when He says “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear them from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14), He makes a specific promise that he will hear our prayers, that he will forgive our sins, and that He will heal our land.