Lord, today we celebrate our nation’s birth. We are grateful for the gift of liberty and freedom, knowing that true freedom is found only in relationship with you.
And yet even as we celebrate, my heart is heavy for our increasingly fractured nation. We splinter along the fault lines between races, economic groups, and political parties. Terrorism and violence are constant threats. Racism and bigotry have found new voices and outlets. And even those who should call us to be our best seem content to demonstrate the worst. We have traded the art of listening for bickering in sound bites and tweets, and the values and faith I cherish are increasingly grounds for derision and scorn.
Come, Lord Jesus.
And yet the promises of your Word hold true.
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 from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Lord, we are so quick to read this verse and start talking about how it applies to them–whoever that group of them might be from where we’re sitting. The godless liberals. The uneducated, hypocritical conservatives. The president, the Congress, and the courts. The media. The entitled millennials. The selfish, the lazy–whoever we can single out, label, and blame.
But this promise didn’t come to them. It came to your people, those who are called by your name. It came to us. To me.
And so today, Father God, I ask for your forgiveness and grace.
Forgive us, Lord.
Forgive us for aligning ourselves more with political parties than with your kingdom and your name. For seeking the advance of a cause rather than the advance of your church. Lord, may we know no other name than the name of Jesus and seek the coming of your kingdom–yours alone.
Forgive us for fearing the other–for dehumanizing and dismissing those who are different. May we become all things to all people, so that by all means we may save some. Let us do this for the sake of the gospel, that we may share in its blessings.
Forgive us for prioritizing comfort over the cross. As we enter into a time when our faith will prove more costly, may we be found worthy of following in the footsteps of our Lord–even down the road of suffering.
Forgive us for believing the lies that possessions can bring us peace, that business and overcommitment are measures of worth, that pornography is a substitute for intimacy, and that the idols of our own making are somehow acceptable in your eyes. Renew our commitment to love, peace, patience, and purity.
Forgive us for substituting argument for conversation and voicing put-downs instead of gentleness and respect. Teach us what it means to speak the truth in love without compromising either.
Forgive us for making worship about our wants instead of your glory. Remind us we sing for the pleasure of an audience of one.
Lord, may we be a people of compassion and grace.
May we proclaim truth–your truth–with your love.
May we be voices for the voiceless, seeking justice for the oppressed.
May we be passionate for your power and presence, rejecting all substitutes the world would have us put in your place.
May we pursue the mission you have put in front of us–proclaiming the gospel to every nation, tribe, and tongue. May we never be satisfied with an unfinished task.
May we seek the honor and renown of your name, not our own.
May we resist compromise and live with conviction.
May we be unified, showing the world what it looks like when your people love.
May we be generous, pouring out the same generous grace you liberally bestowed on us.
May we be people of grace, proclaiming redemption and not condemnation, rejoicing in the message of reconciliation you have entrusted to us.Lord, we humble ourselves before you. We confess our sins. We seek your face. We turn from our wicked ways. Hear our prayers. Forgive our sins and heal our land.Click To Tweet
May your kingdom come and may your will be done among us.
And may we get to see it.
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