Friday, 1 July 2016

A National Prayer for the Fourth of July

A National Prayer for the Fourth of July
for Three Choral Readers
Rev. James M. Leonard, PhD

Preamble (Unison)
Our Father who holds the destiny of nations in your hands, we thank you for the way you have guided our pilgrim forebearers and founding fathers in establishing our country. We recognize that we have not always been faithful followers, and we confess our national sins and failures. We ask that you renew our commitment to the Christian principles behind our nation’s founding so that our society would be free to pursue your calling, so that we may be a blessing to all the neighboring countries of the world.

#1 Our Land
Father, we praise you for our beautiful country, that it is blessed beyond measure in resources and natural wealth. We confess that there have been times that we’ve taken our land for granted, that we have sometimes abused it and harmed our environment. We thank you that much has been done in recent years so that we usually have plenty of clean air to breath and clean water to drink. We pray that you would help us be good stewards of our land.

#2 Our Freedom
Father, we praise you that we live in a country that cherishes freedom, that our forefathers recognized that you endowed all people with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and to pursue the life to which you call us. We thank you for those who have served to defend these freedoms, and we pray that we would live lives worthy of their sacrifice. We confess that we ourselves have often abused these freedoms and have sometimes denied them to others. Forgive us of such sins. We pray that you would preserve these freedoms for our children, and for our children’s children, so that they too may pursue the life to which you call them.

#3 Our International Relationships
Father, we thank you for granting to us an auspicious status in world affairs. We tremble at such a weighty status, knowing that we will be judged according to the way that our nation conducts its international policies. We thank you for our past international accomplishments that have paved the way for a more peaceful world. We ask forgiveness for our nation’s self-serving meddling that has led to hardships in other countries. In our efforts to preserve the interests and security of our fellow American citizens, we pray that you would teach us how to be good to our world-wide neighbors. Make us a channel of blessing, a beacon of light, and a city set on a hill for all the nations of the earth to emulate.

Conclusion (underscored by organ playing the hymn)
#1 God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

#2 Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast;
Be Thou our ruler, guardian, guide and stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

#3 From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Unison: Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never-ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,

And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.

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