Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Semi-Patriotic Prayer

This should have been posted on July 4th. The thoughts were formulating as early as Memorial Day. On every national holiday, I hear prayers of Thanksgiving for our freedom and the bleesings we have. It is not often that I hear repentance over the wrongs we have committed. I believe that God has blessed and used our country in some special ways. I also believe that he has done it in spite of our wrongs, not because of our righteousness. Here’s my attempt at providing balance in a proposed prayer for a church service on a national holiday.

Dear Sovereign God, who rules over all nations, as citizens of the United States today,

We thank you, Father, for how you have allowed our nation to forge the way in freedom of worship, being a leader in breaking the previously long-standing pattern in Western culture of wars between rival Christian movements.

Forgive us, Lord, for the many years of history where black Americans were restricted and excluded from worshipping freely alongside others.

Forgive us, Lord, for how we have fearfully questioned, attacked and persecuted others because their differing beliefs scared us.

We thank you, Father, for the tremendous economic prosperity that has blessed our land for so long.

Forgive us, Lord, for how we have used so much of that wealth to feed our greed and consumerism and at many times remained ambivalent toward the needs of the world around us.

Forgive us, Lord, for claiming that you had given us a “manifest destiny” to acquire land which became ours by military might and aggression, and built wealth and resources by shedding the blood of Native Americans and those of other nations.

Thank you, Father, for the many Americans who have been generous and servant-minded leaders in fighting poverty and serving in global missions, using wisely the wealth you gave them.

Forgive us, Lord, for how we have toppled leaders and manipulated the fate of entire nations for the sake of protecting our economic and political interests.

Thank you, Father, for how America has become a place where people of all races have many opportunities before them.

Forgive us, Lord, for pushing Native Americans onto reservations and setting them on a course toward generational poverty.

Forgive us, Lord, for the many years where we as a nation pushed black Americans to the margins of society, scorned them, and deprived them of opportunities through unjust oppression.

Thank you, Lord, that we have a voice in government affairs and freedom to express our views and ideas.

Forgive us, Lord, for condoning the murder of millions who never got to use their voices, because their lives were taken before they were born.

Forgive us, Lord, for how the founding of our nation included an act of vandalism aboard a British ship and a rebellion against the governing authorities (which the Bible tells us you established) because of our citizen’s outrage over paying taxes (which the Bible tells us to pay).

Thank you, Father, that your blessings are so much greater than we deserve.

No comments: