Once a month I will pray what we’ll call “A Prayer for the Church” in our Lord’s Day gathering. Periodically I will post this prayer to this blog. The following prayer is adapted from the Prayer for the Church, from Sunday, October 4, 2020.
Father, you have given us a great story. The story we are a part of is incredible, beautiful, and true. We are more than parts of this story you are weaving, but the objects of your personal interest. We pray to you as those whom you have sought and bought. We pray to you, the one true and living God, heaven’s high king. We pray to you though Christ with boldness and confidence because of his blood and righteousness.
We give you thanks for the life of Bill Wood who has passed from this life at almost 96 years old. He looked to you in life, and today he sees Jesus face to face. We thank you for new life that you have given to Andrew and Kerry Redding in the birth of Luna Rose.
We’re a part of your great story, which includes the human story of the world inside which you are working and bringing about your purposes. You ask us to pray for “for kings and all who are in high positions,” and so we pray for our government and our nation.
In the book of Proverbs you instruct us concerning the relationship of our integrity and our welfare. “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways” (Prov. 28:6). “Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall” (Prov. 28:18). These proverbs are true for us personally, and they are no less true for the shared political life of any people.
We pray for the integrity of our government
We give you thanks that we can participate in a constitutional republic. Most of us can’t think of a better arrangement, except of course for life under that perfect rule of Jesus in a world without sin. That day will surely come. But until then we are glad for wise experiments in human government that bring the best out of us and restrain the worst. We are glad for expressions of human government that take into account the twin-reality of human dignity and human sin.
We pray for the integrity of our temporary and earthly arrangement. We pray for our legislative branch that they would fulfill their duty to make laws together. We pray that our laws would respect human dignity and promote righteousness. We pray that the executive branch and our executive, President Trump, would fulfill their responsibility to carry out and enforce the law with impartiality. We pray for the judicial branch that they would carry out their God given and our agreed upon responsibility, not to legislate but to interpret the law under the constitution.
We pray for the integrity of our electoral process
We thank you for a history of clear elections and peaceful transitions. We pray that this election would be clean of fraud and full of confidence. We pray for a process full of honest and energetic debate. We embrace this as a good thing and a unique responsibility. We are grateful for a system inside which we are expected to contribute and listen and persuade and reason and then decide these things together.
We pray also for ourselves, as citizen kings, that we would do our job, as those who delegate power though our electoral process. Where power is abused let us check it and curtail it. Where power is faithfully administered let us support it and maintain it.
We pray for the integrity of our nation
We are a nation of many contradictions. We are one nation, and yet we pit ourselves against one another. We are a nation of laws, and yet we are a people who at times celebrate lawlessness. We are a nation that has broad agreement on the basic human dignity of each person, granted not from the state but from God. And yet we are a nation whose laws have taught and advanced in times past—and thank God no more—the dehumanization of African slaves.
In our own day we are guilty of a sin, dare I say, more egregious than even those atrocities, for our laws teach and promote the dehumanization of innocent unborn children. Oh, we are a callous nation, and we are blind. Open the eyes of our neighbors and open our eyes to tremble at the number of 60 million babies slaughtered. Abortion is not just allowed among us but legally defended, funded, and celebrated. Judge a nation that uses its sword to commit evil and call it good, rather than to punish evil. Remove our leaders who lead us so. See that none are put forward who would celebrate this wickedness.
We pray in all of this for the integrity of Christ’s church
Protect us from making too much of our vote as though it were a religious sacrament in which our identity is bound up with the individuals we elect. Keep us at the same time from making too little of our vote, discounting its real earthly importance for our neighbors.
Above all, while we pray for a process we can trust, we do not put our final trust in any process or prince. We trust and obey you first, for the state is not our god and politics is not our religion. We remember whose we are: we are yours. We remember who we are, a people of a kingdom not of this world. And we remember what we are here to do, to preach, and to spread the unsearchable riches of Jesus. The souls of our neighbors are eternal and precious, and we are here for their sake.
May we take our responsibility as citizens in this world as seriously as it is serious, for there are existential threats all about us. But may we take our citizenship in heaven all the more serious, for eternity is longer than time, our King is more beautiful than any earthly ruler, and his kingdom is surer than this world’s most enduring empires. His empire does not depend on any human movement or calculation or persuasion or vote.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done.
In Christ’s name we pray –