A prayer for our country - a message from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan
January 23, 2017
A message from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan
The attention of the nation and the world was focused on our country during last week's inauguration ceremony, and I invite you to join me in reflecting on this event in three ways.
First, consider the Social Principles found in the Book of Discipline. These principles represent a prayerful and thoughtful effort to speak to the issues of human life from a sound Biblical foundation expressed in Wesleyan theology and practice. With respect to “The Political Community,” for instance, there is this statement: “While our allegiance to God takes precedence over our allegiance to any state, we acknowledge the vital function of government as a principal vehicle for the ordering of society.”
Every four years Inauguration Day reminds us that government has a decisive role to play in ordering our society. We pray for our government and participate in it because, in the words of The Social Principles, “we know ourselves to be responsible to God for social and political life.”
Second, among the many ways to be involved in the governance of our nation let us consider Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:13-16: “You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world.” Within my notes saved over the years there is this quote: “The church is sown into the fallen world as salt, and the preservative power for the sin-corrupted world is in the intercessions of God’s people.” May the inauguration serve as a fresh call to United Methodist Christians that our nation needs the salt and light found in the followers of Jesus Christ. May our intercessions include prayer that empowers us to speak and act with the salt and light of the Gospel.
Finally, while there are no doubt many specific prayers being offered for a wide range of concerns, I found this prayer to be especially helpful and wanted to share it with you (author unknown):
O righteous ruler of the universe:
We give you thanks for the heritage and hope
of our own country,
as people in every place give thanks for their own homelands.
When, as a nation, we walk in your way,
grant us grace to continue in your will.
When, as a people, we fail you,
correct us, gently yet without compromise.
Enable those who govern us to seek the welfare
not only of ourselves
and of all people who share this planet with us
but also the welfare of our children and our children’s children,
that they may share the gifts we treasure,
that they may dwell in unity and without fear
from generation to generation.