Pray for the Nation

I am writing this before dawn on Inauguration Day. If our parish is a reflection of the general population, half of you are happy and half of you are disappointed. At times like these, I encourage everyone to shift their gaze heavenward. Do not look to the men and women who sit in seats of government. Look to God who sits upon the throne of power.

Our lives are not dictated by the congress, or the senate, or even the president. As Christians, our lives are guided and fulfilled by the presence of God. Think of the first Christians who lived under the Roman Empire. They were unimpressed by an Emperor who declared himself to be a god. They intimately knew the True God. They lived their lives fully, in peace and love. All was joy for them. Even when called to martyrdom, they rejoiced to share in Christ’s sufferings.

During this time, Saint Paul offers us an admonition.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

In the Book of Common Prayer, the first prayer listed is a prayer for those in government.

MOST gracious God, we humbly pray the people of these United States and especially for those in civil government; that you would be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations:

  • to the advancement of your glory
  • the good of your Church
  • the safety, honor, and welfare of your people

that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavors, upon the best and most solid foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and goodness, may be established among us for all generations. These and all other necessities, for them, for us, and your whole Church, we humbly beg in the Name and mediation of Jesus Christ, our most blessed Lord and Savior. Amen

This past weekend we celebrated the feast day of Our Lady of Hope. If you are unfamiliar with the story, Our Lady an apparition in Pontmain France in which the Blessed Mother appeared to children in order to bring the Franco-Prussian War to an end. Her words to the children were, “Keep praying. God will hear you in time. My son always allows himself to be moved with compassion.” On that very night, the general of the Prussian army halted his advance saying, “We can go no further. There is an invisible Madonna blocking the way.” What that story teaches us is this: Victory does not go to the strong. It goes to the one who prays.

As our nation moves into a new administration, we should pray earnestly for all those in authority, not that they should listen to our opinion and follow our agenda, but that we would be able to live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. It is not the job of our government to make things better for us. Rather it is our job to lead our culture into godliness and dignity.

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

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