A Prayer for Independence Day

July 4th, 2003

O Lord, our country is sick.  In so many ways our nation is dying.

Those we trusted to lead us have lied.  Those we looked to for guidance have betrayed.  Selfishness has triumphed over service.  Greed has won over goodness.  Instead of holding sacred the public trust, so many of our leaders have held it in contempt.

Now it is we the people who are left holding the bag and the bill.  We who had put our hope in others have seen that hope shattered while our betrayers escape consequences again and again.

Yet, this is no surprise to You, Lord.  This is no new or novel thing, but has been the story of humanity since we first looked for peace and security in something other than You.  “Sweet the sin; bitter the taste in my mouth” says an old song, and as Your Word itself reminds us, “What has been will be again.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)  And, it is not only our leaders who are at fault, but we ourselves.

What else should we have expected as our mothers sacrificed their children and our fathers played away their responsibility to love and lead?

What else should we have expected as our markets enslaved foreign workers and we happily took advantage of the rock-bottom prices?

What else should we have expected as we trusted government as our provider rather than You, wanted social programs to be our security instead of the Church, and asked legislators to help the poor rather than embracing the responsibility ourselves?

What else should we have expected as we trusted more in the sound bites of politicians than the Scriptures rightly preached, as we sought hope in presidential promises rather than in Yours?

O Lord, You both do justly and love mercy, and Your love allows us to reap what we sow in order that we might learn and grow.

So, help us learn, Lord.

Help us open our eyes and see what we’ve done so that we may turn back to the ways of righteousness and peace.  Not some fantasy of a state ruled by religion, but a free and fair people who truly desire good for all and who are free to seek and find You not out of coercion, but conviction, not out of national habit but personal need.

However deep these waters of social, political and economic unrest may be, do not let us drown, Lord, but neither let us hold our own heads above the waves.  Baptize us, Father, in whatever depths we need in order to purify us from these idols we’ve embraced.  Then restore us, Lord, for in Your hands alone is the power of glorious resurrection.

For Your Glory,
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

-Pastor Phillip