You can listen to this week’s Devotional here
Author: David Skaggs
Former U.S. Rep. David Skaggs offered this prayer on July 3, 2022, as part of our worship service celebrating Independence Day. The prayer still rings true and is applicable today – Election Day 2024.
May we join in prayer for the country.
We embrace a country founded by believers and agnostics, by Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and others: they all sought inspiration and purpose drawn from a Creator.
In these troubled times, we seek inspiration and purpose and hope for our country.
The country is but a gathering of human beings, with all that entails – good and evil, enlightenment and darkness, idealism and mendacity. The country, and we, are engaged in the persistent struggle for our virtues to prevail.
There is much that is deeply upsetting. In the face of so much that is unprecedented and outrageous, how do we nurture a proper level of outrage? Help us to give our outrage civil expression. Help us also to save our outrage from exhaustion.
Tomorrow, we celebrate Independence Day, the beginning of the path to freedom for the people of the United States. Yet, sadly, we have endured a time when so many Americans – women, people of color, especially – have had their freedom restricted.
Religious liberty – the vision of Madison and Jefferson – erodes even under Court approval.
May we protest and resist these gradual erosions of freedom – rationalized under a patina or pretext of constitutionalism.
As we profess the founding principles of human dignity and liberty, we must understand that the protection of these values and principles is a matter for politics. We do not have the luxury of avoiding politics. We must embrace the responsibilities of informed citizenship.
We are a country necessarily borne through violence, and later necessarily reborn through violence. Help us now to reject violence as an answer to the political grievances and divisions which plague us.
We pray for our leaders. We so need them to hear and to speak truthfully. From and to each other. May they be seized by an urgency for compromise – by a recognition that our revered Constitution demands – can only function – through compromise.
We pray for our courts and judges, that they may truly see and apply and explain the law.
We pray for the Congress, that our representatives seek a greater national interest, freed from the tyranny of party and reelection.
We pray for the president, that he may fulfill his singular responsibility to all Americans.
May all our leaders understand the fragility of this ancient democracy and protect it. Its future is not guaranteed. But through democracy we can hope to make progress toward mutual respect, toward honoring the humanity of each person, toward fulfilling our better nature.
Faced with often grim circumstances, may we remain hopeful. Hope is a balm; pessimism a poison.
So, hear again the plea of the hymn that began this service:
Cure your children’s warring madness; bend our pride to your control;
Shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul.
Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore;
Let the gift of your salvation be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour.