As individuals we continually invoke the name of the Lord whenever we are in trouble. Our nation is no different than we the individuals that make her who she is. President Eisenhower said: “America is great because she is good, and when she ceases to be good she will also cease to be great.” May our nation continue to honor and give place to the Lord our God and may our Almighty God continue to keep our nation great. We as a nation have taken pride in ourselves in our history and our national traditions. In the wake of all the recent civil upheaval around our great country, we as a people need to fall back upon that which we have found historically works. I am not speaking of military action, but prayer. Calling on the name of the Lord in the time of trouble.
Our first President, George Washington prayed the following during his presidency:
“Almighty God, Who has given us this land for our heritage, we humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will.
Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord and confusion; from pride and arrogance and from every evil way. Defend our liberties and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.
Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations on the earth.
In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness and in the day of trouble; suffer not our faith in Thee to fail. All of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
If we all could pray George Washington’s prayer from our hearts as a nation, the troubles of every description across our country would cease, as we would become ONE united people.
On the eve of Attorney General John Ashcroft’s installation as U.S. Senator from the state of Missouri he asked for prayer from family and close friends that were gathered around him that night in Washington, D.C. He said, “It's too bad we don’t have any oil. In the Bible, David and Saul were anointed as they each undertook their duty as king of Israel, as were some leaders in the early church.” He had adopted that practice of being anointed prior to each of his terms as governor.
“Let’s see if there’s some in the kitchen,” his father suggested.
A friend went into the kitchen and returned with a tiny bowl of Crisco oil. John Ashcroft knelt in front of the sofa where his father was seated, and everyone gathered around him. He noticed his father swinging his arms, trying to lift himself out of the couch. Given his father’s weakness, a damaged heart operating at less than one-third capacity, getting out of that couch was a major feat.
John said, “I felt terrible”. Knowing his dad didn’t have strength to spare, he said, “Dad, you don’t have to struggle to stand and pray over me with these friends.”
“John,” his father answered, “I'm not struggling to stand, I’m struggling to kneel.” John Ashcroft was sworn into the Senate on January 4, 1995. His father died the next evening. Today our nation is struggling to kneel in the presence of the Almighty.
President George W. Bush said:
“I have also learned the power of prayer. I pray for guidance. I do not pray for earthly things, but for heavenly things, for wisdom and patience and understanding. My faith gives me focus and perspective. It teaches humility.
But I also recognize that faith can be misinterpreted in the political process. Faith is an important part of my life. I believe it is important to live my faith, not flaunt it. America is a great country because of our religious freedoms.
I have traveled our country and my heart has been warmed. My experiences have reinvigorated my faith in the greatness of Americans. They have reminded me that societies are renewed from the bottom up, not the top down. Everywhere I go, I see people of love and faith, taking time to help a neighbor in need... These people and thousands like them are the heart and soul and greatness of America… I believe America must seize this moment. America must lead. We must give our prosperity a greater purpose, a purpose of peace and freedom and hope. We are a great nation of good and loving people. And together, we have a charge to keep.”
I believe that we can read a comforting passage from the Word of God that can be applied to us as Americans at this time. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
We must all continue to pray for our nation, our leaders and those who have lost loved ones in the tragedies in our cities across our land. ALL lives matter and are important to God. We must pray for ourselves, our family and our friends as well as for all the peoples of our nation, who reside outside of our sphere of knowing who they are. Continue to pray for our military which even now are in harm’s way around the globe for the protection of the rest of us. May God continue to bless America!
Brad Morris, a retired minister, originally from Georgetown, served as a pastor and then as a missionary in Costa Rica and Ecuador, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He has been in ministry for 50 years and a columnist for 17 years, 13 of which have been for the Times.