by Lead Pastor Chad Allen
Today is our nation’s presidential inauguration day, and thousands of Christians will affirm the need to lift up our nation in prayer in this significant moment, especially in the midst of such a disheartening and volatile political environment. But how should we pray? Themes will revolve around peace for our nation, wisdom for our leaders, trust in God, healing for our land, and many other good and needed themes. But today, I found myself also thinking of the moment when a disciple of Jesus asked Him to teach them how to pray.
The prayer life of Jesus fascinated His followers. Jesus prayed with precision, intimacy, power and insight like no other. Of course He did, He is God in the flesh. But we too have the ability to pray like Jesus did, because if we are in Christ, we are God’s children with an intimate relationship with God the Father, through His Son and in the power of His Spirit. SO, we too can pray with precision, intimacy, power and insight as well. So how do we harness that kind of prayers for our nation? Well, let’s go to the pace where Jesus responded to the request on how to pray and then apply them to our prayers for the United States.
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” Luke 11:1–4 (ESV)
This, as well as the other example of prayer gave us in Matthew 6:9-13 often called, “The Lord’s Prayer”, is not intended to be a collection of words and phrases that we memorize and then repetitiously and religious recite. It was a template that Jesus gave as an example on how to approach God the Father and what type of themes we can pray around. So, let’s look at how we can apply these verses to praying for our nation.
“Father, Hallowed be your name” –
Father, Your name alone is holy. There is no other name that deserves the honor and reverence that Yours does. We do not lift up any name above Yours. We do not put our hope and trust in the name of any person in governmental authority. No man or woman is like you are – holy, righteous, sovereign, just, loving, merciful and gracious. So today Father, even though we pray for the hearts, minds and wills of our leaders, we do so with the complete belief and awareness that Your name is supreme, and that Jesus Christ is the name above all names on heaven and on earth. No matter what names are in the headlines or what faces dominate our screens, may You find our faith, hope, trust, adoration and reverence for Your name without comparison or rival.
“Your kingdom come” –
Hundreds if not thousands of human kingdoms and empires have risen and fallen over humanity’s history. Looking back, we see how foolish it is to wrap our identity, worth, value or hope in our nation. We even admit that we can’t remember many of the issues that we seemed so passionate about just a few years ago, let alone decades. What a reminder that it is Your kingdom that is active now, that is coming fully and finally in the near future and that it is Your kingdom that will stand forever. Our heart’s greatest desire is for Your rule over the hearts and lives of people everywhere to continue to advance until Jesus returns and establishes the kingdom in complete perfection. Father, please daily remind us that we are citizens of your kingdom first. May we be found exceedingly guilty of putting You and Your kingdom above all other interests in our lives. May Your kingdom, and that which reflects and advances Your kingdom be the first priority of our hearts.
“Give us each day our daily bread” –
It is Your hand oh Father that provides. All our needs are met in You alone. You use education, employment, government and the generosity of others to provide our most essential needs and resources. Help us never to confuse who’s in charge and from Whom all resources flow. We are grateful to live in a country that has the means to help those who need it, but we acknowledge that even that ability originates from Your hand. So, Father help us not to fear, and not to stress about the One who provides our daily needs. Find us grateful and thankful each day for what You allow us to have and how you creatively provide it.
“and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us”” –
We are grateful that we are forgiven in Christ, and we acknowledge the value in continuing to agree with You, through confession to You, that when we drift into sinful attitudes and behaviors, it displeases You, hurts others, erodes our intimacy with You, and negatively impacts our credibility with those who do not Know You. We confess that we have failed You in the areas above:
- We confess that we have had moments where we put more trust in an incoming our outgoing President’s name above Yours. We confess that we have been guilty of speaking confidently about a man or woman in authority in a way we should have been speaking about Your name. Please forgive us.
- We confess that we have been found guilty of investing more words, energy, conversations and passion into a fading earthly kingdom rather than your now present and ever-coming eternal kingdom. We confess that thoughts we have thought, words we have said, and posts we have written have made us more of an evangelist for a human leader and for our country than and evangelist for the One who gave up His life for our sins and has secured a place for us in His kingdom. Please forgive us.
- We confess that we are quick to be discontent, greedy, consumeristic, and worldly. We confess how quickly we forget how even in our most impoverished state as an American, we are among the wealthiest in the world. We confess that our understanding between a “need” and a “want” has been blurred. Please forgive us
- Father, we confess that we have hurt others with our words and opinions, both our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and those who need You. We have been guilty of division, disunity, and earthly mindedness. We are so grateful for the forgiveness of Christ and His blood that covers these sins. Help us to repent, apologize and initiate and purse healing and reconciliation where needed because you have called us to a ministry that reconciles not injures.
“and lead us not into temptation” –
Father, You take no delight in our sins, or in the temptations that lead us to sin. We know that today we will be tempted to sin in word and in deed, in thoughts and in actions. We know that today there are unique landmines of temptation that await us, and which will detonate into hate, discouragement, fear or other sinful attitudes and behaviors. Father, let us see the way out that you provide with each temptation as You have promised. Help us to not yield to the sinful invitations of today. May the peace, hope, rest, joy and confidence that we have I Christ rule our hearts and minds this day.
I pray in the mightiest name, Jesus Christ, Amen!
I encourage you to take five to ten minutes and read the Luke 11:1-4 passage and pray through this prayer, not necessarily word for word, but theme by theme, thought by thought. Make it your own. Personalize it. Lean into it. And on this day, when we hope and pray for a peaceful day for our nation, may your prayer time alone, or with others, refresh and fix your hope and trust in Christ no matter the highs and lows our nation goes through.