O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, we bow before you because, honestly, we have no place else to go. For over 200 years, you exceedingly blessed our nation. The United States of America has been the freest, wealthiest and most opportunistic nation in the history of the world.
But no longer. Lord, we don’t feel blessed today. Frankly, we feel we are under a curse. Maybe we are. In the past six months, we’ve experienced political turmoil, the quarantine and the economic consequences of a pandemic.
Now we are divided down the middle by race, ideology and politics. Family and church members bite and devour one another. There’s so much incivility and downright hatred for each other that we tremble at Jesus’ words, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Heavenly Father, it seems no political leader, no media consultant, no Ivy League educator, no nationally-known religious leader has a practical solution for the ominous problems our nation faces right now. We are like sheep without a shepherd. We are lost and in need of a dramatic rescue. We implore You, our Gentle Shepherd, to come to our aid in this desperate hour. We have nowhere else to turn. Lord, we really need you!
We thank you that you are a God of mercy and grace because we certainly don’t deserve your goodness. We deserve wrath and judgment for our rebellious, arrogant spirits. We confess we’ve failed to be grateful for this favored land. We’ve taken credit ourselves. We’ve been apathetic. We’ve focused on our nation’s flaws. We’ve failed to pass along any sense of stewardship to our children.
We’ve been greedy and prideful. We’ve demanded our rights instead of gladly accepting our responsibilities. We’ve desecrated the family, killed our unborn, discriminated by race and class, and attempted to excommunicate You from our land. We’ve trusted in political parties instead of trusting in You.
Your word says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,” but also, “The wicked shall be cast into hell and all nations that forget God.” So why should we be surprised that a national malaise has swept over our land?
We scratch our heads in disbelief that our leaders not only lack Godly wisdom but seem to have lost all common sense. We’re stunned at how quickly our precious right to freedom of speech has been stripped away and our churches closed. Our nation is in turmoil. We all know something is drastically wrong, but honestly don’t know what to do about it.
That’s why we come to you, Lord. We have no place else to go. Would you hear the prayers of an unworthy remnant of Your people who are together crying out to You? Humble us! Heal us! Unite us! Revive us! We plead for a dramatic movement of your Spirit.
Like that mighty wind that parted the Red Sea and liberated the Israelites from certain death, would you once again provide a miraculous way out? We are so limited in our understanding that we can’t imagine what needs to happen. But you, O Sovereign Lord, are omniscient and omnipotent. Nothing is impossible with you! You alone have the words of eternal life. So, we cry out to you to for the sake of our children and our children’s children, to make us one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
O God, our help in ages past
Our hope for years to come
Our shelter from the stormy blast
And our eternal home
Under the shadow of thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure
Sufficient is Thine arm alone
And our defense is sure
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Bob Russell is retired senior minister of Southeast Christian Church and founder of Bob Russell Ministries.