From the Archives: A Prayer for Our Church and Our Nation
Note: This post originally was published on January 11, 2021. It has been posted again as a prayer for us during this year’s 40 Days of Prayer. We hope that you are praying along with us through the 40 Days Prayer Guide and praying daily for Your One. Be sure to join us on Monday mornings anytime between 6:15–6:45am for prayer in the sanctuary.
Out of the depths we cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear our voice! May your ears be attentive to the voice of our pleas for mercy!
There is great turmoil in our nation and worry grips our hearts. Like King Jehoshaphat, we confess that we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
And so, God in heaven, we wait. We wait for you. Our soul waits for you, more than watchmen for the morning. We wait for you, and in your word we hope.
We wait for you and we hope in your word because by your word we have come to know who you are. You are the Lord, the I Am, the always-present God of the covenant. You have brought us into this covenant at the cost of your Son, Jesus. And so we have confidence. You who spared not your own Son but gave him up for us all, how will you not also with him graciously give us all things?
Truly you are gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Truly you are good to all, and your mercy is over all that you have made.
We know, O Lord, that the sacrifice you delight in is not a burnt offering, but a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. And so, we confess.
Our nation, O Lord, is in great need. Her sins are many, and her resultant troubles are great. We have followed many other gods, but not the One True God. We have offered up our children on the altar of convenience. We have not protected the least and the most vulnerable. We have abandoned the truth of you for a lie.
We are now filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. We are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. We are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Our nation not only does these things, we celebrate those who practice them.
And therefore, O God, we have no excuse. We your people pass judgment on the nation for these sins, and we often practice the very same things ourselves. We have been guilty of not following you wholeheartedly where you have called us to walk blameless and do what is right, to speak the truth and not slander with our tongue, to do no evil to our neighbor, nor take up a reproach against our friend. We confess our sin of pride and of idolatry, where we have put ourselves and other things before you in our lives. We confess these not as national sins only, but as our sins, the sins of your people. We have not loved you and loved our neighbors as we ought.
We confess, God, because we know that with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. You have told us that for those who confess, you are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Blessed are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! Blessed are those against whom you count no iniquity! You justify us the ungodly through the sacrifice of Christ for our sins. And we praise your name and trust only in your amazing grace.
With you there is forgiveness that you may be feared, so make us into a people who fear your name, who live in the fear of the Lord. May we keep your Great Commandment. May we love you with all our heart and all our soul and all our might. May we love our neighbors as ourselves.
Turn our hearts to desire you alone, so that we would seek you earnestly, in our souls thirsting for you as we would for water in a dry and weary land. Show us your power and your glory, and remind us anew this year that your steadfast love is better than life, and may we praise you and bless you and lift up our hands to you as long as we live.
Incline our hearts to your testimonies, O God, and not to selfish gain. Turn our eyes from looking at worthless things and give us life in your ways.
In our life together, lead us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as you in Christ forgave us.
We confess our sins, trust in your forgiveness, and desire to live godly lives in response, and we pray for our nation.
We pray that our nation would seek you while you may be found, that the people of our nation would call upon you while you are near. May the wicked forsake their way, the unrighteous forsake their thoughts. Send us to our neighbors with the gospel, and shine the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ into their lives, that they may turn to you, so that you may have compassion on them, for you will abundantly pardon. May our heart toward our lost neighbors be that of Jesus, who came to seek and save the lost.
And with the many trials that we face, may we not be surprised at trials in this world. You have told us to expect them. If we share Christ’s sufferings, if we are insulted for his name, may we rejoice and know that we are blessed. Whatever our suffering may be, may we not be ashamed but glorify you. And in all of it, keep us entrusting our souls to you, our faithful Creator, and keep us doing good even as we endure the trials that we face, for we know that you are our hiding place. You preserve us from trouble. You surround us with shouts of deliverance.
In light of that, we ask that you make us into a people who can truly say with the psalmist, though an army encamp against us, our hearts shall not fear; though war rise against us, yet we will be confident. We believe that we shall look upon your goodness in the land of the living! And so we wait. Make us strong, and give courage to our feeble hearts, as we wait for you. Amen.
from Psalm 130:1–2; 2 Chronicles 20:12; Psalm 130:5–7; Psalm 145:8–9; Psalm 51:16–17; Romans 1:25; Romans 1:29–32; Romans 2:1; Psalm 15:1–3; Psalm 130:4; 1 John 1:9; Psalm 32:1–2; Romans 4:5; Deuteronomy 6:4–5; Luke 10:27; Psalm 63:1–4; Psalm 119:36–37; Luke 19:10; Ephesians 4:32; Isaiah 55:6–7; 2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Peter 4:12–19; Psalm 32:7; Psalm 27:3; Psalm 27:13–14
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.