A Prayer for our Nation

This past Sunday at church we sang a hymn that we don’t sing on a regular basis (#621 in the Baptist Trinity Hymnal) that was so appropriate given that this is the week of our national and local elections. There are several key thoughts and truths conveyed in the lyrics that I believe are important for people living in any country to be mindful of as they find themselves concerned about the current political state of their nation or face the uncertainty of an upcoming election. The lyrics are written as a prayer to God:

Great King of nations, hear our prayer, 
While at thy feet we fall,
And humbly, with united cry,
To thee for mercy call.

The guilt is ours, but grace is thine,
O turn us not away;
But hear us from thy lofty throne,
And help us when we pray.

Our fathers' sins were manifold,
And ours no less we own,
Yet wondrously from age to age,
Thy goodness hath been shown.

When dangers, like a stormy sea, 
Beset our country round,
To thee we looked, to thee we cried,
And help in thee was found.

With one consent we meekly bow,
Beneath thy chastening hand,
And, pouring forth confession meet,
Mourn with our mourning land.

With pitying eye behold our need, 
As thus we lift our prayer;
Correct us with thy judgments, Lord,
Then let thy mercy spare.
              - John H. Gurney, 1838

Notice the following ideas in this prayer offered to God by His people:

  • No matter what our current situation or the outcome of an election, it should be a comfort to always remember that, as the King of nations, God is sovereign over all the leaders of the world (Daniel 2:21; Isaiah 40:21-23).
  • We must recognize our need for God’s mercy and come to Him with a heart of humility (II Chron. 7:14).
  • As individuals and as a people, we must bow in repentance and admit our sinfulness and guilt before a holy God, as Daniel (one of the most godly men in the Bible) prayed for his people in Daniel 9.
  • We must keep in mind that, as the righteous Judge of all the earth, it is within His right to judge and punish evil. If He decides to punish us as a nation, we must be ready to accept the chastisement that comes from His hand (Isaiah 11:4).
  • At the same time, we must acknowledge God’s goodness to us in the past. Our nation has been blessed by Him in so many ways, in spite of our unfaithfulness and rebelliousness against Him.
  • We must remember that when faced with troubles such as war, civil unrest, famine, or disease, there is only one place to turn for mercy, help and healing.

As we watch to see what the coming weeks and months hold for the American people, may the Lord turn the hearts of His people to Him in repentance and may they seek to follow Him faithfully in humble obedience to His Word. May He change the hearts of the lost to turn to Him for the first time. And may the Lord be gracious and merciful to us as a nation, even though we are undeserving of it. But above all, may the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified, no matter what happens. Soli Deo Gloria!

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