A Prayer for the Nation

by Derrick G. Jeter

I’m not usually given to extravagance in language or outlook on life. Oh, I’ve been known to embellish a personal story or two, a privilege I claim as a Texan, but never when it comes to historical facts or to my abiding love for America. I believe, however, that we are facing difficult times for our nation—that our liberties are in grave danger of being eroded away at a precipitous rate, especially if the United States Congress, on March 21, 2010, passes the healthcare reform bill. The president and (it appears) a majority of the Democratic members of the House of Representatives, in their hellbent push to be “historic” and to “fundamentally transform” our nation, have turned a deaf ear to the overwhelming voice of the people not to pass comprehensive healthcare legislation. Thousands have shown up in protest on the National Mall and on the steps of the Capital. The Capital switchboard has been jammed for days from the 100,000 calls-an-hour demanding that Congress listen to the people. Yet, Congress continues to pretend not to hear our pleas; and this after contentious townhall meetings last summer and the rise of the Tea Party movement.

But this is nothing new for governments that have overgrown their bounds of power. A similar deafness plagued the British Crown at the beginning of our nation. This from the voice of Patrick Henry:

We have petitioned—we have remonstrated—we have supplicated—we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition. . . . Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional . . . insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne.[1]

And from Thomas Jefferson’s pen: “We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”[2]

I have been known to repeat from time to time the old maxim: “Trust God, but keep your powder dry.” Well, we’ve kept our powder dry—the people have spoken loud and long on the issue of socialized medicine. Now, all that is left to us is trust in God, to petition the Sovereign Ruler over all nations. And so, I’ve written a prayer for our nation. If you like it, adopt and pray it, and then send it to your family and friends.

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Our God and Father,

Two hundred plus years ago our fathers suffered under the heavy hand of a government hardened to the pleas of her people. They therefore dedicated themselves to the proposition that all men are divinely endowed with certain immutable rights. So dedicated were they to this proposition they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to secure those rights.

Our fathers understood that no nation may rise without the sovereign hand of divine Providence. And that any nation may be put down according to Your will. They therefore, with firmness, relied upon Your Providence in the endeavor to secure those rights by breaking the bands which bound them to a government deaf to their cries.

We now, the heirs of their sacrifice, confess that we have long failed to rely on Your protection and aid in maintaining those rights. We now confess that we have forgotten the Author and Giver of those rights, and have, instead, believed the lie that rights come from government fiat. We now confess that our selfish claims to that which are not rights have violated those divinely ordained rights—that we have granted our government the unchecked capacity to destroy the right to Life for innocent millions; that we have surrendered to our government the authority to abridge our right to Liberty; that we have allowed our government the sovereignty to infringe upon our right to private property, the Pursuit of Happiness. All of this we do now confess.

Now, our Father, we acknowledge that on the cusp of an historic vote we need Your aid and protection. Our elected officials have chosen to stand on a cliff which might well cast our nation into an economic abyss and do further damage to those divine rights for generations to come. They have hardened their hearts and deafened their ears to the pleas of the people to back away from that cliff. We acknowledge that the hearts of rulers and authorities are like streams of water in Your hands; You turn them wherever You will. We therefore call upon You to turn their hearts.

Lest this nation become a byword in the annals of history, our God and Father, we now humbly plead for Your divine Providence. Without it this nation will not long last as the land of liberty. But with it, we will continue as the home of the brave and the land of the free.

With a firm reliance on Your divine Providence, we pray. Amen.

[1] Patrick Henry, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” March 23, 1775, in The Life of Patrick Henry, rev. ed., William Wirt (Philadelphia: Desilver, Thomas & Co., 1836), 140.

[2] Thomas Jefferson, “The Declaration of Independence,” July 4, 17776, http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html (accessed March 20, 2010).

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