Today is Independence Day in America. For those of you living outside the United States and unfamiliar with this holiday, Independence Day is when Americans commemorate the Continental Congress's declaration that the thirteen American colonies would be separating from Great Britain. Most countries have a day like this–where they celebrate their founding, the end of a civil war, or, like America, their independence from another sovereign nation. Each culture has its own unique way of celebrating such events. In America, we often celebrate with BBQs, hanging out with family and friends, and watching or setting off fireworks.
On Independence Day, many Christians in America also take time to praise God for their nation, a place where they can freely worship Him. However, with all our given freedoms, Christians also need wisdom from God on how to glorify Him while living in this land. And this is something we need to pray for, regardless of the country we temporarily call "home," for we know that our citizenship is ultimately in heaven. So allow today's celebrations or hardships to point you to the One who has the government on His shoulders as we await the day when we will no longer live as exiles but as citizens in our true home.
In light of this American holiday, we have written this prayer for you to pray over the nation in which you reside. We hope this encourages you to bring all your worries, fears, hopes, and joys about the place you live to Him, who holds the whole world in His hands.
On this day, we praise You for being a God who is both near and holy. As we reflect on all that we have been given, we come to You, open-handed with this prayer.
Thank You for this nation that You have given us to live in and steward.
As we praise You for this good gift, may our hope rest on You and not on earthly kingdoms that will one day pass away. Rather, teach us how to glorify Your name in this land. May living in this country be a vehicle to praise You rather than a place on which our hope rests.
Lord, embolden us in our faith.
When events tempt us to doubt Your sovereignty, may we remember our limitations and praise You for Your omniscience. May we boldly proclaim Your name here.
Father, protect the local church.
Convict us to continue in community, learning from those before us and encouraging one another in faith. As the local church grows, may others see the Church as a beacon that points to Your love and sacrifice.
Lord, move us to serve as You served us.
Let our love for others shine like a light on a hill. When we are tempted to turn from those who are disagreeable, remind us that You first moved toward us in love when we were still Your enemy.
Father, guide our leaders.
For the leaders who know You, give them strength, wisdom, and courage so that they may glorify You with their leadership. And, as You will, may our leaders who don't know You learn to glorify You, as Nebecanezzer did in Daniel 4:34–37. Lord, we also pray that You will remove leaders who do evil in Your sight.
Lord, may the work done in our country glorify You.
May we fight against injustices and care for the orphans, widows, refugees, poor, and vulnerable as You have commanded us to do.
Father, may we steward and care for this land and all that You have given us.
May we not make idols of our land or earthly possessions, but remember that they are good gifts from You. May we seek to glorify You as we care for Your beautiful creation.
Finally, Lord, let us end where we began–with You at the center of our lives.
Here we lay at Your feet our hurts and patriotism. Teach us to go to You with both. Teach us that neither defines us. Rather, may our identity be in You alone as we reflect You to others. We praise You for sending Your Son so that we may call the only kingdom that will never pass away our home, where we will experience Your everlasting peace, provision, and presence.
May You alone be praised forever.