It's hard to believe that the Fourth of July is only a few days away. There will be family gatherings, baseball games, and fireworks. There will be worship services as we exercise our freedom of religion and freedom to assemble. Hymns such as "God Bless America," My Country 'Tis of Thee," "America the Beautiful" will be sung. But among all the celebrations, there will still be issues of unemployment, national security and health care.
We will all celebrate our freedoms, but how do we respond when our nation is struggling? The Apostle Paul urges us to pray for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Therefore, we must give priority to prayer. Prayer is not an afterthought for free people. Prayer should be the first thought of the day. Prayer is essential for preserving freedom.
Prayer enlists the power of God to produce peace. We need to pray in the privacy of our homes, in our places of worship, while we walk and work. We should pray continually in all situations, (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Prayer is the key ingredient in the prescription for America. 2 Chronicles 7:14, says, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
We must pray for all men, including prayer of supplications, asking God's blessing on our neighbors and other people, prayer of intercessions, praying for the special needs of all we know, and prayers of thanksgiving, gratefully appreciating those around us and all of God's bountiful blessings in this nation. This kind of prayer breaks down barriers and brings domestic peace.
Prayer overcomes divisions of race, political, denominational, and all other barriers. The nation that prays together will be held together in God's hands. Nothing can destroy it, and it's time that we allow God's Word to be our homeland security once again.
We must also pray for our political leaders. Political differences should not keep us from praying together. Prayer for our national leaders should be part of our everyday lives. You may not like our national leaders, or agree with them on the issues, but that should make you pray harder for them, and thank God for the freedom we have of selecting our leaders. Prayer for leaders results in God's guidance of our nation and can change the political clime. Prayer for leaders will keep our nation strong and free.
If we follow Paul's instructions we will see better results as a nation. This kind of national prayer leads to peaceable living with all goodness and honesty. It will lead to the decline of violence and angry political confrontation. Prayer promotes healthy patriotism.
As you celebrate the birth of our great nation, how patriotic are you really willing to be? Will you pray for your leaders? Will you seek God's will for this nation? Will you seek and surrender your life to God's will, just like Jesus Christ surrendered His will to the Father? He gave his life and shed his blood on the cross, so you can experience absolute and total freedom, freedom from sin. It's only when we receive Him as Lord and Savior, that our lives are changed. Our prayer life will be stronger and we will be able to pray for our nation and leaders, and that's the point when we will see God blessing America.
("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)