I am not very imaginative and especially not when it comes to my prayers. I use the Lord’s Prayer to give my daily prayers an outline and a framework to know what to pray for and where my heart should be in the matter.
Today, I would like to use the Lord’s Prayer as a way to pray for our country. I often find the call for prayer for our country to be a veiled attempt to push our own agenda and political preferences instead of emulating the heart of Jesus and the way that he taught us to pray. So, here is a way to pray for the United States or any country using the Lord’s Prayer.
Our Father…He is our Abba, our Daddy. He is not a heavy handed taskmaster ready to lash out at our country. He loves our country and the people who inhabit it. All of the people.
Who art in heaven…God is intimate like a father but also beyond us in majesty, glory, power, and might. He inhabits a place of such grandeur we cannot comprehend yet we have to consider the Jewish concept of heaven which was multilayered. This Father of ours inhabits the heaven that is simply the sky above us and the air we breath. God is here – in the election booth, in the hospital rooms, in the Governor’s mansion, in the White House, in the unemployment line. God is here.
Hallowed be thy name…His name is above all names, including our candidate of choice or political party affiliation. Our allegiance belongs to him and we pray that his name will be glorified in our country no matter who wins in November.
Thy kingdom come…God’s kingdom is where what God wants done is done. Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is at hand. That means that we can call down God’s kingdom now and in this place. We can pray for this kingdom to move and spread and take hold in all aspects of our culture even if it counters some of the ways and means of our political party of choice.
Thy will be done...God’s will is perfect and good and it is also our maximum fulfillment. In other words we can trust that God knows what he is doing and that what he is doing will bring us what we long for. To ask for God’s will to be done in our country doesn’t mean that we don’t vote or champion causes or fight for what we feel will bring the most good to our nation but it does mean that our best posture is a yielding to what God wants done and not just our own desires.
On earth as it is in Heaven…The Kingdom of God is a now thing and an eternity thing. Our prayer for our country is a prayer for the best of Heaven to be found among us despite how ludicrous that sounds.
Give us today our daily bread…Since we have already praised God for who he is and asked for him to take action and spread his kingdom we can now get down to our basic needs. Americans are in the midst of division, are combating racism, fighting a pandemic, facing economic uncertainty, and are navigating the mental and emotional strain of personal and national crisis. We can pray that people will have food to live on, medical care to fight the virus, financial means to provide for their family, vaccines that will eliminate and protect, and a sense of community and relationships that are life giving and sustaining. God can provide these things and desires to provide these things but we need to ask, not just for ourselves but for Americans collectively.
Next week, as we continue to pray for our country, we will look at the remainder of the Lord’s Prayer.