Last week, we began to pray for our country using the Lord’s Prayer as our framework and prayer prompts. This week, we begin with the line, “Forgive us our Sins.”
Forgive us our sins…As I wrote last month, “The last I checked my own heart, I discovered hatred, rage, revenge, incredible selfishness, superficiality, immorality and disbelief. I am part of the problem and the sooner I can start working on my own heart and continue to transform into a Christlike version of myself, the sooner the world will change around me.” How easy we can be self righteous and judgemental when it comes to our political lives yet the world is calling for us to “walk humbly.” We can start by seeking forgiveness for all the ways we screw things up.
As we forgive those who sin against us…Desmond Tutu says, “Forgiveness is nothing less than the way we heal the world. We heal the world by healing each and every one of our hearts. The process is simple, but it is not easy.” In the Matthew version of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says that if we do not forgive the wrongs done to us then God will not forgive us. We cannot take the forgiveness from the nailed-scarred hands of Jesus and then hold unforgiveness back from others. Life doesn’t work the way it should with this approach. It just doesn’t. Is there any place in our public lives that needs more signs of forgiveness than our political lives?
Lead us not into temptation…This is the call for God to put the reins on our proclivity to take matters into our own hands. As we think about what is best for our country the temptation is for us to use any means necessary to achieve our desired outcome. If those means push us towards evil or abuse of power or harm to others then it is not of God. This is our great political temptation – that everything is on the table. This is a lie and something we should desperately avoid.
And deliver us from evil…In this prayer, we have established who God is, where his place in the order of things resides, and how great his name is. He has the power to deliver us from anything, including radical evil of our own making and the evil made by others. Our memorization and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer makes this final portion of the prayer almost a throw away line but there is nothing unimportant about the deliverance we need and the deliverance our country is crying out for. Let God handle the deliverance business, it will work out better that way.
For yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever…Again, this isn’t some throw away line at the end of the prayer because it needs a way to wrap up. No, this is our declaration of where our allegiance lies. God’s kingdom is above all kingdoms. God’s power is above all power. God’s glory will be forever and ever. This is a great reminder that our country has been blessed by God but it is not the same as the Kingdom of God and the power and responsibility that has been granted to our country should be in submission to the power held only by God. Our glory is only found in God’s glory.