By Kelly O'Dell Stanley, Crosswalk.com
The one thing Christians can agree upon during this volatile season is that our country needs prayer. If you’re anything like me, though, you may be intimidated when facing such a huge need. Where do we even begin? Here are seven simple prayers that will transform this country into a Godly, upright nation.
Dear Lord, let us know who You are and act like we belong to You. Jesus said that by our unity—the unity of those who belong to God—people will know that the gospel is true. Help us to act like You. Transform us so that we become like You. Teach us Your wisdom and kindness, generosity and compassion, empathy and love. Transform us so that we can transform the communities we live in.
For those who are alone, Lord, let them know that they have a home in You. As you whisper to them of their importance, forge within them a new identity, the child of a King. Let everyone know they are welcome in Your Kingdom. And let us all focus on what we have in common rather than what might divide us—because You created this wide diversity of mankind, and the Bible says You created us in Your image. Help us see You in all the people we encounter and to reach out in kindness.
Please teach us not condemn others. Help us to welcome into our lives those who are different than we are. Teach us to say “I love you and…” instead of “I love you but…” It is Your place to change people, Lord, not ours. Help us lead them to a safe place where they are open to hearing Your voice. Let us let go of our need to change people and, instead, place them in your tender hands.
Let us be the light—Your light, Lord. Let us shine brightly in all that we do. Let people throughout the world know that You are real by the love they see in our actions. Because You are love, Lord, and Your love changes us. Help us model that kind of love and forgiveness and kindness so that when people see us, we point them right to You. And help us remember that grace isn’t exclusive—it’s available to all.
Lord, let this country be a place of refuge from atrocities, cruelty and horrors. Help us fight injustice and change circumstances within our own country that lead to sexual trafficking, homelessness, crime, abuse, addiction, mental illness, unwanted pregnancy, and poverty. Teach us as individual churches how to provide sanctuary—the safe place—people need, and through Your people, bring hope into hopeless situations.
Take what is broken and fix it. In our nation, in our communities, in our systems and infrastructures and government. In our homes, churches, families and relationships. In our individual souls. We all harbor brokenness, but there is nothing too big that You cannot overcome it. No situation holds more power over us than You do. Open our hearts to godly change, and go to work restoring and redeeming and repairing. And Lord, show us our part in the process and equip us to go to work alongside You.
Help us to be grateful for all You have given us, and to be good stewards of it all—the earth and its resources, our bodies and health, our freedom, time, money, access to education, and positions of influence. Help us start and end our days with gratitude for the freedoms we have and never take for granted the gift of knowing You. We are aware of so many things that are wrong, but help us never to overlook what is pure and right and holy. Reveal to us the gifts You’ve already given.
Kelly O’Dell Stanley is the author of Praying Upside Down and Designed to Pray. A graphic designer who writes (or is it a writer who designs?), she's also a redhead who’s pretty good at controlling her temper, a believer in doing everything to excess, and a professional wrestler of doubt and faith. She blogs at kellyostanley.com and calls small-town Indiana her home.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com