Tag Archives: nation

Two Prayers for America

America is not a chosen nation, but she has many chosen people praying and living with integrity that have helped her be a blessing to the world. Our story also includes horrific compromise of our highest ideals, especially our treatment of the indigenous peoples and African Americans. We can love our land and lament our sins. We can improve our nation without destroying her ideals. And prayer must be underneath the laments and longings for justice.

Prayer is God’s invitation to participate in his divine mission to reconcile and redeem, renew and restore all things. Our almighty, sovereign Lord has decided that our humble petitions, compassionate intercessions, and persevering supplications matter in fulfilling his will on earth as it is in heaven.

Here are two short prayers for our nation. There is no pretense here that just the right words will somehow manipulate God – that would be pagan superstition. Instead, our prayers, in alignment with Holy Scripture and empowered by the Holy Spirit, become a force for good in a world enmeshed in evil. In these days of pandemic and polarization, political passions and personal animosities, humble prayer may make the difference between mercy and judgment for our land.

Prayer for Peace of Mind and Divine Presence in Our Land

O God, you are transcendent and immanent. You are totally other; totally different from us. But you are also Immanuel, God with us. You were delighted to dwell among us in the person of your Son, Jesus Christ. What grace! You are the God who comes close. Lord, come close to our national leaders. Come close to the justices that sit on the Supreme Court. Come close to those in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. Come close to our local leaders – our police departments, mayors, and governors. Come close, dear Master, to those in laboratories that are feverishly developing a vaccine for this virus. Come close, Dear God, to peaceful protestors, the abused, the hungry, the bewildered, the outraged, the motherless, the fatherless, the dying, the mourning, the widow, the disabled, the oppressed, and the immigrant. Lord, come close to us, in cul-de-sacs, hamlets, towns, rural areas, cities, and suburbs.  Come close, dear Lord, to those who are easing back into the workplace with trepidation. Omnipresent Lord, please share your closeness with all of us, everyone on the face of this globe. In Jesus’ majestic and mighty name, Amen.

Prayer for Humility and Wisdom

O Lord, you are infinite and intimate, and the Source of all that is good. You promised wisdom for the humble who seek you and search for truth. You promised wisdom as we pray and trust you. Your wisdom is pure, peaceable, and leads to peacemaking and righteousness. Lord, we need your wisdom as we confront the injustices all around us and the unrighteousness in our own hearts. We need wisdom to lament and repent well. We need your wisdom to cultivate new relationships across all the barriers in our world. We need wisdom to reform social structures that keep millions from flourishing. We need wisdom for our businesses, churches, families, communities, cities, and nation. We humbly plead that you will grant wisdom. We also accept your wisdom from the mouths of the marginalized and oppressed, the voices of history, and the prophets calling us to holiness. And we thank you in advance for your generosity toward us, even when it means surgery in our souls. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Toleration and Moral Universals

Every family, community, nation, and civilization must find agreement of the moral norms that will govern life together. In three words, people must have some agreement on what will be prohibited (actions that are wrong, i.e., slavery in any form, abuse of children), what will be permitted (actions people debate about, but can live with the differences, i.e., peaceful diversity of religious and political affiliation), and what will be promoted (virtues for the common good, i.e., compassion, access and opportunity, justice).

Toleration at its historic best allows people of very different cultures to live next door to each other in peace. Problems arise however, when we confuse toleration with agreement or take the previously permissible and make it either prohibited or promoted.

We have a strange alliance among elites in the West. Pagan-secular progressives that reject historic Jewish and Christian influences and ideals are in an alliance with Islamic radicals: both hate the “traditional” West. The secular elites have a particular animus toward Christians, especially Catholic and Evangelical believers that affirm normal sexual morality and respect unborn life. Islamicists have a long-term aim of imposing their enlightened Islam and reconquering lands that used to be Muslim.

This mutual pact bears bitter fruit, with feminists rarely criticizing Islam’s systemic oppression of women and religious minorities. Hatred for all things Christian keeps progressives from seeing the clear threat of Islam for human liberty. The desire to upend all historic gender identities and sexual norms is subverting good science and fostering unneeded traumas.

This confusion overflows to the public square where progressives imply that practicing Christians are suspect as potential judges or candidates for appointed offices.

Serious Christians that share their faith, affirm moral norms and evangelize are labeled as intolerant, homophobic, Islamophobic or oppressive. Meanwhile, entire nations persecuting Christians are given a pass due to historic colonialism.

Is there a way forward? Yes, but only with serious debate in a civil environment. We must prohibit all oppression, permit a wide range of opinions and promote true toleration. This means living alongside one another even while we debate matters of eternal importance. Our future as a free society depends on such maturity. The alternative is anarchy leading to new forms of totalitarian micromanagement and oppression.

A Flourishing Life

When I walk into the one of the few regular bookstores still standing, I am arrested by the large self-improvement sections dominating the non-fiction landscape. From physical health (do we need one more diet and exercise book?) to emotional-relational well-being (do these authors all recycle the same principles?) to sexual satisfaction and business success (you get have it all!), we are awash in advice.

Yet. A variety of surveys reveal deep dissatisfaction with everyday work, unhappy marriages and disillusionment with civic, political and religious institutions. We have more data and information, more resources and support groups, more ways of improving ourselves…yet we still find high addiction and divorce rates, static church attendance and deep anger at the political process.

Answers to these challenges begins with vision. What does it mean for a person, a community, a nation to flourish? What does health look like? We need some understanding of the outcomes of our actions to shape our attitudes and behaviors.

As we begin a new year, the January essays on this site will offer insights into, “A Flourishing Life.” We will explore five dimensions of human wholeness that encompass the spiritual, personal, relational, vocational and occupational facets of everyday life. If you are ready for serious assessment and change, go to www.discipleshipdynamics.com and take the first biblically grounded and empirically validates whole life assessment and begin your new future today!

Flourishing begins with faith

If you are determined to reject the notion of a divine being, please stop reading. All the insights that follow rest on the foundation of humility arising from genuine belief in an Infinite-Personal God who created us with purpose and cares deeply about our daily lives. This God is fully known in Jesus Christ and longs for intimacy with us.

The First Dimension of wholeness begins with our spirituality. This is not a vague notion of “the force” or the illusory and impersonal world new ages concepts. The spiritual life begins and ends with humble submission to the Creator and Redeemer who designed us and desires to dwell in and with us.

Jesus said that all the Scriptures are summed up in one Great Commandment: to love God with all our being…and love our neighbor as ourselves. If we love God, we will participate in the pathways he has designed for intimacy and integrity, healthy and holiness. Prayer and Bible reading, church attendance and times of solitude are not ends in themselves, but divine resources for flourishing! Sharing our faith is the overflow of enjoying God, not an obligation to impose religious strictures.

As we begin this flourishing journey, let’s start this new year with simple disciplines that increase our awareness of Christ’s presence and awaken us to the Holy Spirit’s guidance each moment of our busy day. Start with small steps: a few moments of prayer, with gratitude and requests, praises and longings for others. Open the Bible in the Book of Psalms and read one each day, finding a verse to sustain you. Gather with other believers for mutual support. Find some moments of solitude. Let someone know you are a follower of Jesus and invite them to join your quest for growth.

All other Dimensions of wholeness flow from this foundation of receiving and releasing God’s love. Our humility will open doors of destiny as we listen to God each day.