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A July 4 Prayer: Toward a Nation Chastened by Goodness

On the Sunday of the July 4th weekend I offered this prayer in worship at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church. It was suggested to me that I post it here. I'm following that suggestion. That the nation might be chastened by goodness. 

  Common Prayer, Pinnacle Presbyterian Church
  July 6, 2014, by Dr. Wesley Avram

A July 4 Prayer:
Toward a Nation Chastened by Goodness

Holy One, on this July 4 weekend, we pause to remember the sacred gift of land and nation. We are grateful for the freedom we share, the security we know, and the common good we desire. Keep us good stewards of each, that we might not hoard freedom at others' expense, confuse false security for true, lose the great blessing of community as we seek our individual happiness. Bless our nation with honest industry, sound learning, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, arrogance, and from every threat to our values. Help us honor each other, even in our differences, and give us compassion, even as we expect each other to do our best for those we love. 

Give those entrusted with governing the spirit of wisdom, freedom from undue influence, and a desire to serve. Give those who serve in the military protection, good judgment, and a deep and abiding knowledge that they are prayed for and appreciated. Though they may be at war, keep their hearts for peace.

And on this day, for each of us who seek to follow you, let the memory of our baptism fill our vision. Remind us of the unity we share across borders with all who are baptized into your church. And through your church, let us know how profoundly connected we are to all people. Let the blessing we know as freedom be for us more than a privilege to protect, but also a gift to share. Bless all that aspire to your liberty. Bless all that work for your justice. Bless all that open doors of sympathy. Bless all that resist evil, love goodness, and do your work.

With so many places of concern on our minds in these days, we lift to you Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Israel and the Occupied Territories, the Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Congo and other African nations, the Ukraine, Turkey, European nations undergoing economic struggles, our own hemisphere including Haiti, Mexico, cities and towns of our own land where opportunity seems elusive and life is hard or violence rules.

In all of these places, and more, embolden those who would shape change in positive directions. Let your Spirit be the author of the future, the protector of the young, and the maker of peace.

And so finally, O Lord, we pray today as we pray every day:

For those who are ill among us.
For those who are lonely.
For those who face difficult decisions.
For those who have died, and for those who have been born.
For those unemployed, uncertain, or insecure.
And also for those who rejoice this day, for new opportunities, new love, new faith, strong will, health, and well being.
Through it all, we are yours.

Amen.