Prayers of the Presidents

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers,
intercession and thanksgiving  b
e made for all people—for kings and all those in authority,
 that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
-1 Timothy 2:1-4

WE LIVE IN A GREAT LAND.  We have been blessed beyond measure.  But in that blessing we have become smug, content and arrogant.  We have forgotten where that blessing has come from and even flaunt the grossest of our sins in public.  God has a way of humbling the proud.

It is my prayer, this Independence Week, that we, as a nation, will humble ourselves before Almighty God, repent of our sins and beg His mercy and forgiveness.

I am not suggesting in any way, as many do, that patriotism and Christianity are the same thing.  They are not.  I am not suggesting that we bring nationalism into the worship assembly.  The gathered worship of believers has a singular focus—God Almighty and Jesus Christ, His Son, our Savior. 

There is no room for worship of king and country in the assembly of God’s people, who wear the name of Christ.  There is, however, room for earnest prayer on behalf of the nation in which we live.  There is even a biblical mandate that we pray for our country—the place where God has ordained we live out our earthly journey and our testimony (1 Tim. 2:1-4; Jer. 29:4-9).

Though every leader this nation has had has been flawed (as each of us are), we have had some strong and godly leaders, who have been willing to humble themselves before their Creator—the One to whom they have had to give account.  Their prayers for this nation have been powerful and moving.  I think it is right, this 4th of July week, to share some of those with you, and urge you to pray, as did they, most sincerely for this land.

George Washington
A Prayer for Guidance

O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching Thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased Thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech Thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul….

Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto Thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in Thy fear, labor in Thy service, and ever to run in the ways of Thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son Jesus Christ, that living in Thy fear, and dying in Thy favor, I may in Thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life…..

–An undated prayer abridged from Washington’s prayer journal, Mount Vernon

Thomas Jefferson
A Prayer for the Nation

Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

–Washington D.C., March 4, 1801

Ronald Reagan
A Prayer for Healing

To preserve our blessed land we must look to God… It is time to realize that we need God more than He needs us…  

The time has come to turn to God and reassert our trust in Him for the healing of America… Our country is in need of and ready for a spiritual renewal. Today, we utter no prayer more fervently than the ancient prayer for peace on Earth.

If I had a prayer for you today, among those that have all been uttered, it is that one we’re so familiar with: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace….” And God bless you all.

–Abridged from a speech to the American people, February 6, 1986