Thursday after Easter 2
Commemoration of Friedrich the Wise, Christian Ruler
National Day of Prayer
May 5, 2011
The Lord be with you
Today has been set aside as a National Day of Prayer. This tradition has a long history in the USA. In 1775 the Continental Congress allocated a time for prayer in forming a new nation. Over the years, there have been calls for a day of prayer, including from President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer.
The National Prayer Committee was formed in the United States in 1972. It went on to create the National Day of Prayer Task Force, with the intended purpose of coordinating events for the National Day of Prayer. According to the Legal Information Institute, the President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.
Though this is not on the Liturgical Calendar, it is on our civic calendars. Therefore I thought it appropriate, and even maybe my duty as a Christian pastor and citizen of the USA, to offer a prayer or two here for any who may happen upon this blog today. It also gives me another chance to point to the riches of our hymnal, the Lutheran Service Book. Each of the following prayers can be found in that book, in the section titled “Prayers, Intercessions, and Thanksgivings” (beginning on page 305). These prayers are in the section titled “Civil Realm” (beginning on page 313).
For the nation
Almighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember Your generosity and constantly do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Grant that we, who came from many nations with many different languages, may become a united people. Support us in defending our liberties, and give those to whom we have entrusted the authority of government the spirit of wisdom, that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, may our hearts be thankful, and in troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Lord, keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Grant that we may choose trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and serve You faithfully in our generation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
In times of war
Almighty God, You alone can establish lasting peace. Forgive our sins, we implore You, and deliver us from the hands of our enemies that we, being strengthened by Your defenxe, may be preserved from all danger and glorify You for the restoration of tranquility in our land; through the merits of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Armed forces of our nation
Lord God of hosts, stretch forth Your almighty arm to strengthen and protect those who serve in the armed forces of our country. Support them in times of war, and in times of peace keep them from all evil, giving them courage and loyalty. Grant that in all things they may serve with integrity and with honor; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
These are just four of the prayers in this section. As you can see, the hymnal isn’t just for Sunday morning. May God bless America.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert