American Values Post

Special Thanks to Judy 

As you know, my wife, Carol, prepares a prayer alert about once a month. I hope you will share Carol’s thoughts with your friends and fellow worshippers. Thank you for taking an interest in her monthly devotion. — Gary Bauer

Today, as I reflect and gather my thoughts on the news out of Washington which deserves a prayer focus, I am struck by the desperate need for each of us to simply pray fervently for our country and its very future. I could highlight any number of crises deserving of our prayer — a health insurance system which is imploding before our eyes with lots of people caught in its wake, hateful and divisive rhetoric which drives us apart, the dissatisfaction of the average voter with the pace of change in Washington, a deteriorating public confidence in bedrock institutions like the FBI and the CIA, and an openly partisan press corps intent on driving a narrative to its liking.

I have called the Washington, D.C., area home for over 45 years. My time here has gone from the turbulent years of the Nixon Administration, which included Watergate, through the malaise of the Carter years, into the Reagan-Bush boom, the scandal-plagued Clinton years, the Bush 45 terms defined by 9/11, and the disconcerting turns of the Obama years. In all that time there has been an ebb and flow marked by shifting centers of power and confidence.

But through it all, it felt as though there was a solid core of beliefs and shared values that remained true, never allowing the whole of society to feel rudderless or too far out of the mainstream. Yes, there was extremism, but it seemed to be tempered by a larger shared universe of community values that crossed racial and economic divides.

Today, it feels like shared values and truths are at a minimum, confidence in public institutions is low and there is an overall unease with the country’s direction. The overarching uncertainties leave us with a sense of anxiety and concern for our nation . . . today, tomorrow and for the years ahead. I am reminded of Vice President Mike Pence’s admonition this week: “So just pray for America. Pray for this country because America matters.”

For these reasons, let us seek the Lord’s guidance, let us find strength in Him and let us rest in the peace of His presence.

Heavenly Father, we are buffeted by screaming news headlines, weary of partisan bickering and worried that the unity of purpose that should hold us together is fraying. Words are being used like swords. Means of communication which could draw us together are instead being used to drive us apart.

Those same means of communication are being used to spread evil beliefs around the globe. The line between free speech rights, privacy and a cesspool of religious intolerance and hate is blurred. We are left feeling frustrated, anxious, helpless and weak. Those leaders who rise to the occasion are shot down or mocked. Clear lines between right and wrong are missing.

Dear Lord, we come to You seeking Your guidance in a world where Your word is not emulated and, in fact, it is often held in contempt. We pray for our brothers and sisters who live in societies where belief in You is cause for death. Give them courage in the face of adversity, strength in the face of oppression. Remind us to pray for them.

Open our eyes to the freedom that we have to practice our faith and never let us take that privilege lightly. Embolden us with courage to withstand the rhetorical shots taken at our faith. Give us strength to stand up for You in an increasingly hostile culture and not be ashamed of our beliefs in the pubic square. Guide us to live and speak our beliefs whatever the cost.

Finally, remind us that the criticism we face does not compare to the price being paid by others across the globe. Give us words and ways to stand for You. Provide us strength and resolve. Bring into our daily life others of like mind that we might encourage one another and lift up each other in prayer.

Be with our country in the days ahead and guide it through these treacherous waters. Draw us together in ways we cannot even anticipate. Give physical, mental and emotional strength to President Trump and Vice President Pence, to all those in positions of authority, to the men and women of law enforcement, to those in uniform and to those in the pulpit and the public square who stand up for what is right. Open our eyes to the ways in which some would do us harm. Remind us to draw strength in Your presence.

Keep us mindful that change takes time yet let us never be satisfied with the status quo in our relationship with You and each other. Bless and protect our country in the challenging days and months ahead. Prod us to say and do what is right in this ever-changing world, even as we know You are the same yesterday and today and forever. Comfort us and give us a sense of peace.

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