Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Inaugural Prayer

This week we will have a new President, a history making President, a President many feel very strongly in favor of, and some feel very strongly opposed to. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
It seems that in past years, there has been a lot of press about this group or that group who have the best interest of the nation at heart. Labels have been placed on people; labels such as conservative and liberal; labels implying that there is a right side and a wrong side. These sides square off with thinly veiled hatred, and people pray, but it seems that the prayers have largely been those that pray for the downfall of their opponents, rather than the reconciliation of our land. I suggest to you that we humble ourselves. It isn’t about us, shame on us for thinking so. We must come humbly, pray, return to God as our true leader, and God will be faithful to forgive and restore. The following is my prayer for our nation, our new president and all people.

A prayer for the inauguration of Barak Obama.
God of all people and all nations. God of all time and all history. We acknowledge your sovereignty in our lives and our world. You are our God, and we are your people.
As we face trouble and turmoil, you walk with us. As we celebrate and rejoice, you delight with us. As we weep and mourn, you cry with us. God you are always there to guide, to bless, and to comfort us in our lives. We again come to you to hear our cry and our prayer.

At this time, O God of us all, we face many things that are disturbing and troubling in our world. We look around and we see war in the Middle East, innocent blood being shed, lives being disrupted irrevocably, and families torn apart at the whim of those who should lead them to peace. We see economic uncertainty and hardship. We see natural disasters ripping through landscapes, destroying homes, and displacing people. We see extreme poverty and lives that face destitution and hardship. We see disease and famine, claiming the lives of the weak and the young. We see our youth falling deeper and deeper into cynicism and despair at a time in their lives where they should see the most hope! We face uncertain times, and we can fall into the trap of thinking that there is no certainty or hope in the world.

We look to our leaders to rescue us from the messes we are in, messes of our own making, and messes that are imposed upon us by the callous and heartless actions of others. We believe that the right leader, the right cabinet, the right President, the right government will set things right.

We look to government to fix problems and complain when the impossible cannot be done. We forget as the Israelites so long ago, who demanded a King, that you are God, the only leader we need. We fail to seek your wisdom and your guidance, and when we are faced with the obvious, we rationalize and turn our backs to your teaching and your desire for our lives.
We are in economic crisis and we have real worry about our future. And on the nightly news we see names and faces of those who would sacrifice others to make a buck. And we feel helpless to effect a change in our world, so we succumb to the temptation to be just as self-serving and greedy, so we aren’t trampled in the dust of materialism.

We recognize the wrongness of this thought, but lack the understanding of how change can come about. We know the difference between right and wrong, and we desire to bring right to our lives and our world. We desire change, because our current situation begs for it, but are we ourselves ready for change.

In the United States we have just come through a campaign season and a general election which in and of itself has brought about change. The nation has selected Barack Obama, as the President Elect. We pray today for his presidency, his administration, and his family at this time of transition and decisions.

But God, change does not come about by any one person, or one administration, or one ideology, but by all people working together for good greater than their own agenda. Help us to be agents of change, real change, your change in our world. Help us to seek to bring about reconciliation, rather than division. We pray that you will enable us to see what is good in people, rather than only the bad. The only true change we can control in our world is change in ourselves. Help us to allow you to work in us to bring about change of heart and mind, change from cynicism to hope, and change from blaming the other to a desire for working together.

We pray for our new president. We pray that your Holy Spirit will guide his presidency. We pray that hope, peace and reconciliation will begin to burn in the United States and spread throughout the world. We pray that you will begin that flame in our hearts.

We recognize that Jesus, the Christ, is the Savior of the world, and all others, even the President of the United States, are only elected leaders, mere mortals, and have the same humanity as us all. Bestow upon us the courage to live up to the purpose to which you have called us, and the courage to work with others and recognize we are not alone in our efforts to make our world a better place. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen.

No comments: