On God, His Word, His Church, and His World
On God, His Word, His Church, and His World
November 5, 2018
There are three passages in Scripture that, when taken together, are meant to move God’s people to pray and intercede for those He has placed in political authority:
Proverbs 14:34: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
Jeremiah 29:7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
1 Timothy 2:1-2: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
In the first passage, God tells us that righteousness (faithful adherence to God’s law) is a universally good thing for all nations. A robust Christianity that seeks to press the claims of Christ’s kingship in all areas of life makes for a wholesome, attractive civitas. Just as a young man who prizes wisdom will be exalted and given a graceful garland (Prov 4:8-9), so a nation that seeks to follow God’s Law and fears the Lord (which is the beginning of wisdom)—that nation will be exalted. On the other hand, sin—codified and promoted by a society— makes that nation ugly and rejected by God. That nation which highly prizes sin will be despised by God since they have despised Him (Rom 1:21-32).
The second passage tells us that while exiled in Babylon, Judah was commanded by God to become an integral part of Babylonian society. They were not to forget their status as exiles, that is, that Babylon was not their home. Yet, as embedded exiles, they were to work for the welfare of Babylon, for in its welfare Judah would find its welfare. In many ways, as it goes with our nation, so it goes with God’s people.
The final passage, taken from Paul’s instruction to a young pastor, urges us to make intercession for those in civil authority (kings or otherwise) in order that the State may leave the Church alone. Far from teaching a kind of disengaged and withdrawn “quietism” (where the Church is absent from the public square), this passage actually teaches that the Church ought to pray that the State leave the Church alone so that the Church may fulfill its calling, part of which is to witness to this world of the kingship of Christ through creed and conduct. This passage, along with Isaiah 49:22-23, is the historical basis among Protestant churches for speaking of government’s task to be a “nursing father and mother” to Christ’s Church. That is, government that is good and just is one that removes obstacles that obstruct the Church’s faithful witness and development. The state is to neither hijack the ministry of the Church nor to burden it.
For what should we pray for?
Which brings us to our present cultural moment. Our nation is in a deep spiritual crisis. The causes of this crisis are found in the decades (and centuries?). Our spiritual disarray will extend far beyond this year’s election day. We understand from God’s Word that no amount of political ingenuity, economic programming, nor social engineering can turn our spiritual condition around. In fact, what man’s hands can accomplish is perfectly evident in the sins of our country. Our problem is spiritual and systemic.
That is why we as a Church call upon God. As His people in this land, “who know their right hand from their left” (Jonah 4:11), we repent for the sins of this land. We ask God to have mercy upon this nation and upon His Church in this nation. Like Daniel (Daniel 9:4-19), Ezra (Ezra 9:6-15), and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 9:5-38), we know that true reformation and life cannot come without repentance and turning away from sin and turning to God. We want repentance to start in the house of God, and then to extend out into the farthest corners of this country.
What are our sins?
In order to repent of our national sins, we need to know what they are. Here are some of the obvious ones.
1. We despise the life God has given. This nation has killed over 60 million children since abortion became legal in 1973. Not only have we killed 60 million unborn persons, we have relished this sin, protected it, promoted it, and have perversely encouraged women to “shout your abortion.” Not satisfied with killing children in this nation, our foreign policy prioritizes other nations who share this love of death. At all levels of society, we worship that which dehumanizes us because we have rejected Christ. “All who hate me love death” (Proverbs 8:36). Lord, have mercy on us.
2. Leaders (economic, political, social) who are unprincipled at best and, at worst, suffer from an iniquitous messianic complex. We have leaders who sell justice to the highest bidder, who have no integrity, who believe they are gods in their own eyes, who can dispatch fiat after fiat without impunity, who pay lip service to virtue while working to undermine the moral foundation of this country. Our corruption affects all positions of leadership. We love lies and deception. We love lying and being lied to. Our hubris is evident in thinking that we can solve our deepest problems with bureaucratic, agency-oriented initiatives. Lord, have mercy on us.
3. We have ignored the poor, the widow, the orphan, the stranger in our midst. We have neglected to see that all those around us are our neighbors, to whom we owe love, neighbors who are made in the image of God. We have vilified, demonized, and exploited them. Truly, we don’t care about them, we only care about “caring” for them. Paternalistic and predatory attitudes of various leaders (including government officials) have devastated America’s inner-cities and hollowed them out. Injustice and unrighteousness rock our land. There are deep chasms of social, economic, and ethnic alienation between whole sections of society, such that only the Lord can heal them. Lord, have mercy on us.
4. There is a radical (literally, from the root up) insubordination at every level of society. In educational institutions, law enforcement, families, government, socially, from the least to the greatest, from the most inconsequential area of life to the most significant, our nation pursues a program of selfish autonomy. We are a lawless people who seek to be our own law. What better representation of this than our activist judiciary that thinks it can create laws and constitutional rights out of thin air? Like Israel’s condition in the book of Judges, each person does whatever is right in their own eyes. Superiors hate inferiors because they detect God’s image in them. Inferiors hate superiors because they are reminded of God’s authority through them. And so we stand on the brink of further spiritual anarchy and thuggery. Lord, have mercy on us.
5. We have become a society that permits and exalts every manner of sexual perversion. We are an oversexualized culture. We don’t know what sex is for. We are animalistic and violent in our expressions of sexuality. Pornography and pornographic values are one of the biggest exports of this nation to every country in the globalized economy, transmitting our national disease to all corners of the earth. The wholesale embrace of homosexual and transgender values in the public square is further evidence of our degeneration. Our nation seeks to bend reality to fit its lusts and it will find that it will be broken in the end. How low can we go? Lord, have mercy on us.
6. If this wasn’t bad enough, the condition of the churches in this nation is utterly lamentable. There is no Christian consensus on any given “social issue” anymore in large part because the Church has failed to faithfully hold the line. Not only has the world sought to silence the truth of God, we love to silence and domesticate the power of God. We love distraction and amusement to our destruction. We have lost sight of what is good, true, and beautiful. The Church has lost sight of Christ and His counter-cultural Word. In so many ways, the Church resembles the world in what it values, how it lives its life, what it worships, and how it conceives of salvation. “If a trumpet gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?” We are part of the problem. Lord, have mercy on us.
May the LORD bless our time in prayer, revive His Church in this nation, and bring those who dwell in this nation to repentance and faith in Him. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Pastor Sam Perez
November 4, 2018
Prayers for our own land and her well-being in a special manner, that in the peace of this land God’s people may have peace
Let us be thankful for this country
We bless You that You have planted us in a very fruitful hill, and has not made the wilderness our habitation, or the barren land our dwelling, but our land yields her increase. Isaiah 5:1. Job 39:6. Psalm 85:12.
Lord, you have dealt favorably with our land. We have seen Your mercies upon this land. Psalm 85:1.
We dwell safely, under our own vines and fig-trees, and there is peace to him that goes out, and to him that comes in. 1 Kings 4:25. 2 Chronicles 15:5.
And because You, O Lord have had mercy upon this people, therefore You have set in times past a good government over us to do judgment and justice; to be a terror to evil doers, and a protection and praise to them that do well. 1 Kings 10:9. Romans 13:3.
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage: we humbly beseech You that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Your favor, because we are so forgetful of the truth that all we enjoy is given by Your hand. Bless us with industry, prosperity, learning, and purity of life. Save us from discord and violence, and from pride and arrogancy. Preserve us from public calamities, pestilence, and famine; from war, privy conspiracy, and rebellion; and especially from national sins and corruption.
Let us be humbled before God for our national sins and provocations
But we are a sinful people, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers; And a great deal of reason we have to sigh and cry for the abominations that are committed among us. Isaiah 1:4. Ezekiel 9:4.
Iniquity abounds among us, and the love of many is waxen cold. Matthew 24:12.
We have not been forsaken nor forgotten of our God, though our land be full of sin against the Holy One of Israel. Jeremiah 51:5.
Let us pray for all those employed in the conduct of public affairs (public officials, judges, congressmen, senators, the President, etc.)
O remove not the speech of the trusty, nor take away the understanding of the aged, nor ever let the things that belong to the nation’s peace be hid from the eyes of those that are entrusted with the nation’s counsels. Job 12:20. Luke 19:42.
Make it to appear that You, O Lord, stand in the congregation of the mighty, and judge among the gods, and that when the princes of the people are gathered together, the God of Abraham himself is among them; And let the shields of the earth belong unto the Lord, that he may be greatly exalted. Psalm 82:1. Psalm 47:9.
Let those that be of us build the old waste places, and raise up the foundations of many generations, that they may be called the repairers of the breaches, and restorers of paths to dwell in. Isaiah 58:12.
Make those that rule over us just, ruling in the fear of God; and let those that judge remember that they judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with them in the judgment, that therefore the fear of the Lord may be upon them. 2 Samuel 23:3. 2 Chronicles 19:6, 7.
Make them able men, and men of truth, fearing God, and hating covetousness, that judgment may run down like a river, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Exodus 18:21. Amos 5:24.
Enable our magistrates to defend the poor and fatherless, to do justice for the afflicted and needy, to deliver the poor and needy, and to rid them out of the hand of the wicked; and let rulers never be a terror to good works, but to the evil. Psalm 82:3, 4. Romans 13:3. 1 Peter 2:14.
Almighty Father, we pray for those who serve our common welfare in temporal affairs, especially those who govern us, that they may do so with wisdom, integrity, and the knowledge that their councils stand under Your final judgment. We ask that You would restrain wickedness and vice in society, promote justice and the common good, and cause us to be salt and light in this evil age.
Let Your Spirit rule the hearts of men in righteousness and love. Repair the desolations of former days; rejoice the wilderness with beauty; and make glad the city with Your law. Establish every work that is founded on truth and equity, and fulfill all the good hopes and desires of Your people. Manifest Your will, Almighty Father, through the victory of Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
We humbly beseech You, as for the people of these United States in general, so especially for their Senate and Representatives in Congress assembled: That You would be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations, to the advancement of Your glory, the good of Your Church, the safety, honor, and welfare of Your people; That all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavors, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, Biblical religion and piety may be established among us for all generations. Endue with wisdom those in authority, that justice and peace may prevail. Make us strong and great in the fear of God, and in the love of righteousness, that, blessed of You, we may be a blessing to all people. In prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in trouble do not allow our trust in You to fail.
Let us pray for the favor of God to us, and His presence among us, as that in which the happiness of our nation is bound up.
O the hope of Israel, the Savior thereof in time of trouble, be not thou as a stranger in our land, or a wayfaring man that turns aside to tarry but for a night; but be always in the midst of us, though our iniquities testify against us and our backslidings are many. Jeremiah 14:8, 9, 7.
Turn us to You, O Lord God of hosts, and then cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved. O stir up Your strength, and come and save us. Psalm 80:3, 2.
Show us Your mercy, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation, yea let that salvation be near them that fear You, that glory may dwell in our land: Let mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other: Let truth spring out of the earth, and righteousness look down from heaven; yea let the Lord give that which is good: Let righteousness go before him, and set us in the way of his steps. Psalm 85:7, 9-13.
Let us pray that the kingship of Christ take root in this nation
O let the throne of Christ endure for ever, among us, even the place of Your sanctuary, that glorious high throne from the beginning. Psalm 45:6. Jeremiah 17:12.
Let our candlestick never be removed out of his place, though we have deserved it should, because we have left our first love. Never do to us as you did to Your place which was in Shiloh, where You set Your name at the first. Revelation 2:4, 5. Jeremiah 7:12.
Let us never know what a famine of the Word means; nor ever be put to wander from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth, to seek the word of God. Amos 8:11, 12.
Let wisdom and knowledge be the stability of our times and strength of salvation, and let the fear of the Lord be our treasure: Let the righteous flourish among us, and let there be those that shall fear You in our land as long as the sun and moon endure throughout all generations, that there may be abundance of peace, and the children which shall be created may praise the Lord. Isaiah 33:6. Psalm 72:5, 7. Psalm 102:18.
Let that righteousness abound among us which exalts a nation, and deliver us from sin, which is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34.
Let us pray for the suppression of vice and iniquity, and the support of Biblical religion and virtue.
O let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just, O righteous God that tries the hearts and minds. Spirit, rise up for the just against the evil doers, and stand up for righteous against the workers of iniquity. Ps 7:9. Ps 94:16.
Let the Redeemer come and turn away ungodliness; let the filth of the people be purged from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning. Romans 11:26. Isaiah 4:4.
Let all iniquity stop her mouth, and let the infection of that plague be stayed, by executing judgment. Psalm 107:42. Psalm 106:30.
Let those that are striving against sin never be weary or faint in their minds. Heb12:4, 3.
Cause the unclean spirit to pass out of the land, and turn to the people a pure language, that they may call on the name of the Lord. Zechariah 13:2. Zephaniah 3:9.
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Prayers for the breaking of the power of all the enemies of the Church that seek her ruin, and the defeating of all their designs against her.
Rise, Lord, and let Your enemies be scattered, and let those that hate You flee before You, but return, O Lord, to the many thousands of Your Israel. Numbers 10:35, 36.
Give us help from trouble, for vain is the help of man; Through God let our forces do valiantly, yea let God himself tread down our enemies, and give them as dust to our sword, and as driven stubble to our bow. Psalm 60:11, 12. Isaiah 41:2.
Let us be a people saved by the Lord, as the shield of our help and the sword of our excellency; and make our enemies sensible that the Lord fights for us against them. Deuteronomy 33:29. Exodus 14:25.
Let all that set themselves, and take counsel together against the Lord, and against his anointed, that would break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from them, imagine a vain thing. Let him that sits in heaven laugh at them, and have them in derision; speak unto them in Your wrath, and vex them in Your sore displeasure. Give them, O Lord: what will You give them? give them a miscarrying womb, and dry breasts. Psalm 2:1-5. Hosea 9:14.
O our God, make them like a wheel, and as stubble before the wind; Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Your name, O Lord, and that men may know, that You whose name is the LORD, are the most high over all the earth. Psalm 83:13, 16, 18.
Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men, and wherein the proud enemies of Your church deal proudly, make it to appear that You are above them. Psalm 9:20. Exodus 18:11.
Let them be confounded and turned back that hate Zion, and be as the grass upon the housetops, which wither before it grows up. Psalm 129:5, 6.
Let no weapon formed against Your church prosper, and let every tongue that rises against it in judgment be condemned. Isaiah 54:17.
Lord, let the man of sin be consumed with the spirit of Your mouth, and destroyed with the brightness of Your coming: And let those be undeceived that have been long under the power of strong delusions to believe a lie, and let them receive the truth in the love of it. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 8, 11, 10.
Let Babylon fall, and sink like a mill-stone into the sea; And let the kings of the earth, that have given their power and honor to the beast, be wrought upon at length to bring it into the new Jerusalem. Rev 18:2, 21; 17:17; 21:24.
Father, forgive our enemies, for they know not what they do; and lay not their malice against us to their charge, and work in us a disposition to forbear and forgive in love, as You require we should when we pray. Luke 23:34. Acts 7:60. Col 3:13. Mark 11:25.
Lord, give us to love our enemies, to bless them that curse us, and to pray for them that despitefully use us and persecute us. Matthew 5:44.
And grant that our ways may so please the Lord, that even our enemies may be at peace with us. Let the wolf and the lamb lie down together, and let there be none to hurt or destroy in all the holy mountain. Proverbs 16:7. Isaiah 11:6, 9, 13.
Almighty Father, You are the King eternal, immortal, invisible, You are the only wise God our Savior; Hasten, we beseech You, the coming upon earth of the kingdom of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and draw the whole world of mankind into willing obedience to his blessed reign. Overcome all His enemies, and bring low every power that is exalted against Him. Pull down all of the strongholds of Satan in this world and establish Your kingdom throughout the earth. Destroy the devil’s work; destroy every force which revolts against You and every conspiracy against Your Word. Do this until Your kingdom is so complete and perfect that in it You are all in all.
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Prayers for the Church, her ministry, relief, and succession
Let us pray that Christ’s Church would continue to prosper amidst all manner of religious, political, social, and economic adversity.
Lord, preserve to us the lamp which You have ordained for Your anointed, that the generation to come may know You, even the children which shall be born, that they may set their hope in God, and keep his commandments. Psalm 132:17. Psalm 78:6, 7.
May your Church experience covenant succession, that she would abide before God forever, from generation to generation. That our children would rise up to love you above life itself, and their children after them, for a thousand generations. That mercy and truth may preserve Your people, so will we sing praise unto Your name forever. Thus let the Lord save Zion, and build the cities of Judah, that the seed of Your servants shall inherit it, and they that love Your name dwell therein. Psalm 61:7, 8. Psalm 69:35, 36.
Let our eyes see Jerusalem, the city of our solemnities, a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down: Let none of the stakes thereof be removed, nor any of the cords thereof broken, but let the glorious Lord be unto us a place of broad waters and streams; for the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king, He will save us. Isaiah 33:20, 21, 22.
Let us pray for relief for those Christians who suffer and that part of the Church that is persecuted for righteousness sake.
We desire in our prayers to remember them that are in bonds for the testimony of Jesus, as bound with them, and them which suffer adversity, as being ourselves also in the body. O send from above, and deliver them from those that hate them, and bring them forth into a large place. Heb 13:3. Ps 18:16, 17, 19.
O let not the rod of the wicked rest upon the lot of the righteous, lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity. Ps 125:3.
Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake as in the ancient days, as in the generations of old, and make the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed of the Lord to pass over. Is 51:9, 10.
For the oppression of the poor and the sighing of the needy, now do You arise, O Lord, and set them in safety from them that puff at them. Psalm 12:5.
O strengthen the patience and faith of Your suffering saints, that they may hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Revelation 13:10. Lamentations 3:26.
O let the year of Your redeemed come, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. Isaiah 63:4. Isaiah 34:8.
Lord, arise, and have mercy upon Zion, and let the time to favor her, yea the set time come; yea let the Lord build up Zion, and appear in his glory. Lord, regard the prayer of the destitute, and do not despise their prayer. Psalm 102:13, 16, 17.
O Lord God, cease we beseech You, by whom shall Jacob arise, for he is small! O cause Your face to shine upon that part of Your sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. Amos 7:5. Daniel 9:17.
Let the sorrowful sighing of Your prisoners come before You, and according to the greatness of Your power preserve those that for Your name’s sake are appointed to die. Psalm 79:11.
Let us pray for all the ministers of God’s Holy Word and sacraments.
Teach Your ministers how they ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, that they may not preach themselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and may study to show themselves approved to God, workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 1 Tim 3:15. 2 Cor 4:5. 2 Tim 2:15.
Make them mighty in the scriptures, that from there they may be thoroughly furnished for every good work, in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, and sincerity, and sound speech, which cannot be condemned. Acts 18:24. 2 Timothy 3:17. Titus 2:7, 8.
Enable them to give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine, to meditate upon these things, to give themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word, to give themselves wholly to them; and to continue in them that they may both save themselves, and those that hear them. 1 Timothy 4:13, 15. Acts 6:4. 1 Timothy 4:15, 16.
Let utterance be given to them, that they may open their mouths boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, that from there they may speak as they ought to speak, as able ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter, but of the spirit, and let them obtain mercy of the Lord to be faithful. Eph 6:19-20. 2 Cor 3:6. 1 Cor 7:25.
Let the arms of their hands be made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; and let them be full of power by the spirit of the Lord of hosts, to show Your people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. Gen. 49:24 Mic 3:8. Is 58:1.
Make them sound in the faith, enabling them always to speak the things which make for sound doctrine, with meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; let not the Lord’s servants strive, but be gentle to all men, apt to teach. Tit 1:13; 2:1. 2 Tim 2:24f.
Make them good examples to the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity; and let them be clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord, and let Holiness to the LORD be written upon their foreheads. 1 Tim 4:12. Is 52:11. Ex 28:36.
Lord, grant that they may not labor in vain, or spend their strength for nought, and in vain, but let the hand of the Lord be with them, that many may believe, and turn to the Lord. Isaiah 49:4. Acts 11:21.
Gracious Father, we beseech You for Your Church in the world but especially in this country; that You would be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus who died and rose again, and ever lives to make intercession for us.
Bless Your holy Gospel, that it may be faithfully proclaimed and the world filled with the knowledge of Your truth. To that end, please send workers into Your field to plant, water, and harvest a people for Your name. But frustrate the work of those who would sow weeds of heresy and discord.
Please give fatherly attention to Your servants who suffer persecution for the sake of the Gospel and strengthen them in mind and body by Your Spirit through the means of grace. Rule us by Your Word and Spirit in such a way that more and more we submit to You. Keep Your church strong, and add to it.