Are you burnt out on praying for our nation or discouraged by the current political landscape? Try these five ways to “always pray and never lose hope.”
By Christine McParland
After a trying year, a tumultuous election season, and a tense transition to a new presidential administration, it’s easy to grow weary of praying for our nation. Many of us are burned out on politics and would prefer to think about other things when we pray. Others may be tempted to feel like God didn’t answer our prayers for peace in our streets and righteous leaders in all branches of government, so what else can we pray for?
If you’re struggling to find words to pray for our nation—or motivation to keep praying—it can be helpful to draw on the tradition of liturgical or “pre-written” prayers. These prayers not only help give your mind a break from coming up with your own words, but they also offer a powerful connection with other Christians praying the same prayers at different times and in different places.
Whether you use these prayers or allow them to inspire your own, here are five powerful ways to encourage you to “always pray and never lose hope” (Luke 18:1, NCV).
1. Pray for God’s mercy on our nation (and ourselves).
“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” – Lamentations 3:22-23, NLT
This prayer from the One Year Pray for America Bible petitions God specifically for mercy on America:
In the Catholic tradition, a prayer called the Divine Mercy Chaplet invokes God’s mercy on the merits of Jesus’ suffering and death with this simple but heartfelt refrain:
For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
A similar prayer is found in the Orthodox tradition and is commonly known as the Jesus Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Prayers like these can be repeated—not in the “vain repetitions as the heathen do” sort of way (see Matthew 6:7, KJV), but as a way to help us meditate and focus on Christ’s mercy. They can also remind us that a nation is made up of individuals equally in need of such mercy, including ourselves.
How is God calling you to receive his mercy and love and share it with your neighbors? How might that impact our country if every follower of Christ prayed for God’s mercy for themselves, their neighbors, and their nation?
2. Pray for justice and restoration of the brokenness of our nation.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8, NIV
Even as we pray for justice and restoration, we recognize that the answer to our prayers often begins with us. We may not have direct control or influence over the decisions our leaders make, but we can follow this scriptural mandate to pursue justice and mercy as we humbly seek the Lord. And we can pray that our leaders will do likewise!
3. Pray for unity to heal our division.
Only hours before his betrayal and crucifixion, Jesus prayed for all believers everywhere:
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” – John 17:20-21, NLT
So that the world will believe you sent me. This is our call to unity as believers in Christ: not merely for outward peace and harmony, but for the salvation of souls and transformation of lives. Is this not the greatest need for America and the world?
We’re a nation of sinners, so practically speaking, perfect unity will be impossible. But as followers of Christ, we are not only called to unity but also given the grace to pursue it! How might it impact our nation if the church were to demonstrate such unity?
4. Pray for integrity for our leaders, that they may resist temptation and corruption.
Obviously, no leader or politician is perfect. Especially for those who don’t personally know Jesus or live by biblical standards, the temptation to abuse power can be excessive and even impossible to resist—apart from the grace of God. They likely don’t realize their need for God’s help and mercy, but we as believers do! And with this knowledge comes the responsibility to pray that they would be open to receiving such grace.
Before we speak of the unjust or immoral actions of any leader, let’s ask ourselves when was the last time we prayed for them.
5. Above all else, pray for salvation for our nation and the world.
America has never been, and never will be, a perfect nation. But with the freedom she has preserved for over two centuries comes the responsibility to steward, celebrate, and utilize that freedom for the good of others. And what greater good is there than sharing the message of salvation?
Far more important than the peace and prosperity of America is the salvation of the world. May God use us to further this mission not just in our nation but in every nation. And may he use our leaders and laws, our freedoms and resources, to further the gospel and the salvation of all.
This final prayer, taken from the Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church, beautifully summarizes the many requests we offer on behalf of our nation:
Almighty God, who hast 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 industry, sound learning, and pure conduct. 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 multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to 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 the 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.
Pray for the pressing needs of the United States of America as you read through the whole Bible in just one year. The One Year Pray for America Bible provides the structure to help you read God’s life-changing Word in the clear and easy-to-read New Living Translation in just 15 minutes a day. It includes daily non-partisan prayer prompts and inspirational prayers from famous Americans that help you intercede for your neighbors and your nation. This special edition of The One Year Bible equips you to apply your daily Bible reading as short prayers for leaders in every sphere of civic life. The One Year Pray for America Bible will help you apply the principles of God’s unchanging Word to effective prayer for our rapidly changing society. Allow God to change you and our country as you spend a year in the Word and on your knees.