Dear church family,
We live in tumultuous times. We must pray. But how?
I’ve been reading Matthew Henry this week. Matthew Henry was a Nonconformist minister and author. He is best known for his biblical commentary of the Old and New Testaments. But I’ve been reading another book he wrote, A Method for Prayer.
He offers the following ways that we can pray for our country (and gives Biblical detail how we can do it):
Pray for Your Own Nation
For our own land and nation, which we ought in a special manner to seek the welfare of, that in its peace we may have peace. We must be thankful to God for his mercies to our land.
I bless You that You have planted me on a fertile hill, Isaiah 5:1(NASB) and have not given the wilderness for my home or the salt land for my dwelling place, Job 39:6(NASB) but the land I inhabit yields its produce. Psalm 85:12(NASB)
Lord, You have shown favor to my land. Psalm 85:1(NASB) I have heard with my ears, and my fathers have told me, the work that You did for Your church in their days, and in the times of old, Psalm 44:1(NASB) and as I have heard, so have I seen; for I have thought on Your lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of Your temple. Psalm 48:8-9(NASB)
You have given Your church a pleasant land, Jeremiah 3:19(NASB) it is Immanuel’s land, Isaiah 8:8(NASB) it is a valley of vision; Isaiah 22:1(NASB) You have set up Your dwelling place among us, and Your sanctuary is in the midst of us. Ezekiel 37:26-27(NASB)
And because the Lord loved my people, therefore He has set a good government over us, to do justice and righteousness, 1 Kings 10:9(NASB) to be a terror to evildoers, and a protection and praise to those who do what is good. Romans 13:3(NASB)
We must be humbled before God for our national sins and provocations.
But my nation is a sinful people, a people weighed down with iniquity, the offspring of evildoers; Isaiah 1:4(NASB) and we have a great deal of reason to sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in our midst. Ezekiel 9:4(NASB)
Lawlessness has increased among us, and most people’s love has grown cold. Matthew 24:12(NASB)
We have not been forsaken nor forgotten of our God, though our land is full of guilt before the Holy One of Israel. Jeremiah 51:5(NASB)
Pray Earnestly for National Mercies and the Blessing of the Gospel Ministry in your Nation
I must pray earnestly for national mercies. For the favors of God to my nation and the tokens of his presence among us, as that in which our happiness is bound up.
O Hope of Israel, its Savior in time of distress, be not like a stranger in the land or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night; but be always in Your people’s midst: We are called by Your name; O do not forsake us. Although our iniquities testify against us, O LORD, act for Your name’s sake; although our apostasies have been many, and we have sinned against You. Jeremiah 14:7-9(NASB)
Restore us to Yourself, O Lord GOD of hosts, and then cause Your face to shine, and we will be saved. O stir up Your power and come to save us! Psalm 80:2-3(NASB)
Show us Your lovingkindness, O LORD, and grant us Your salvation; Psalm 85:7(NASB) yes, let Your salvation be near to those who fear You, that glory may dwell in our land. Let lovingkindness and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other: Let truth spring from the earth and righteousness look down from heaven; yes, let the LORD give what is good: Let righteousness go before Him and make His footsteps into a way. Psalm 85:9-13(NASB)
For the continuance of the gospel among us and the means of grace, and a national profession of Christ’s holy religion.
O let the throne of Christ endure forever among us, Psalm 45:6(NASB) even the place of Your sanctuary, that glorious throne on high from the beginning. Jeremiah 17:12(NASB)
Let our lampstand never be removed out of its place, though that is what we deserve, because we have left our first love. Revelation 2:4-5(NASB) Never do to us as You did to Your place which was in Shiloh, where You made Your name dwell at the first. Jeremiah 7:12(NASB)
Let us never know what a famine of the word means; nor ever be forced to stagger from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth, to seek the word of God. Amos 8:11-12(NASB)
O Lord, be the stability of our times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; and let the fear of the LORD be our treasure: Isaiah 33:6(NASB) Let the righteous flourish among us, and let there be those who fear You in our land, while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations; Psalm 72:5(NASB) that there may be abundance of peace, Psalm 72:7(NASB) and the children yet to be created may praise the LORD. Psalm 102:18(NASB)
Pray for the Continuance of your Nation’s Outward Peace and Tranquility
For the continuance of our outward peace and tranquility, our liberty and plenty, for the prosperity of our trade, and a blessing upon the fruits of the earth.
Let God Himself be a wall of fire around us and the glory in our midst; Zechariah 2:5(NASB) yes, let His gospel be our glory, and upon all that glory let there be a defense; and create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion and over her assemblies, a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night. Isaiah 4:5(NASB)
Peace be within our borders and prosperity within our palaces, Psalm 122:7(NASB) the prosperity both of merchandise and husbandry, that Zebulun may rejoice in his going forth and Issachar in his tents. Deuteronomy 33:18(NASB)
Set up walls and ramparts for us as security; and, to that end, let the gates be opened, that the righteous nation may enter, the one that remains faithful. Isaiah 26:1-2(NASB)
Make peace our administrators and righteousness our overseers; let violence never be heard again in our land, devastation or destruction within our borders, but let our walls be called salvation and our gates praise: Isaiah 60:17-18(NASB) Never let our land be termed “Forsaken” and “Desolate,” but let the Lord delight in us, and let our land be married to him. Isaiah 62:4(NASB)
Let our well-being be like a river and, to that end, our righteousness like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:14(NASB) Let that righteousness abound among us which exalts a nation, and deliver us from sin, which is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34(NASB)
Never make our heavens like bronze and our earth like iron, Deuteronomy 28:23(NASB) nor take back Your grain at harvest time and Your new wine in its season; Hosea 2:9(NASB) but pour down rain for us, the early and latter rains in their seasons, Joel 2:23(NASB) and keep for us the appointed weeks of the harvest, Jeremiah 5:24(NASB) giving us fair weather also in its season. Let our land yield its produce and the trees their fruit, that we may eat our food to the full and live securely in our land. Leviticus 26:4-5(NASB)
Abundantly bless our provision and satisfy our needy with bread, Psalm 132:15(NASB) that those who garner it may eat and praise the LORD. Isaiah 62:9(NASB) Do not blow it away, for then when we look for much, it will come to little; Haggai 1:9(NASB) but bless our blessings, that all nations may call us blessed and a delightful land. Malachi 3:10-12(NASB)
Pray for the Moral Decency and Civility of your Nation
For the success of all endeavors for the reformation of manners, the suppression of vice and profaneness, the support of religion and virtue, and the bringing of them into reputation.
O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; for You are the righteous God who tries the hearts and minds. Psalm 7:9(NASB) Spirit many to stand up for You against evildoers and to take their stand for You against those who do wickedness. Psalm 94:16(NASB)
Let the Deliverer come to Zion and remove ungodliness from Jacob; Romans 11:26(NASB) and let the filth of Jerusalem be washed away from its midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning. Isaiah 4:4(NASB)
Let those who are striving against sin never grow weary or lose heart. Hebrews 12:3-4(NASB)
Set Your people high above all nations, for praise, fame, and honor, by making us a consecrated people to the LORD our God. Deuteronomy 26:19(NASB)
Pray for the Healing of your Nation’s Unhappy Divisions
For the healing of our unhappy divisions and the making up of our breaches.
For the divisions that are among us, there are great searchings of heart; Judges 5:16(NASB) for there are three against two and two against three in a household. Luke 12:52(NASB) But is the breach as vast as the sea, which cannot be healed? Lamentations 2:13(NASB) Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of our people been restored? Jeremiah 8:22(NASB) Lord, heal the breaches of our land, for because of them it totters. Psalm 60:2(NASB)
I beg in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that there may be no divisions among us, but that we may be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10(NASB)
Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant us to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord we may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 15:5-6(NASB) and promote the common salvation. Jude 1:3(NASB)
Lord, keep us from judging one another and regarding one another with contempt, Romans 14:10(NASB) and give us to pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another; Romans 14:19(NASB) that living in love and peace, the God of love and peace may be with us. 2 Corinthians 13:11(NASB)
Let nothing be done from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let me regard others as more important than myself; Philippians 2:3(NASB) and grant that my gentle spirit may be known to all men, because the Lord is near. Philippians 4:5(NASB)
Pray for your Head of State
For all orders and degrees of men, and all I stand in any relation to. For my nation’s Head of State, that God will protect his person, preserve his health, and continue his life and government long a public blessing.
Give our ruler Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness, Psalm 72:1(NASB) that he may vindicate the afflicted of the people, save the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor. Psalm 72:4(NASB)
Let his rule be established with righteousness, Proverbs 25:5(NASB) and upheld with mercy. Proverbs 20:28(KJV) Give him long life and length of days forever and ever; and let his glory be great through Your salvation. Make him joyful with gladness in Your presence: through the lovingkindess of the Most High let him not be shaken. Psalm 21:4-7(NASB)
Clothe his enemies with shame, but let him shine; Psalm 132:18(NASB) and continue him long, very long, as a guardian to Your Israel. Isaiah 49:23(NASB)
Pray for the Safe and Righteous Continuation of your Civil Government
For the safe and righteous continuation of our civil government, that a blessing may attend it, that peace and truth may be established in our days and secured to posterity, and that the hopes of our adversaries and all their aiders and abettors may be extinguished.
Lord, preserve to us the lamp that You have prepared for Your Anointed, Psalm 132:17(NASB) that the generation to come may know You, even the children yet to be born, that they may put their confidence in God and keep His commandments. Psalm 78:6-7(NASB)
Let the gospel-believing church abide before God forever: Appoint lovingkindness and truth that they may preserve it, so we will sing praise to Your name forever. Psalm 61:7-8(NASB) Thus, let the Lord save Zion and build the cities of Judah, and the descendents of Your servants will inherit it, and those who love Your name will dwell in it. Psalm 69:35-36(NASB)
Let their design who would appoint a leader to return to Egypt, Numbers 14:4(NASB) be again defeated; and let not the fatal wound that has been given to the beast be healed anymore. Revelation 13:11-12(NASB)
Let our eyes see Jerusalem, the city of our appointed feasts, an undisturbed habitation, a tent which will not be folded: Let none of its stakes be pulled up, nor any of its cords be torn apart, but let the Majestic One, the LORD, be for us a place of rivers and wide canals; for the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king, He will save us. Isaiah 33:20-22(NASB)
Pray for all who are Employed in the Conduct of Public Affairs
For the advisers, cabinet members, members of Congress or Parliament, the ambassadors and envoys abroad, and all who are employed in the conduct of public affairs.
Counsel my nation’s counselors, and teach its elders wisdom: Psalm 105:22(NASB) O give them a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and strength, a spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD, to make them delight in the fear of the LORD. Isaiah 11:2-3(NASB)
O do not deprive the trusted ones of speech nor take away the discernment of the elders, Job 12:20(NASB) nor ever let the things which make for the nation’s peace be hidden from the eyes of those who are instructed with the nation’s counsels. Luke 19:42(NASB)
Make it to appear that You take Your stand in Your own congregation and judge in the midst of the rulers, Psalm 82:1(NASB) and that when the princes of the people assemble themselves as the people of the God of Abraham, the God of Abraham Himself is among them; and let the shields of the earth belong to the Lord, that He may be highly exalted. Psalm 47:9(NASB)
Let there be those from among my nation who rebuild the ancient ruins and raise up the age-old foundations, that they may be called the repairers of the breaches and restorers of the streets in which to dwell. Isaiah 58:12(NASB)
Pray for your Judges and Judicial Rulers
For the magistrates, the judges, and justices of peace in the several counties and corporations.
Make those who rule over my nation righteous, ruling in the fear of God; 2 Samuel 23:3(NASB) and let those who judge remember that they do not judge for man but for the LORD, who is with them when they render judgment, that therefore the fear of the LORD may be upon them. 2 Chronicles 19:6-7(NASB)
Make them able men and men of truth, men who fear God and hate dishonest gain, Exodus 18:21(NASB) that justice may roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Amos 5:24(NASB)
Enable my nation’s magistrates to vindicate the weak and fatherless, to do justice to the afflicted and destitute, to rescue the weak and needy, and to deliver them out of the hand of the wicked; Psalm 82:3-4(NASB) and let rulers never be a terror to good works, but to the evil. Romans 13:4(NASB)
In Christ and for His glory alone,