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#SayALittlePrayer..."God bless America."

by Phil Miglioratti

 

NOTE: Scroll for:

1 commentary, 2 Tweets,  3 Steps, 4 Critical Questions, 5 Action Plans, 6 Prayer Starters

 

I grew up hearing Kate Smith sing "God Bless America" 

          God bless America, land that I love
          Stand beside her and guide her
          Through the night with the light from above

          From the mountains to the prairies
          To the oceans white with foam
          God bless America, my home sweet home

...and decades later was thrilled when a stadium filled with fans sang this prayer-to-God song during the 7th inning stretch.

Like our nation;'s motto, "In God We Trust," I assumed this expressed the true heart of our nation; a declaration of authentic trust in the living God and a sincere act of thanksgiving for the abundant blessings we have received. 

 

But lately, I have second thoughts when I hear or sing the song.

 

When we speak or sing those three words, we are truly asking God to bless our nation. A petition to send good things our way (healthy bodies and a healthy economy). A plea to stop bad things (like pandemics, violence, raging fires). A biblical and very much needed prayer...but I have a concern.

 

Concern this song is too easily sung with more sentimentality than spirituality. A God-bless-my-America worldview . A pining for a good-old-days status quo. A generic prayer that is as patriotic as it is genuine intercession ... which easily produces an Americanized religion that dilutes vibrant faith in the God we trust.  

 

The blessings individuals seek from a "God bless America" prayer are usually motivated by a personal need or an existential threat; the fear of destruction or damage or a dramatic decrease to our way of life. The good things we seek are those that will bless me-myself-and-I. Typically, "God bless America'' is an ask for help that will directly benefit me.

 

While I heartily "Amen!" presenting our personal petitions to the Lord (like you, I do this every day), I am also convinced the Church is responsible to pray corporately for the corporate needs of our nation and our communities. We must pray beyond personal interests into God's blessings that influence our nation and impact the wide diversity of communities. Those blessings that pour forth from conviction and confession; lived-out repentance and Spirit-led renewal)

 

We need a fresh wind of the Spirit that moves prayer champions to take a fresh look at our "God bless America'' prayers, so that more Christians and more congregations present requests for the blessings that correspond more to the broken heart of God. than to our help-me list of daily needs. Yes, we must pray for personal needs. But also for neighborhoods. And our nation.

 

The Church is called to pray for a practical and piercing application of biblical truths to our sociological problems, but I fear (and hear) prayer that sounds more politicized than prophetic.

May "God, bless America" become a prayer of response to Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor.”

How might God bless America if we present petitions on behalf of people who are beyond our family and friends? First responders. Fire fighters. Police officers. Local leaders. School teachers. Trend setters. Can we disciple the Church to pray not from but into political issues? For other ethnicities? For the unborn and the uncared for? For those in need as well as those who lead?

God will bless America. When God's people pray. In humility ("God resists you when you are proud but continually pours out grace when you are humble." James 4:6) . When we turn back to God. When we stop sinning. God will bless America by forgiving us and making our land fertile again (2 Chronicles 7:14) 

 

3 Steps 

...as we pursue a new "God, bless America" prayer ...

 

  • ASK the Spirit of God to reveal our personal blind spots that keep us/the Church focused on our needs
    • Welcome the conviction of sin (knowing our guilt before the Lord)
    • Invite a spirit of contrition (authentic sorrow for our sin)
    • Offer a sincere confession ("to say the same thing;" agreeing with God about our personal and corporate sin) 
  • SEEK the filling of the Holy Spirit that empowers us to pray with: 
    • the heart of God - we become broken-hearted for that which the Spirit reveals as disobedience to God (the Church; our culture)
    • and the mind of Christ (understanding the difference between being right and acting righteous)
  • KNOCK for doors to be opened, so that as we say "God, bless America" our prayer vista extends into:
    • new people groups representing the vast diversity of ethnicities and affinities in our nation; in our neighborhood
    • different places: cities, communities
    • various things: issues and institutions that influence our culture
    • "God, bless America  ______ (with, by, through, so that) ..."  

 

4 Critical Questions

...to set a new direction in our praying

  1. "God, how do you want to bless America?"
  2. "God, what is stopping you from blessing America?"
  3. "God, how are you blessing America in ways we are blind to?"
  4. "God, in what ways must the Church change before we can be useful to you in blessing America?"

 

5 Action Plans

...to fresh start our church/ministry/church

  1. Revise your Prayer List to include:
  • Those who are lost: lost without Christ, families who lost their home from wildfire or hurricane, lost loved ones to COVID-19, lost a job
  • Those who lead: our Churches, our communities, influence through government-education-entertainment
  • Those with less: under-resourced, unhealthy and unable to work, without access to health care, good schools, safe neighborhoods, homeless
  • Those we love: family, brothers and sisters in other nations serving, sacrificing...
  1. Read a book together:
  • Ask everyone to purchase a book after they pray for guidance
  • Ask everyone to post the book they chose on social media  
  1. Establish a weekly ZOOM call to discuss what they are learning about prayer, community impact, discipleship...

  2. Interview community leaders

                        >"When our church/group asks God to bless America, what would you                                  want us to be sure to ask for?"

                        >Pastors - Principals - Business Owners - First Responders - Government                           Officials – Neighbors

  1. Develop a Prayer Rhythm:

                       Daily prayer prompts

                       Weekly prayer calls

                       Monthly prayer themes/gatherings

                       Quarterly prayer training

                                   Read this brief article>>>

 

6 Prayer Starters​

  1. God, bless America by... convicting us of the sins we committed throughout our history (conquest of First Nations people, enslaving Africans, providing liberty and justice for some ...
  2. God, bless America by... teaching us how to confess then commit to praying our nation will “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (all people) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness”
  3. God, bless America by... revealing and removing our political blind spots that cause the Church to battle over political platforms rather than pray unitedly for “Thy kingdom come”
  4. God, bless America...with a Church that champions unborn babies as well as those unaborted but under-resourced
  5. God, bless America...with new leaders who, ked by your Spirit, dare to reimagine Church based on the radical, apolitical, life-transforming, culture-impacting, Gospel of Jesus 
  6. God, bless America... with a Church not conformed to the traditions-systems-methods-calendars-budgets of Churchianity but transformed by the renewing or how we think about the focus-form-and function of God's people

 

2 Tweets

  • #SayALittlePrayer...God bless America into a nation that provides and protects liberty and justice for all.    a href="http://Reimagne.Network&gt">http://Reimagne.Network>
  • #SayALittlePrayer...God bless America with a prophetic challenge from the Church to love God (“In God We Trust”?) and love our neighbor (black or white;

 

 

 

Views: 209

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Replies to This Discussion

How about we start with #0.

We need to stop COMMANDING God to Bless America.

A simple, "Please God, Bless America..." and then continue the praying or singing of this, this... plea as Phil has shared.

Maybe our first confession should be the sin of COMMANDING God to do anything, much less, fulfill our DEMAND that He BLESS AMERICA!

Please Lord, make it clear to us what You want us to pray moment by moment and prayer by prayer, so that we pray according to Your will. In Jesus Christ's Name, amen.

From Featured Contributor Ken Oliver - - 

 

We have in the past looked to America as the New Israel, a vision we got from our Puritan ancestors.  The God Bless America prayer has been said in that light; namely God has blessed America, and therefore we call upon God to help us return to God in the same way ancient Israel was admonished to return to God by the prophets. 

I want to suggest, if that prayer was ever valid – a point of discussion for historians – it is no longer valid.  We are a nation influenced by our Christian heritage as well as the Enlightenment.  However, we are not a “Christian nation” in the same way that ancient Israel was God’s people.  When we pray “If my people who are called by my name . . .” we must remember that God’s name is not America and therefore the prayer does not apply to the nation as a whole, but to the Christians within the nation.  I am thankful that my Baptist heritage always understood that citizenship and membership in God’s family were two different things.

Today, I believe that the God Bless America prayer should be based on Jeremiah 29:7.  We are to fully participate in the nation, seeking its well-being and finding our home here, yet knowing that this is not our ultimate home.  We are to pray for the city in which we find ourselves exiles – for all Christians while we are here on this earth are exiles from the heavenly kingdom.

In This 2020 Election Season,
David Bryant Calls Jesus Followers
to Become "Royalists"!

Shawn A. Akers / Charisma Media

We are coming to the climax of what many say has been the most important election in American history. As a former pastor and a constant messenger for a nationwide Christ Awakening movement, David Bryant wants people to know the primary issue we face is not about which candidates emerged victoriously.

For believers, David says, the issue is so much more significant. That's why he says that first of all, he's not a Democrat or Republican. Instead, he calls himself a royalist—meaning that he belongs to the "party" made up of saints on earth and in heaven who support "the Son who reigns over every single leader recently elected."

This season on a 
Greenelines podcast episode, Dr. Steve Greene discusses this unique concept of being a "royalist" with David, who told him, in part:

"A royalist asks this about America: What would it look like if God were to bring alive in this nation a greater fulfillment of some of the mighty kingdom promises he's given his people through the Savior seated at God's right hand?"

Then, Bryant asks: "Can I live without seeing that happening for our nation? The answer is NO! But, can I, by myself, produce such miracles? The answer again is NO! Therefore, my only option is that I must seek in prayer as well as proclaim the hope of this larger work of the Lord Jesus and his saving reign for the future of our nation.

"That's why I say that I'm a royalist rather than a Democrat or Republican—because I want to see Christ's transforming supremacy breaking through with power across our land."


To hear more from David Bryant on his vision, tune in here to listen to his entire Greenlines podcast interview with Dr. Steve Greene.

To hear more of David's vision for a Christ Awakening in America in this hour, listen to Episodes 153-155 of his CHRIST TODAY Podcast with David Bryant 
here.

A response to me on my Facebook page - -

I know your heart, and I know that you are not trying to push a political agenda, but just trying to get fellow evangelicals to examine their own presuppositions that marry conservative, pro-Trump politics with our faith.

Regardless of your preference for Republicans or Democrats, evangelicals need to wake up to the realization that this marriage is interfering with our primary mission, that is spreading the Good News about Jesus.

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