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“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
Revelation 4:11 ESV

Welcome to Week 1 of His Own Heart’s four-week journey of PRAY-ing for America; we’re so glad you’re here beside us!

If you joined us for last week’s post, you may recall that we invited you to join us in a communal, concerted effort to pray daily over the coming weeks for the United States, its people, its leaders.  Once again, I would like to clearly state that this project is in no way related to any specific specific political party or candidate. At the same time, however, I would also like to reinforce the fact that the next 25 days or so present a crucial, critical opportunity for Christ-followers in American culture.

If you missed that post, no worries; you’re welcome to review it here. The gist of what we’re doing is as follows.

As of midnight tonight, just three Sundays remain between the publishing of this post and Election Day 2018. As we weigh the issues at stake, consider the candidates and take our turns during these weeks to go into voting booths nationwide, you and I – as followers of Jesus Christ – have the opportunity to wait with effectiveness by committing to stay in direct conversation with God through sincere, dedicated prayer about the issue at hand.

In a nutshell, I proposed that by using the acronym PRAY over these weeks we agree to come together in prayer as a means of actively seeking to make a difference in conjunction with the Difference Maker before concluding this series. The plan focuses on one letter of the word PRAYper week like so:

Week 1: Praise;

Week 2: Repentance;

Week 3: Asking (or intercession); and

Week 4: Yielding with thankful hearts to God’s will for America’s future.

A pretty straightforward effort to plug into our daily prayer routine, right? Great! Let’s get started with Week 1 – a prayer of praiseto our God for our country.

The practice of opening one’s prayer-time by offering praise to the Father through His Son is neither a new nor a self-serving one. When Jesus answered the disciples’ request to teach them to pray, in fact, His very model opened with words affirming His Father, His Father’s Name and His Father’s Kingdom – all of which the Father shares with Christ – as being worthy of praise (e.g. Luke 11:1-4, Matthew  6:9-13).

But there’s a caveat to the process of praise, one that I have to include here lest someone conclude Week 1 with a misconstrued notion. The person who offers praise to God with the intention of gaining spiritual points for lip service – in other words, “buttering Him up” as a means of gaining His favor or having prayers answered –wastes his or her time and in a very real way mocks this God Who deserves no less than honest, heartfelt, sincere worship from all of His creation. That includes you and me.

So with that idea in our hearts and minds, let’s offer our praise to the Creator:

Blessed, merciful, gracious God Who knows and sees and hears our voices from all four corners of the universe,

Today and always, we praise You wholeheartedly for the opportunity to live and work and serve and worship here in these United States of America. As such, we echo with joyful voices the words of Your servant David in Psalm 34. Webless You, Lord, at all times;Your praise is continually in our mouths; our souls boast humbly in You.Oh, how we love to magnify You,Your works and Your miracles individually and in community (Psalm 34:1-3)!

We also praise You for allowing us to be born and raised in a country where the gospel took deep root centuries before. May we never, never take for granted the mercy you extended by having the flame of Your gospel continue to not merely to burn, but also to flourish, throughout the course of our history – a past and present where Your ministers are welcome on street corners and in offices.

We praise You, and will forever be grateful, that as Americans we have the opportunity to assemble freely as churches and worship communities where we can declare our loyalty to and longing for Your Son, Jesus Christ, our coming King. We praise You for the honor of being able to teach without fear the Word of God to any willing ear. What an amazing privilege to seek at Your direction awesome opportunities to plant and strengthen churches. Not every country gets to do this.

Finally, we praise and thank You for the general sense of peace, justice, and security that we, Your servants, get to pursue in our country, and we trust Your protection. Without a doubt, there is much work to be done; America is far from perfect, and her inhabitants are as well.

On that note, we praise You for Your patience and persistent pursuit of drawing America back onto the path You originally purposed for her.

In the holy and righteous Name of Your Only Son, Our Redeemer Jesus Christ, Amen.

– Copyright 2018 Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.