The Kingdom of God and the United States of America share a unique quality; their citizenship is not based on ethnicity or race. Being a legal citizen of the United States or God’s Kingdom is not a matter of birth, but of the heart. For just as America adopts those who come to her shores looking for liberty, the Lord also adopts those who come into a relationship with him looking for freedom. Both bring hope to the hopeless and the promise of a better tomorrow. The words engraved on the Statue of Liberty from the 1883 Emma Lazarus poem, “The New Colossus”, welcoming those coming to America reads:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Can this not also be said of our Father in Heaven? Those who are tired and poor, those who have never tasted liberty, those who have been tossed aside by society; they all come to America for what freedom can be offered by Earth, and to the Father for eternal freedom and grace. Just as Lady Liberty lifts her lamp so the lost can find their way, so did the Father lift up the Light of the World upon a cross so the lost might be found.
However, an earthy institution that offers freedom can only be successful when the hand of the Almighty, the one who brings true freedom and liberty, is upon it. How can we expect to offer the things of God unless he is in it? Perhaps Benjamin Franklin said it best when he stood before the members of the Constitutional Convention and said,
“…God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured in the sacred writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” -Benjamin Franklin
We, as Christian patriots, have a responsibility to lift our nation and our leaders up in prayer. This requires us to put aside our prejudice and political bias. Whether we call ourselves Republican or Democrat, progressive or moderate, conservative or liberal, we must remember that God has appointed those who are in power. Paul wrote, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1). Whether or not we agree with them, we’re not only called to submit ourselves to those in authority, but are commanded to pray for them. Paul also wrote,
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
The Book of Psalms is filled with the national prayers of Israel. In some, the Israelites praise the Father and in others they cry out in their suffering. But whatever the prayer, the psalms are filled with prayers of sincere emotion. We, as Christians in America, must stop keeping God at arm’s length when we pray. We must kneel before him with sincerity and a heart for our nation.
Biblical history shows us that Israel prospered when it called out to God, but failed when it withdrew from a relationship with him. Can we expect more favor from God than Israel if we turn our attention away from him? Certainly not. God has made a clear promise to those who prosper him:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
The purpose of this book is that we, with one Christian voice, might call out to our God, that he may watch over the land of the free with protection and grace. For he has promised to lift up that which is holy and heal that which is not.
We must again become a people who pray.
We must again become a nation who serves the Kingdom.
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© Joshua J. Masters and American Psalms, 2012.