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A Fourth of July prayer

When we set off firecrackers, eat hot dogs and burgers and otherwise celebrate the Fourth of July, let us not forget that we were founded by people of Christian faith who not only believed in God, but trusted in him for their future.  Every now and then the idea will pop up that God is dead or that we don’t need to follow his direction.  The cacophony of believers all across the world refute that by their very existence. We should do more.

We should rely on God for the formation and re-formation of our country. We must never take for granted the gift to worship and serve God, lest it be taken away from us by a minority of nonbelievers.

Most of our founding fathers and mothers were glad to find themselves under the leadership and love of Almighty God. It was the only thing higher than the godless rulers and war-torn world of the 18th century.

James Madison, our fourth president, wrote: “As it is our duty to extend our wishes to the happiness of the great family of man, I conceive that we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world that the rod of tyrants may be broken to pieces, and the oppressed made free again; that wars may cease in all the earth, and that the confusions that are and have been among nations may be overruled by promoting and speedily bringing on that holy and happy period when the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and all people everywhere willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is Prince of Peace.”

He saw what our leaders desperately need to see today.  That no matter what governments or their leaders may do to destroy society as God has set it up, God is stronger, and his will goes forward no matter what happens in our world.

He saw the kingdom of God taking root in society when everyone came to knowledge of a God who brings people together rather than tear them apart. One by one, people believe.  When they believe, God leads them to peace, love and forgiveness.

Where is America’s strength?  It is in her churches.  It is in people who not only believe in God but whose lives have been so transformed by him that they live higher, love more and lift up those in need.

French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831, said, “I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields and boundless forests--and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system and in her institutions of higher learning--and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution--and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!”

My prayer is that we will never cease to be good. I pray that more and more will see that the reason they live is to serve God and love others. I pray for men and women to discover anew the God who created this world rather than trying to prove he did not.  I pray for the church to once again become the center of society and take up her role as prophet to show us where we must go.

I pray that we will realize that we have gone too far by being silent, and not far enough until Jesus Christ as savior is proclaimed as the only way to eternal life.  I pray for new laws promoting faith rather than another one, which restricts it.

I pray that teachers and students can once again pray in schools, and that the faith, which makes us good and moral will once again be preeminent. That the worst thing in school misbehavior will be once again bubble gum or spitballs rather than drugs and guns.  I pray for legislation, which puts Christianity back in the schools rather than seeking to include everybody and thereby include nobody.

Along with a great soldier and man of faith Robert E. Lee, “I tremble for my country when I hear of confidence expressed in me.” He writes further, “I know too well my weakness, that our only hope is in God.

Yes, our only hope is in God, and the sooner we realize it the better.  As de Tocqueville said, the greatness of this country is not in nature, commerce, schools or government.  It begins with belief and trust in Almighty God.  When people can look at us as individuals, as a nation, or as a world, which is under God, then we will have returned to what made our nation great. 

So have a slice of worship right after your burger.  And may the fireworks this year be the explosions of faith, which make our world what it needs to be.