30 Things to Pray on Patriotic Holidays

How ought Christians to pray on patriotic or military holidays? A friend of a differing political persuasion asked me this question on Memorial Day. As I pondered, I jotted down my thoughts. Now that it’s almost American Independence Day, I thought I would share them with you all! Comment your own prayer ideas in the comments below.

Here are 30 prayer topics for Christians of any country to pray on holidays honoring their nation and/or their service members:

  1. For our country, our military, and our political leaders—that we/they would be characterized by excellence, service, repentance, righteousness, truth, mercy, humility, teachability, kindness, community, goodness, integrity, and justice.
  2. For freedom for all to live in peace, safety, and community.
  3. For good laws applied equitably.
  4. For wisdom, grace, humility, and boldness for our community, state, and national leaders and their advisors as they govern, and that they will seek the good of all without partiality.
  5. That we, our nation, our churches, our political parties, our lawmakers, and our military will seek righteous ends by righteous means.
  6. That our ultimate hope will be in Christ, not ourselves, our military, our leaders, or our nation.
  7. For the gospel to be preached and loved in our families, neighborhoods, country, and the world.
  8. For allegiance to the kingdom of Christ and the building up of his kingdom above all other allegiances.
  9. For eyes to see, celebrate, and steward what is honorable in ourselves, our communities, our churches, our military, and our nation. For eyes to see and grieve that which is grievous in ourselves, our communities, our churches, our military, and our nation; and for wisdom, humility; and for grace for areas of reasonable disagreement and ethical gray areas.
  10. That God will give us political leaders who value truth, human dignity, and justice.
  11. For safety for our military, our nation, and all peoples.
  12. For the end of aggression, violence, and genocide.
  13. For those defending themselves and others—for boldness, provision, wisdom, and righteousness.
  14. For those who have served honorable causes in honorable ways—that they will be appropriately honored.
  15. For acknowledgment, repentance, and restitution where war has been unjust and where standards have been applied unequally, and for appropriate accountability for past and present military or national wrongs.
  16. For those grieving the loss a loved ones—for good grief in the context of community; and comfort.
  17. For families that don’t have closure because of missing or presumed dead loved ones—for special comfort for them and for closure.
  18. For those with physical and psychological injuries from war, violence, military service, or a mobile lifestyle—for healing and support.
  19. For families and communities grieving losses in the context of invasion, injustice, or genocide.
  20. For provision, support, and community for military families who are deployed or have deployed family members.
  21. That we will love our neighbors well and seek the peace and prosperity of our communities.
  22. For the church to lead the way in love, repentance, truth, and justice—whether it has the support of its country or not.
  23. For awareness of and thankfulness for the political and social freedoms and blessings we have, for acknowledgment of any grief over where they have been achieved unjustly, and for the commitment to use them in the service and up-building of others.
  24. That we will be diligent to pray for our leaders, and wise in our own communal and political involvement.
  25. That we will seek to understand and care for not just of our own community, political party, or nation, but that of other communities, political parties, and nations.
  26. That our most loved freedom will be the freedom we have in Christ from sin and condemnation, and to sanctification, Kingdom life, and heaven.
  27. That we will acknowledge all our blessings and all our challenges—on a personal and on a national level—as being from God’s good hand and for his purposes.
  28. That we will trust God such that we can have hearts at peace regardless of political circumstances, and that we will be bold and kind disciples of Christ in our communities, our nations, and the world throughout changing political climates.
  29. For spiritual revival characterized by an awareness of sin, repentance, preaching of the Word, prayer, cherishing the beauty of the gospel, evangelism, renewed personal and corporate holiness, and making practical impact in local communities.
  30. For the church to have boldness to stand against the general culture where the general culture is wrong, for the humility to accept correction from the general culture when the church is wrong, and for eager willingness to work with people of all beliefs for the common good of all whenever possible.

My friends, if we are Christ’s, then we are citizens of heaven, and we are called to bear fruit as Christ’s disciples in the places in which he has put us on earth: our families, neighborhoods, local churches, communities, nations, and the world—doing our small part with love and without fear, trusting God’s commitment to grow his church and accomplish his good purposes amongst peoples and nations—looking ahead to the new heavens and the new earth, where Christ will continue his reign as King forever and ever.

Hallowing Halloween by J. Brandon Meeks

[A Necessary Preface: This article is not my own. It was originally written by J. Brandon Meeks about 5 years ago over at his blog, The High Church Puritan. For whatever reason, this particular article keeps disappearing from the internet so I am taking it upon myself to post the article here where it is not in any immediate danger of disappearing. However, if the author were to see this and request that I take it down, I will do so.]

Olympus has fallen. The old gods are dead. Poseidon has drowned in the sea of forgetfulness and Zeus has been plucked from the heavens. Like Dagon before them, they have all bowed at the feet of the Living God and lost their heads in the process.

The resurrected Christ has vanquished them all and plundered their ancient shrines and temples. He spoiled the principalities and powers that stood behind these demonic deities, and by virtue of a empty tomb and occupied throne, He chained them to His chariot wheels as a demonstration of His triumph (Col. 2:15).

The names of these deposed deities are now little more than distant memories, if they come to memory at all. No one thinks of the Viking lords when they speak of Monday, Tuesdays, and Wednesday anymore. But even the most recalcitrant secularist is reminded that Sunday is regarded by multiplied millions as the Lord’s Day—for on Sunday the Son rose.

In the beginning, God created dates and days, separated times and seasons, and then pronounced them good and blessed. Pagans, with their pygmy gods, usurped these days that God claimed for Himself. They sought to fill them with significance but ultimately failed because they were already full of it. Then, in a dramatic turn of events, God turned the world upside down, shook them loose, and claimed them for Himself once again. Sunday belongs to Him again. But what about all of the other days?

When Jesus died and rose again He conquered sin and death, but He also conquered the calendar. In His ascension gi from His Father there is nothing le outside the domain of His lordship. His redemption effected a cosmic restoration that would envelop matter, and space, and even time. When we say that Jesus “won the day,” we mean it most literally. There is nothing in the entire universe that He has declined to rest His resurrected foot upon.

Among other things, this means that the devil has no days. The Strong Man has entered into his house and plundered his goods. Death and hell are no longer under his purview. Satan doesn’t even have the keys to his own domain! They were stripped from his serpentine hands by the Alpha and Omega—the One who has even claimed the alphabet for Himself.

Our “times are in His hands” because time is in His hands. Time is in His hands because all things are in His hands. And everything that is now in His hands will eventually be under His feet. This is the victory of God. This is the good news. This is the promise of the gospel. Behold, He is making all things new.

For Christians, this is both a cause to rejoice and a call to respond. We rejoice because our God reigns. We respond in faith by joining with our King in taking back lost territory. This is the mission of the Church. So we have set up an outpost at the gates of hell and we are beating down its high walls. Eventually, those walls will be battered down and those gates will crumble. Hell’s gates cannot long prevail.

This happens every time that a person comes to faith in Christ. We see man who is a slave to sin but has not been made aware of the great “emancipation proclamation” of the gospel so we go and tell. When he responds in faith what has happened? The gates of hell have taken a hit. One square foot of enemy territory has now been possessed for the King of Glory. Onward, Christian soldier…

Though we seem to understand this principle as it pertains to personal evangelism, we seem to forget that it pertains to everything else as well. Even days. If the name of Christ is to be sanctified at all times and in all places, then we have to declare it at all times and in all places. This includes days that we have formerly written off as belonging to the opposition.

For the Christian then, Halloween (as well as other dates and days) becomes a satirical pageant; a mockery of long defeated foes. Every day that the sun rises we are reminded that Christ has ascended having finished His work, but we have not yet finished ours. Christ has struck the decisive blow, but we have the privilege of working in the mopping up operation. Thus, century by century the Christian Faith rolls back the demonic realm of ignorance, fear, and superstition. In the spirit of Elijah, we mock the dead gods and the defeated demons. They have no rightful claims upon anything in this world.

Similarly, our fathers used this same tactic when they dedicated sacred spaces such as churches and cathedrals. The gargoyles that were placed on those imposing structures were meant to be taunts. They symbolized the Church ridiculing the enemy. They stick out their tongues and make faces at those who would assault the Church. Gargoyles are not demonic; they are believers ridiculing the defeated demonic army. Just as with spaces and places, we take
dominion over times and seasons. What once may have been regarded as festivals of fear and wickedness now become celebrations of joy and gladness.

Some might object and say, “But Halloween was a day that was filled with evil superstitions.” To which we might reply, “But who has the right to fill it? And with what?”

When October 31 dawns I can dress up like the Pope and laugh because I know that my costume is no more a farce than his own own robes are. I can paint my face like a ghoulish creature and giggle because I know that Christ has “unhaunted” the world through grace. Jesus has defanged the vampires, dehorned the dragons, and displaced all principalities and powers. When we send our kids to a neighbor’s door to say, “Trick or treat,” we can smile knowing that the joke is on the devil. This is deep comedy.

What will I do on Halloween? I honestly don’t know. But I will probably get up and say what I say every other day that God allows me to live: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24).