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.

Jesus: The Ultimate Example of Biblical Manhood?

The question was first posed when I read a Twitter thread asking questions about biblical manhood and womanhood, particularly as relates to being like Jesus. Soon afterwards, I heard someone assert that Jesus is the ultimate example biblical manhood. And these things got me thinking…

Christians are called to follow the example of Christ in some ways. We are not God and we are not called to die to save humanity from sin, but we are called to Christlikeness. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, the apostle Paul says, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” And again, Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.”

In some ways, it makes sense to say that Jesus could be described as the ultimate example of biblical manhood: Jesus was, of course, the perfect human, and he was a man. Thus it seems reasonable to tell men to follow the example of Christ as a way to live out their maleness in a healthy and holy way.

However, there are at least two potential problems. First, nowhere in the Bible are men in particular called to emulate the example of Christ as an example of godly masculinity. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it is wrong to do so, but it’s important to note that the Bible itself does not make this call. Second, if men are to follow Christ’s example as the ultimate example of biblical masculinity, then who are women to look to as the ultimate example of biblical femininity? To ask it in a different way, if women follow Christ, will they not be walking in obedience? Are women to follow Christ only in some ways?

I don’t have answers to these questions (yet), but I do think it’s worth considering. I’m curious if you all have any thoughts on this.

Here’s what I do know: Jesus Christ, God become human, is not primarily our example; he is primarily our Savior. He knew neither sinful nature nor particular sins, yet he (in some mysterious way) took on our sin and the punishment we deserved for it, so that we could, by faith, receive the gift of the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.That is the most important thing to know about Jesus.

And secondly, we are called, once we are saved, to live out our new identity as ones who are forgiven and adopted children of God. This is possible because of Christ in us, making us new. And it is reasonable in light of the great work of salvation God has joyfully wrought for those who trust him.

So let us all–male and female–press on to know, love, imitate, and serve our Savior today and every day.

Three Guiding Principles for the Church

Sometimes it’s good to get back to basics. Doing so may reveal that we’ve gotten off track. Or it may affirm and empower us in the way in which we are already going.

With so many voices and competing truth claims pulling us this way and that, it behooves us to recall what it is that we are to be about as Christians, both individually and collectively. And when we turn to the Bible, God has given three main guiding principles. They are:

  • The Creation Mandate
  • The Great Commandment
  • The Great Commission

Let’s look at each briefly.

The Creation Mandate

Otherwise known as “The Cultural Mandate,” this is the nickname given to Genesis 1:28 which says: “God blessed them and said to them,Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'” Christians throughout the ages have seen this as a call to cultural, familial, and societal participation. It calls people to get married and have children. To work to provide for yourself. To contribute to society. To pursue creative endeavors. To grow food. To take care of animals. To build cities. To seek the good of your community.

These ideas are echoed elsewhere in Scripture. To The Jewish exiles, the prophet Jeremiah passes on a message from God, urging them to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7) The Apostle Paul also reminds the Thessalonian church: “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

This guiding principle tells us that God assigns dignity to the mundane, to the normal parts of life. God does not call us only to evangelism or only to loving one another; he calls us also to work in the contexts of creation and our families and communities.

The Great Commandment

We see this spoken by Jesus in Luke 10:27. “He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” It is the call to be guided by love in all we do–first by love for God and then by love of other people. We love God by learning about him, using our energy to serve him, and communing with him. 1st Corinthians 13 lists ways that we can love our fellow humans–by treating them with kindness, being patient, assuming the best, and speaking the truth. This principle, the call to be guided by love, reminds us that God cares not just about our knowledge, but also about our affections and motivations.

The Great Commission

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commissions his disciples specifically and the church generally, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Similar ideas are expressed in Acts 1:8, which quotes Jesus as saying, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The idea is that Christ wants his church to grow—in breadth (making new converts) and in depth (creating mature disciples). Another component of “breadth” is that Jesus wants disciples of all kinds of people. Following the pattern of Acts 1:8, Christians are to evangelize and disciple those near to them (Jerusalem), those unlike them (Samaria), and those far away from them (the ends of the earth). This guiding principle reminds local church bodies to look beyond themselves in the cause of bringing people to maturity in Christ. It may require immense effort and discomfort, and yet it is what God has called and empowered the church to do! Christ will build his church, the Gates of Hell will not prevail, and he calls us to participate in such a work.

Conclusion

When the church neglects any one of these principles, it becomes unbalanced; worse, it fails to live according to the call that God has given. On a corporate level, various denominations may tend to focus on one principle while neglecting another. On individual level, a person’s culture or personality may lend itself more towards one over the others. The point is not that everyone needs to apply these principles in the same way, but rather that all three should be pursued in some way–individually, yes; but even moreso, corporately.

On the other hand, to those who feel discouraged, unsure if their tasks matter, may these principles offer encouragement. Whether you are caring for children at home, making beautiful YouTube videos, teaching missionary kids, holding the hands of the sick, praying with a co-worker, or participating in local government—what you are doing matters for God’s Kingdom! Press on, dear friends!

So, in closing, let us remember the dignity of work, the beauty of creativity, and the weight of our duties to society and family. May we be guided by holy affections and motivations. And may we live out the vision of the expansion and maturity of Christ’s church.

Let’s get back to basics, shall we?

~Hannah 🌸