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As believers in a God who hears and answers prayer, Christians should be at the forefront of those who stand in the gap for our country. What better time to be called to pray for our country and government than on Memorial Day weekend?
Memorial Day is more than a three-day weekend for watermelon, cookouts, and s’mores. It is more than the unofficial start of summer. Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom we enjoy. Originally named Decoration Day and started shortly after the Civil War claimed the lives of more than 600,000 Americans, Memorial Day did not become an official federal holiday until 1971. Even so, it has been celebrated on May 30 – or the last Monday of May after 1970 – for more than 125 years.
I encourage you to celebrate this day with something more than hotdogs and hamburgers. Celebrate by remembering the more than a million people who have died since the founding of our country to secure freedom. Celebrate by remembering the more than 2,000 who have died since 9/11. Celebrate by honoring the fallen with flowers on graves and parades in their honor. And if you know of any family who has paid the price personally, thank them.
Also, while you’re planning your ribs, potato salad, and strawberry shortcake menu, be sure to set aside some time to talk to your children about the significance of Memorial Day and the importance of praying for our country and government. Impress upon them that not all are called to serve, not all are called to die, but all believers are called to pray for their country.
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior. 1 Timothy 2:1-3
We are called to pray “for kings and all who are in authority.” That phrase, “all who are in authority” covers a lot of ground: president, Congress, governor, state legislature, mayor, city council, and judges are just a few of those at whom this call to prayer is aimed. We are also called to pray so that “we may lead a tranquil and quiet life.” A life where we live in peace and freedom. Where we have the freedom to live by the decrees of God’s Word, freedom to share the love of God with others, and freedom to worship our God as we see fit. Where we are not threatened with loss of livelihood, possessions, or life for following the Biblical way. A life of tranquility is the goal of prayer for those in authority.
We are also called upon to seek the peace, the welfare, the prosperity of the place where we live. Jeremiah 29:7 (NIV) says:
Also, 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.”
How do we “seek the peace and prosperity” of the city where we live? Part of that would be prayer. But there may be more, depending on where and who you are. Running for school board, writing letters to government officials, or simply voting are all ways to seek the peace and prosperity of your city. So are working at your job diligently, obeying traffic laws, and separating your recyclables. Anything you do that contributes to the smooth running of society is seeking peace and prosperity. So, dial back the road rage and let someone cut in front of you occasionally. Bring those reusable bags with you shopping – because stewardship of the planet is part of seeking the prosperity of the city. And, as you enjoy time with family and friends, don’t forget to set aside some time to pray.
One more thing – if you don’t know how to pray for your country, check out the post I did on 20 Ways to Pray for Your Government, Country, and Military. And pick up the printable in the free 20 Ways to Pray book.