July 4, 2017: Celebrating America’s independence and our dependence on God

On July 4, 2017, the Verse of the Day makes known the position of the Lord God Almighty toward the nations of the world:

Psalm 33:10-12 (Message Bible):

God takes the wind out of Babel pretense, he shoots down the world’s power-schemes. God’s plan for the world stands up, all his designs are made to last. Blessed is the country with God for God; blessed are the people he’s put in his will.

The Amplified Bible offers this rendering:

The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations;
He makes the thoughts and plans of the people ineffective.
11
The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The thoughts and plans of His heart through all generations.
12
Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people whom He has chosen as His own inheritance.

On this Fourth of July, when so much that plagues our nation appears beyond our control, we not only celebrate our independence as a nation, but we also recognize more than ever our dependence upon God as well. During these presently turbulent times, never has there been a greater need for divine guidance and direction for the nation though prayer. The words of the spiritual continue to ring true, declaring, “There is trouble all over this world.” During such times of desperation and deepest need, our nation cries out to God.

O God our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come.
Our shelter from the stormy blast
And our eternal home.

In “History Reflection for 4th of July: How Prayer Underpinned American Independence” Fr. Stephen Lynch, states, “Prayer played an important role in the American struggle for independence.” He goes on to relate a request that the meetings of the Continental Congress be opened with prayer. After considerable disagreement, the Congress agreed to have the Rev. Mr. Duche read a prayer. John Adams describes what transpired:

Accordingly, next morning the Rev. Duche appeared with his Episcopal vestments and read the 85th Psalm. I never saw a greater effect produced upon an audience. It seemed as if heaven had ordained that psalm to be read on that morning.

George Washington was kneeling there, alongside him Patrick Henry, James Madison, and John Hancock. By their side there stood, bowed in reverence, the Puritan patriots of New England, who at that moment had reason to believe that an armed soldiery was wasting their humble households. They prayed fervently for America, for Congress, for the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially for the town of Boston [whose port had been closed and in which British troops were being quartered.

Lynch concludes by saying, “The First Continental Congress proved to be an inspiring example of the fraternal unity that can come through devout prayer.” Without question, the need to pray for our nation continues, being mindful of the words of Jesus Christ, who told his disciples “. . . it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit.”

Our reflections on the 4th of July conclude, as Michael Card offers this song as a heartfelt prayer for the nation: “Heal our Land”:

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