By Maria Bohan
This year, it seems like Independence Day could not come at a more difficult time.
With each day, something more controversial comes to light, and national pride dwindles.
But perhaps at this is time of protest, we should be proudest to be Americans. We live in a place where disagreement is not a death sentence. With these four prayers, show your gratitude to God for giving the Founding Fathers the strength to declare independence on this day nearly 250 years ago.
Finally, ask God to help us preserve the rights those revolutionaries fought so hard to get—to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
1. God Almighty, in whose name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have the grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (Adapted from 1979 Book of Common Prayer, Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA)
2. God of justice, you guide all creation with care.On this Independence Day, we recall the day when our country claimed its place among the family of nations. You reveal that those who work for peace will be called your sons and daughters. Continue to send your Spirit to touch the hearts and minds of all who cherish the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And as you have called us to be one nation, grant that under your providence our country may share your blessings with all the peoples of the earth. We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. (Father Dominic, SCJ)
3. Eternal God, stir our minds and stimulate our hearts with a high sense of patriotism on this Fourth of July. May all that this day symbolizes renew our faith in freedom, our devotion to democracy, and redouble our efforts to keep a government of the people, by the people, and for the people truly alive in our world.Grant that we may highly resolve on this great day to dedicate ourselves anew to the task of ushering in an era when good will shall live in the hearts of a free people, justice shall be the light to guide their feet, and peace shall be the goal of humankind to the glory of your holy name and the good of our Nation and of all mankind. Amen. (Prayer offered in Congress by Chaplain, Rev. Edward G. Latch, D.D. Wednesday 1974)
4. Jesus spoke to us a message of peace and taught us to live as brothers and sisters.Jesus’ message took form in the vision of our Founding Fathers, as they fashioned a nation where all people might live as one. This message lives on in our midst as a task for us today and a promise for tomorrow. We thank you for your blessings in the past, and for all that, with your help, we must yet achieve. Bless our nation and bless each of us. As we thank you for our independence, may we extend its blessings to our youngest brothers and sisters, the children in the womb. Hasten the day when our nation will be a nation with liberty and justice, not just for some, but for all. Amen. (Adapted from www.priestsforlife.org)
Maria Bohan is a Volunteer for the Communications and Development Office at the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York. She is a student at Bryn Mawr College majoring in English and a graduate of Pearl River High School.