Independence Day Prayer

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I was asked to offer the invocation and benediction yesterday at a patriotic service sponsored by Mountain Top on the Move and held at the Wright Township facility. The prayers are below:

Invocation (with the first three lines of the third stanza borrowed from The Book of
Common Prayer
Holy God, we give you thanks
for the beauty of this day;
for our young people, their honor,
and their musical gifts;
for our veterans, their legacy of
service and sacrifice;
for our public servants, elected
and appointed, in uniforms and in suits, professional and volunteer;
for our community and the countless
small contributions that make it home for all of us.
We pray, as the Scriptures say, “for all those in authority”
(1 Timothy 2.1), that they may
be blessed with the gift of wisdom,
tend to the public good, and
lead with courage to do the right
even when it goes against public opinion.
Lord 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 grace
to maintain our liberties in
righteousness and peace,
to treasure our unique gift without
falling into pride,
to care for our neighbor and
welcome the stranger.
With respect for the great diversity of our American
tradition and the many ways we offer prayer, I offer this prayer in the name of
our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Benediction (the
Aaronic blessing, from Numbers 6.24-26)
The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you