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Crystal Ball or Prayer?

When I was four and five years of age (a long time ago), my mother began reading to me in the evening from the Book of Common Prayer. Not your normal reading from a parent to a child, but my mother was anything but normal. She loved the prayer book. She loved the use of the English language contained therein. Above all, she loved what it had to say about who we are, whose we are and how we are to live.

She would begin with the prayers from the back of the prayer book; in our current prayer book, pages 814-841. There are two prayers in particular that were her favorites, and she was very serious about me learning them and praying them for myself. One was the prayer “In The Evening” (p.833), which she had me commit to memory and urged me to say every evening of my life (which, for the most part, I’ve done).

When you read this devotion, it will be November 5. These words will have been written a couple of weeks ago. I was very mindful, at the time of writing, of this day’s proximity to the election and had no idea what might be happening in our country. I consulted my “crystal ball” and it was silent; no help there. I was (am) anxious and concerned and know many of you were and remain so today.

The second prayer my mother taught me became part of my thinking and part of my approach to this election (solace for me, and I pray for you, in all that has been happening and all that might happen). It is a prayer entitled “For our Country” (p.820). I urge you to pray this prayer. I suggest you do so very slowly, being mindful of each phrase. I pray it sustains you as it has me. It is “spot on.”

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Rev. Dick Elwood
Pastoral Associate
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