Give us, O God,
leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls
and give us souls strong enough
to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.
In seeking a leader, let us seek
more than development for ourselves —
though development we hope for —
more than security for our own land —
though security we need —
more than satisfaction for our wants —
though many things we desire.
Give us the hearts to choose the leader
who will work with other leaders
to bring safety
to the whole world.
Give us leaders
who lead this nation to virtue
without seeking to impose our kind of virtue
on the virtue of others.
Give us a government
that provides for the advancement
of this country
without taking resources from others
to achieve it.
Give us insight enough ourselves
to choose as leaders those who can tell
strength from power,
growth from greed,
leadership from dominance,
and real greatness from the trappings of grandiosity.
We trust you, Great God,
to open our hearts to learn from those
to whom you speak in different tongues
and to respect the life and words
of those to whom you entrusted
the good of other parts of this globe.
We beg you, Great God,
give us the vision as a people
to know where global leadership truly lies,
to pursue it diligently,
to require it to protect human rights
for everyone everywhere.
We ask these things, Great God,
with minds open to your word
and hearts that trust in your eternal care.
Today, O God. I hold before you the rulers of nations —
Kings, Queens, Presidents, Prime Ministers — all who
are in positions of supreme leadership.
I can be quick to criticize: help me, Lord to first enter
their dilemma. On most issues of state I have the luxury
of withholding judgment, of not committing myself,
of sitting on the fence. Even when I have an opinion,
it has little influence and seldom any consequence.
Not so with rulers of the nations.
To the extent that they really lead, they must
make decisions, even if they are poor ones.
Help these leaders, O God, in the loneliness of their decisions.
Put wise counselors around them. Take, I pray, the bits
and pieces of virtue that are in each ruler and cause them
to grow and mature. And take all the destructive motives
and cause them to vanish like smoke in the wind.
Lord, I know that many — and perhaps most —
rulers do not know you, nor do they seek you.
But you seek them! Help them see how good right decisions are.
And where decisions must be made that are not in their
own interest, deepen their sense of duty. Having seen
the light, give them the courage to walk in the light.
Prayer for Those in Statecraft and International Relations
Sovereign Lord, We pray for the people who are charged with
representing our nation as they bridge culture, race, and
religion to painstakingly negotiate terms of trade and forge
alliances of security. May they view their task as sacred
and be filled with hope, creativity, and endurance so that
the bonds they forge among nations may bring mutual benefit
and lasting peace.
Lord, help our leaders to look beyond grand palaces and
corporate offices to consider carefully the effects that the
policies they are creating will have on the humble homes of
average citizens. May America be girded by the spirit of
cooperation and generosity that recognizes the needs of others
alongside our own so that the entire world might enjoy a
common wealth of food, drink, shelter, education, and recreation.
Lord, may America not succumb to imperial temptations; rather,
through persons of character, remind us of our shared religious
heritage of servanthood. May we use our power in concert with
the international community so that we might together bring
in a new era marked by justice and peace. . . .
Eternal God, Fount of wisdom,
we ask you to bless the national leaders we have elected,
grant that through their discussions and decisions
we may solve our problems effectively,
enhance the well-being of our nation,
and achieve together a fairer and more united society.