Quote of the Day: Do You Pray for America?

 

“Prayer has two dimensions, one mysterious, the other not. There are simply too many cases of prayers being answered for us to deny that it makes a difference to our fate. It does. I once heard the following story. A man in a Nazi concentration camp lost the will to live—and in the death camps, if you lost the will to live, you died. That night he poured out his heart in prayer. The next morning, he was transferred to work in the camp kitchen. There he was able, when the guards were not looking, to steal potato peelings. It was these peelings that kept him alive. I heard this story from his son.” — Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks

 Particularly over the last year, I’ve read how many people have called for prayers for themselves or others: prayers for those we care about in the Ricochet prayer group; prayers for understanding and solace. And a number of people have shared that they are praying for our country.

Knowing that we at Ricochet are a serious group that calls for action from our government that helps and doesn’t cripple us—securing the border, stopping eccentric and costly legislation, asking Republicans to act as if they care about America—I wonder if people also believe that prayer can have a positive effect on the future of our country.

Do you pray for America? Do you think it makes a difference? Do you believe that prayer can be helpful? Or do you think it’s a waste of time?

If you pray for the country, do you just pray out of habit, or because you assume that it simply can’t hurt?

I pray because I think it does matter. And that it might make a difference.

I guess it depends on whether G-d sees us as worthy of His help and guidance.

[photo courtesy of unsplash.com]

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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  1. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    I pray for our country every day. In my litany of prayers, it is part of where I pray for our leaders, which includes the church, major institutions, in addition to the United States.

    I do think that prayer makes a difference.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    It occurs to me, too, @clavius, that when we pray for the country, we are praying for all of us who make America our home. That’s a lovely thought, too.

    • #2
  3. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Yes, unfortunately I am starting to think it would be better to pray for what comes after this country.

    • #3
  4. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Not enough

    Will do better. 

    I do want to pray for Biden. I think he is being  abused by others, including his wife. 

    • #4
  5. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    Susan Quinn:

    1)Do you pray for America?

    2) Do you think it makes a difference?

    3)Do you believe that prayer can be helpful? Or do you think it’s a waste of time?

    4)If you pray for the country, do you just pray out of habit, or because you assume that it simply can’t hurt?

    1) Yes

    2)I don’t know, but it makes me feel better.

    3)It’s helpful to me, and I don’t think it’s a waste of time.

    4)I talk to God all the time, he is a good listener – hardly ever interrupts me even when I get off topic.  But at least once in the morning, and just before I go to bed a night, I make time to say a little prayer were I specifically ask God to watch over and guide and bless this country and its people.  Then I ask for his forgiveness for our weaknesses, transgressions and sins.  Then I ask that he take care of himself.  I figure it can’t hurt.

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn: Do you pray for America? Do you think it makes a difference? Do you believe that prayer can be helpful? Or do you think it’s a waste of time?

    1) My family, my friends (including you lot), my country – every night and every morning.

    2) Yes

    3) Yes

    4) Not a waste of time. Reflection can give new insight, and I need all that I can get.

    • #6
  7. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Yes.

    If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land.

    2 Chronicles 7:14

    • #7
  8. Dominique Prynne Member
    Dominique Prynne
    @DominiquePrynne

    I do pray for our country.  Sometimes it feels rote, but other times I pray with desperation. 

    I am torn in thinking about my prayers.   On one hand, will God do as His plan requires despite my prayers for a preferred outcome  – such as Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane?  Or, on the other hand, will my prayers cause a change in the outcome as shown where God heard the prayers of His servants and changed the course of His actions – such as Moses praying to turn away God’s wrath after the Golden calf debacle and He relented.  I am convinced that the U.S. was made and used as God’s righteous instrument in WW2, but I wonder if God has a purpose for us now?  Is His plan for us to decay and implode so that the world stage is set for the unfolding of His plan – anti-Christ etc? Or – if we repent and return to Him, will we prosper in His protection?  In the end, I simply pray for my preferred outcome: a strong, righteous nation with less evil – but that His Will be done.  (And I pray that I am ready for His Will and accepting of it).  

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Not enough

    Will do better.

    I do want to pray for Biden. I think he is being abused by others, including his wife.

    Bryan, you bring up a very good point: do we pray for those whom we don’t respect? Those who we think are damaging our country? Essentially, praying for the enemy? I agree that Biden is likely being abused, but I find it hard to pray for him.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rōnin (View Comment):
    4)I talk to God all the time, he is a good listener – hardly ever interrupts me even when I get off topic.  But at least once in the morning, and just before I go to bed a night, I make time to say a little prayer were I specifically ask God to watch over and guide and bless this country and its people.  Then I ask for his forgiveness for our weaknesses, transgressions and sins.  Then I ask that he take care of himself.  I figure it can’t hurt.

    That’s beautiful, @ronin. He is a good listener, but I think sometimes he cuts in for me with some important information! ;-) 

    Not only does it not hurt, but I believe your prayer brings you closer to him and that is so valuable. Thanks.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):
    4) Not a waste of time. Reflection can give new insight, and I need all that I can get

    No kidding, Percival! I sometimes feel that I’m in regular learning mode with G-d, and I’m so grateful. I’m just not always paying close attention.

    We can only hope that many others in this country sense his power and love and reach out for wisdom, too.

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stina (View Comment):

    Yes.

    If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land.

    2 Chronicles 7:14

    Beautiful, Stina. Thanks.

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Dominique Prynne (View Comment):
    In the end, I simply pray for my preferred outcome: a strong, righteous nation with less evil – but that His Will be done.  (And I pray that I am ready for His Will and accepting of it).

    Dominique, I know that I sometimes wish I could know the mind of G-d, His intentions, His hopes for us, His disappointment in us. I share your preferred outcomes. Although, to some degree, I think his plan/hope is for us to figure out what to do and to do it. That is our challenge. Thanks.

    Edit: I also believe G-d wants us to be close to Him, so if my prayer is sincere and honest, I hope that it will be worthy of consideration.

    • #13
  14. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Not enough

    Will do better.

    I do want to pray for Biden. I think he is being abused by others, including his wife.

    Bryan, you bring up a very good point: do we pray for those whom we don’t respect? Those who we think are damaging our country? Essentially, praying for the enemy? I agree that Biden is likely being abused, but I find it hard to pray for him.

    With regard to praying for President Biden (I admit, it does hurt to append that title to a man I don’t really respect), I sincerely pray that the Lord will guide him, even in spite of himself and his goals.

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):
    With regard to praying for President Biden (I admit, it does hurt to append that title to a man I don’t really respect), I sincerely pray that the Lord will guide him, even in spite of himself and his goals.

    That makes sense to me, Jim. An excellent approach!

    • #15
  16. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Not enough

    Will do better.

    I do want to pray for Biden. I think he is being abused by others, including his wife.

    Bryan, you bring up a very good point: do we pray for those whom we don’t respect? Those who we think are damaging our country? Essentially, praying for the enemy? I agree that Biden is likely being abused, but I find it hard to pray for him.

    Christ charged us to pray for our enemies. As a Christian I am supposed to do so. 

    I am a sinner and need to work on it. 

    • #16
  17. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Nearly nightly I pray that God bless the USA, that God save the United States, that God save and bless the people of the US, that God call the representatives in all the nation’s governments to make righteous and wise decisions, and that God clean out the corruption in the US and destroy the those who plan evil on the United States.

    • #17
  18. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Young man, be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education. Remember, too, every day, and whenever you can, repeat to yourself, “Lord, have mercy on all who appear before Thee to‐day.” For every hour and every moment thousands of men leave life on this earth, and their souls appear before God. And how many of them depart in solitude, unknown, sad, dejected that no one mourns for them or even knows whether they have lived or not! And behold, from the other end of the earth perhaps, your prayer for their rest will rise up to God though you knew them not nor they you. How touching it must be to a soul standing in dread before the Lord to feel at that instant that, for him too, there is one to pray, that there is a fellow creature left on earth to love him too! And God will look on you both more graciously, for if you have had so much pity on him, how much will He have pity Who is infinitely more loving and merciful than you! And He will forgive him for your sake.

    — Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, Book VI, Chapter III

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Nearly nightly I pray that God bless the USA, that God save the United States, that God save and bless the people of the US, that God call the representatives in all the nation’s governments to make righteous and wise decisions, and that God clean out the corruption in the US and destroy the those who plan evil on the United States.

    Great job, Flicker! That covers just about everything! Seriously, thanks so much.

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):

    Young man, be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education. Remember, too, every day, and whenever you can, repeat to yourself, “Lord, have mercy on all who appear before Thee to‐day.” For every hour and every moment thousands of men leave life on this earth, and their souls appear before God. And how many of them depart in solitude, unknown, sad, dejected that no one mourns for them or even knows whether they have lived or not! And behold, from the other end of the earth perhaps, your prayer for their rest will rise up to God though you knew them not nor they you. How touching it must be to a soul standing in dread before the Lord to feel at that instant that, for him too, there is one to pray, that there is a fellow creature left on earth to love him too! And God will look on you both more graciously, for if you have had so much pity on him, how much will He have pity Who is infinitely more loving and merciful than you! And He will forgive him for your sake.

    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, Book VI, Chapter III

    Love this.

    • #20
  21. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn: Do you pray for America?

    Every day . . .

    • #21
  22. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Young man, be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education. Remember, too, every day, and whenever you can, repeat to yourself, “Lord, have mercy on all who appear before Thee to‐day.” For every hour and every moment thousands of men leave life on this earth, and their souls appear before God. And how many of them depart in solitude, unknown, sad, dejected that no one mourns for them or even knows whether they have lived or not! And behold, from the other end of the earth perhaps, your prayer for their rest will rise up to God though you knew them not nor they you. How touching it must be to a soul standing in dread before the Lord to feel at that instant that, for him too, there is one to pray, that there is a fellow creature left on earth to love him too! And God will look on you both more graciously, for if you have had so much pity on him, how much will He have pity Who is infinitely more loving and merciful than you! And He will forgive him for your sake.

    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, Book VI, Chapter III

    Love this.

    So do I. I think about it all the time.

    • #22
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):
    So do I. I think about it all the time

    I have a friend who, when he prayed, included “all those suffering alone.” Time for me to resurrect and add it to my list.

    • #23
  24. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Susan Quinn: Do you pray for America?

    Yes, every night on my knees and will continue to do so as long as He Wills that I can maintain that posture. I am quite sure He will not so bless me for much longer, but I thank Him every night for granting me this much time.

    Susan Quinn: Do you think it makes a difference?

    Yes, I do, as I see glimmers of hope here and there, as most recently exemplified in the incredible displays of patriotism, love of country, dedication to the bedrock principles of our Nation, and other wonders in the Age of Biden, we saw last night at the Patriots’ Awards sponsored by Fox Nation. I recommend that inspirational display without qualification. 

    Susan Quinn: Do you believe that prayer can be helpful?

    Yes. As the Rabbi noted, I also have seen it make a difference too many times to not believe it does make a difference. I have seen, in our own family, outcomes which could almost be considered miraculous and I know that they were fervently prayed for, as I was one of the family members praying for those outcomes. 

    Susan Quinn: Or do you think it’s a waste of time?

    No. Moreover, as a Christian, I simply cannot believe it is a waste of time. 

    Susan Quinn: I pray because I think it does matter. And that it might make a difference.

    Exactly my attitude. 

    Dominique Prynne (View Comment):
    In the end, I simply pray for my preferred outcome: a strong, righteous nation with less evil

    In this statement, you have raised a point I worry about the quality, if that is the right nomenclature, of my own prayers for our country, as I often pray that He will show us a way to help ourselves out of the clutch of evil we are now in–I started to say “seem to be in”, but there’s not a scintilla of doubt in my mind that some of these people in leadership positions now are either evil or are committing evil acts– and I often wonder whether He considers that a proper prayer as it is His Will to determine what is and what is not evil. However, I continue to pray in that manner in view of the rampant evil I see all around us, and can only hope He receives it as an expression of my belief in His power to help us out of this morass we are in now.

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    I do want to pray for Biden. I think he is being  abused by others, including his wife. 

    Bryan, you have hit on a point very dear to my heart; we have all had elders suffer in the same manner he is obviously suffering in and, as much as I despise with every fiber of my being everything “he” is doing, I cannot help but feel that what we are seeing is pure elder abuse. That is evil. 

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jim George (View Comment):
    and I often wonder whether He considers that a proper prayer as it is His Will to determine what is and what is not evil.

    Jim, I think G-d knows that we are each unique and special. As long as we are praying for good as we know it, I must believe that he hears and appreciates our prayers. 

    Thank you so much for your sharing of yourself and your beliefs.

    • #25
  26. jonb60173 Member
    jonb60173
    @jonb60173

    Paul exhorted us to pray and pray constantly, and as I recall in 1 Kings God told Elijah – God said there are 7,000 other people in the world that hadn’t bowed to Baal.  So God not only knows that, and all of the hairs on our head, which leads me to believe (duh) God knows how many people are praying for our country.  So yes, I pray for our country, not enough,  because my faith is weak, which I pray for faith.  I know the Bible isn’t word for word what it started out as, but in The Lords Prayer, Christ begins “hallowed be thy name”.  Christ knew more than me, so I always add “hallowed be thy name” in my prayers.  That just strikes me – “hallowed be thy name”, even His name.

    • #26
  27. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Susan Quinn: Do you pray for America? Do you think it makes a difference? Do you believe that prayer can be helpful? Or do you think it’s a waste of time?

    Great questions Susan.  I occasionally pray for America but mostly I pray on specific issues.  G-d already knows what’s going to happen, both on the issues and who is praying on it.  So me praying on it is already factored in.  I think prayer does make a difference.  At a minimum prayer shapes me on the issue.  It is front and center in my consciousness and won’t fade from memory.  Prayer on an issue bonds groups of people and stirs action.  I’m convinced we have made gains on the issue of abortion because so many of us are in constant prayer on the issue.  [Side note, please all who read this say a prayer for the upcoming Supreme Court case that may end Roe v. Wade.  It is so important for the ending of this heinous crime against humanity.]  Ultimately G-d’s will and plan will happen but His plan already included your prayer because He knew of it.  

    So why don’t we get what we pray for often?  Lots of reasons.  Sometimes your prayer will infringe on someone else’s free will.  While G-d can change someone’s mind and heart, He will almost always allow everyone’s free will.  Another reason is to make you persistent in prayer.  Don’t give up.  It is a means to building your faith, and so G-d may have various reasons to not answering or delaying.  Another reason is that He knows what is best for you and He has determined what you are praying for is not in your best interest.  How can cancer be in your best interest, even cancer that leads to death?  Because His vision is beyond human ken.  He can see beyond the earthly life, and it may be in your best interest to have that cancer.  It may be in your best interest to suffer at this moment.  It may be in your best interest if your life ended at the moment.  

    Finally, prayer is a means of G-d letting you cooperate with Him, just like a father lets his son work along with him, even though the father could do it all alone and faster.  But that cooperation builds a bond between father and son.  Same with you ad G-d.  With prayer you are building a relationship with Him.

    • #27
  28. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Not enough

    Will do better.

    I do want to pray for Biden. I think he is being abused by others, including his wife.

    Yeah, that’s a hard one. Do I pray Psalm 72 as a “king” in the sense of head of state, for him, or do I pray Psalm 109, in light of his manifest corruption and evil? 

    • #28
  29. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Since I am in the 24/7 prayer movement, yeah, I pray for the U.S.A., for Israel (every Shabbatanfang), Germany, Europe, Austin, Texas, for leaders generally in the sense of the admonition in 1 Timothy. And, no, prayer is never useless. I have seen some immediate and amazing answers to prayer- such as our daughter, selling our house in Round Rock to move to Augsburg, healing and preservation of a dear friend who has now survived cancer four times (Shefali, whom you likely remember me mentioning over at Divine Help). I’ve also seen prayers to the Most High answered with “no” and “not yet” and “not in the way you envisioned it”.  In those cases we have to trust in the wisdom of the One who does see all ends. 

    • #29
  30. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    Were it not for my relationship with God, however meager it may be, I would have given up hope long ago.  And that hope is my prayer to Him.

    Israel’s national anthem is Hatikvah (the hope)

    תקוה = hope

    קו = line

    A line, a connection between two points, between you and God, is embedded in hope.

    Our sages teach that a direct line to God is created wherever there is hope.

    • #30