Immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001, prayer for our nation was heard everywhere. People from different faiths gathered in Yankee Stadium for the “Prayer for America” event. Members of Congress gathered on the steps of the Capitol singing an impromptu “God Bless America.” Prayer gatherings were held in the Pentagon. On September 14, 2001, many religious leaders, including Billy Graham, were all invited to the National Cathedral to address our leaders and nation on a day set aside, called a “National Day of Prayer & Remembrance.”

In Dr. Graham’s remarks, he said: “We come together today to affirm our conviction that God cares for us, whatever our ethnic, religious or political background may be. The Bible says that He is ‘the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.’”

Today, those times of prayer have almost totally faded into obscurity. Religious freedoms are coming under attack.

Franklin Graham described our nation this way:

“The Bible tells us that Christians should expect persecution. I don’t know if believers in our own country will ever experience the degree of persecution that is occurring in places such as Iran, but I do know that our religious freedoms are being seriously eroded. Christians are becoming the victims of our country’s growing intolerance and misguided zeal for pluralism. However, Christians who live boldly for Christ, even in the face of opposition, are a strong witness to a morally bankrupt society.”

Although the attacks of 911 were tremendous tragedies inflicted upon our nation — the Bible warns that a people that turns away from God carries more serious consequences (Isaiah 1:15-20).

May it be that we would be a nation that adheres to its declaration, “In God We Trust,” clinging to His promises of 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

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The labor of the righteous leads to life, the wages of the wicked to sin. Proverbs 10:16

The Bible instructs people to stay busy, to work and earn the bread they eat. There are those who are unwilling to work but all too willing to accept free handouts. Then there are those who do nothing but work. As we stop and think about the work we do, remember that our work is not only to provide for our families and to have the luxuries of life, but, rather, work for the service of God. Our work is never finished for God. There was a free handout given for all but, so often, this is the one free handout that is rejected by man. This free handout of Salvation was given with love. We can’t earn it. It is by grace that we receive the free gift of Salvation as Ephesians 2:8 & 9 tell us:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

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by Pastor Henry Kranenburg

So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes… Romans 1:15-16

In my experience as a pastor, I would not describe preaching as either easy or simply fun. But it can be incredibly meaningful when you sense that something in your message of God’s love connects with your listeners. So I can appreciate that Paul is – eager to preach the Gospel to the people he cares about in Rome.

Paul is eager not because he thinks he’s so good at what he does or because he would like to headline a few performances in the empire’s capital. The reason for his eagerness comes from the fact that the Gospel is the power of God. And it is power for a specific purpose.

The Gospel is not power to get a new bill of health, or to gain the friend or spouse you desire. It’s not power for financial success or fault-free parenting. It’s not power to get to heaven when you die. It’s power for salvation. And salvation has to do with getting where we need to be in our relationship with God.

Paul’s eagerness in all this is a reflection of God’s desire. God wants me to belong to Him as fully as I can in the life I am now living. That’s the point of the Gospel, and that is its power. The challenge for me is to have the same eagerness for God that God has for me.


Dear God, sometimes we see your power mostly as a means to our ends. Help us not to use it for us but to seek you, and to know your desire that we find you. In Christ, Amen.

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Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Ask God for strength to endure each day in your walk with Him, unwavering in faith, setting your hope and trust in Him.


Heavenly Father – I thank you for all you have done and continue to do for me – for deliverance from need and death. Thank you for hearing my prayers, without wavering or weakening, for my hope is in You. Thank you that I can come to You without fear, for You have promised to never leave me , nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). In spite of my imperfections, You show me Your goodness and love again and again. May Your light in my heart never be extinguished, but be seen by all, and glorify You! May Your joy be my strength as I desire to do Your will for my life, bringing praise and honor to You. Amen.

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As our nation celebrates Independence Day, may our prayer be that God would continue to “bless America.”

“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. ”

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

Words and music by Irving Berlin

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God knows our frailness as humans and encourages us to push on in Galatians 6:9:

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

The apostle Paul, perhaps better than anyone else, knew how wearying the spiritual battle can be. He ends his warnings about sin, the works of the flesh, and the deceitfulness of the world by encouraging the Galatians, and all believers, to remember the joyful harvest we will reap if we persevere in doing good. “As we have opportunity,” Paul says in the verse 10, “let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”


Dear Heavenly Father – May You strengthen me in my walk with You, continuing to serve as You direct my life to do Your will, doing good – to Your glory and honor. Amen.

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Heavenly Father, as our nation pauses today to remember those in the military who have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy, we pray you would have us all look to you for strength, comfort and guidance. Be with all who serve in our Armed Forces. Bless them and their families. Grant your loving protection. Let peace prevail among all the nations, O God. Especially let your mercy rest upon our land, even as we acknowledge with thanksgiving your past goodness on this country. If it is your will, preserve the lives of the men and women in uniform as they defend our citizenry. Most of all, we pray that you would turn the hearts of all – military and civilian – to your holy Word where we find the true peace for our sinful souls that surpasses all understanding. Keep us repentant of sin. Move us to know, take hold and treasure your saving grace. In the name of Jesus, our Savior and Your beloved Son, who alone gives this peace and hope for eternity, we pray. Amen.

From the Evangelical Lutheran Synod

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