Prayer for America – Celebrating July 4th – America Independence Day
The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:8
When Xavier was two, he darted into one aisle after another in a small shoe store. Hiding behind stacks of shoeboxes, he giggled when my husband, Alan, said, “I see you.”
Moments later, I saw Alan dash frantically from aisle to aisle, calling Xavier’s name. We raced to the front of the store. Our child, still laughing, ran toward the open door leading to the busy street outside.
Within seconds, Alan scooped him up. We embraced as I thanked God, sobbed, and kissed our toddler’s chubby cheeks.
A year before I became pregnant with Xavier, I’d lost our first child during the pregnancy. When God blessed us with our son, I became a fearful parent. Our shoe store experience proved I wouldn’t always be able to see or protect our child. But I discovered peace as I learned to turn to my only sure source of help—God—when I struggled with worry and fear.
Our heavenly Father never takes His eyes off His children (Psalm 121:1–4). While we can’t prevent trials, heartache, or loss, we can live with confident faith, relying on an ever-present Helper and Protector who watches over our lives (vv. 5–8).
We may encounter days when we feel lost and helpless. We may also feel powerless when we can’t shield loved ones. But we can trust that our all-knowing God never loses sight of us—His precious and beloved children.
Thank You for watching over our loved ones and us, Lord.
God always keeps His eye on His children.
Psalms 120–134 are known as “Pilgrim Songs”—songs for “pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem” (nlt). God commanded all male Jews to come to the temple to observe the three annual feasts (see Deuteronomy 16:16): Unleavened Bread (Passover), Weeks (Pentecost), and Tabernacles. As pilgrims trod up the hilly paths to Jerusalem, they sang from these psalms.
When we embark on a journey, we often pray for journeying mercies for safety is foremost on our minds. Psalm 121—known as “The Traveler’s Psalm”—is a prayer addressing our safety and security concerns as we journey through life. Even as the psalmist speaks of unknown dangers, he affirms God’s divine protection and preservation. He reminds us that God is our Helper, giving us the security and stability we need (vv. 1–3). And because God is our Keeper—watching our every step (vv. 4–8)—we can pray in confident trust, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe” (Psalm 4:8 nlt).
How does being led by God, our Good Shepherd, empower you to “walk through the darkest valley”? (Psalm 23:4).
Throughout the Gospels, a phrase commonly used of the Lord is “He felt compassion” (Matt. 9:36). These words describe what Jesus often experienced when He encountered people in a helpless condition: He was moved to alleviate their suffering.
Man’s greatest suffering is due to alienation from the Lord because of sin. Even though many people don’t realize it, they are enemies of God and can do nothing to make themselves right with Him. Thankfully, Jesus felt compassion for us and reached down to save us; otherwise, we would all be doomed to the everlasting punishment of separation from God’s presence. Yet often we fail to show that same compassion for the lost all around us. Like the Pharisees, we may avoid people because their behavior is sinful, but God desires that we show them kindheartedness rather than withdraw into religious isolation.
Jesus pictured the multitude of lost people as sheep without a shepherd and a field ripe for harvest. All that’s needed is for the Lord to send workers into His harvest, and that’s exactly what Jesus did when He said, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21).
There are multiple ways to show Christ’s compassion to those who are suffering physically, financially, or emotionally, and we should do what we can to help. However, temporal suffering is minuscule compared to what awaits the unbeliever eternally. That’s why the most compassionate thing we can do is to make people aware of their helpless condition before God and share the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.
“Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” (Isaiah 51:1)
While it is not good to dwell too much on the past—whether in pride of past accomplishments or despondency over past failures or grieving over past losses—it is well never to forget what God has done for us. In this passage, Israel is reminded of Abraham and Sarah, who had been lifted out of the pit of paganism and cut out of the rock of idolatry, and whom God had greatly blessed.
David, looking back, had written that God “brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay” (Psalm 40:2). Paul looked back and said: “In time past . . . beyond measure I persecuted the church of God. . . . But when it pleased God, who . . . called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me . . . they glorified God in me” (Galatians 1:13, 15-16, 24).
Whatever our own background may be—bigoted skeptics, or flagrant sinners, or self-righteous hypocrites—God has indeed, if we are now saved by His grace, lifted us out of a pit and set us on a solid rock. We were “strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). But God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).
“Such were some of you,” wrote Paul of such gross sins as fornication, idolatry, homosexuality, adultery, and thievery, as well as covetousness and drunkenness. “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 6:11). An occasional look back will help us to remember more often to look up in humble thankfulness for the grace of God. HMM
In what a sad plight is the teacher concerning whom such advice must be given—”do as he says and not as he does.” From such teachers may the Lord save our country.
The love of applause is a very common sin, and we may easily fall into it. Let us pray to be kept from seeking honour from men in our religious or charitable acts, for the influence of such a motive will be most pernicious. Self-seeking makes virtue itself a vice.
Matthew 23:9, 10
All titles and honours in the church which exalt men and give occasion for pride are here forbidden. In the Christian church we should seek to realise a truer “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity,” than that for which the world clamours in vain.
A strong expression setting forth the fact that they regarded trifles and neglected weighty duties; they strained out gnats from their wine, but cared nothing for huge sins.
Here we have much the same teaching as we have read before. The faults denounced are hard to remove, hence the Saviour exposes them again and again. He was not ashamed to preach many times upon the same topic when there was need to do so. Let us learn from this passage to avoid all self-seeking and hypocrisy in religion. May the Lord make us true and humble.
O Lord, if I have not begun
To tread the sacred road,
Now teach my wandering feet the way
To reach thy blest abode.
Or if I’m truly in the path,
Assist me with thy strength,
That I may swift advances make,
And reach thy house at length.
My care, my hope, my sole request,
Are all comprised in this,
Truly to follow Christ my Lord,
And then to share his bliss.
Understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:17)
Every man in a free society must decide whether he will exploit his liberty, or curtail it for moral and intelligent ends. He may take upon him the responsibility of business and a family, or he may shun all obligations and end on Skid Row. The tramp is freer than president or king, but his freedom is undoing. While he lives he remains socially sterile and when he dies he leaves nothing to make the world glad he lived.
The Christian cannot escape the peril of too much liberty. He is indeed free, but his very freedom may prove a source of real temptation to him. He is free from the chains of sin, free from the moral consequences of evil acts now forgiven, free from the curse of the law and the displeasure of God.
The ideal Christian is one who knows he is free to do as he will—and wills to be a servant. This is the path Christ took: blessed is the man who follows Him!
“He will be our guide even unto death.” Ps. 48:14
We need a guide. Sometimes we would give all that we have to be told exactly what to do, and where to turn. We are willing to do right, but we do not know which out of two roads we are to follow. Oh, for a guide!
The Lord our God condescends to serve us as guide. He knows the way, and will pilot us along it till we reach our journey’s end in peace. Surely we do not desire more infallible direction. Let us place ourselves absolutely under His guidance, and we shall never miss our way. Let us make Him our God and we shall find Him our guide. If we follow His law we shall not miss the right road of life, provided we first learn to lean upon Him in every step that we take.
Our comfort is, that as He is our God for ever and ever, He will never cease to be with us as our guide. “Even unto death” will He lead us, and then we shall dwell with Him eternally, and go no more out for ever. This promise of divine guidance involves life-long security: salvation at once, guidance unto our last hour, and then endless blessedness. Should not each one seek this in youth, rejoice in it in middle life, and repose in it in old age? This day let us look up for guidance before we trust ourselves out of doors.