Sing a Prayer for Our Country!

To Musicians and Music Directors Everywhere in America,

Considering the cultural shifts happening in our country, currently, what can conscientious people, concerned about the trends do to stem the tide? We have been instituting a #PrayersForAmerica campaign, to encourage people across the nation to gather their family to pray each evening, for the good of our country. As an extension of this, we are inviting musicians and Music Directors of choirs and groups (religious and secular), to include the protestant hymn, “Prayer of Thanksgiving”, in their autumn repertoire, and post videos of it online, or post about it, in an effort to spread a little more good across the nation, and touch the hearts of many, with a reminder that prayers are answered, and we need them more now, than ever. We feel that its’ message is one that people of almost any kind of faith, living in this time period can especially embrace, as we ask for the blessings of heaven to help us through this time, and give us hope.

The text is as follows:
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens, and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to his name; He forgets not his own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side; All glory be thine!

We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

We would ask that when you post videos or comments about this project, that you would
1) include the hashtag #PrayersForAmerica.
2) Please share about this project with choir members/ participants, as you prepare to sing it, and encourage them to pass it on.
3) Consider allowing those choir members involved in your project to share any positive thoughts or feelings they felt as they performed/ rehearsed this song, and include it in your #PrayersForAmerica post. If they are children, remember to use some discretion in posting full names: First names only, perhaps.

Thank you so much for participating in this effort! We are excited to hear about how you implement this into your choirs and congregations of various denominations, everywhere! Truly, we believe that God loves this nation, and helped to found it, on principles that include faith and virtues that are all too commonly being forgotten, now. Let us remember 2 Chronicles 7:14, which says, “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.” Let’s flood the earth with some evidence that we are turning our hearts to God in prayer, appealing for His heavenly help! May we do what we can to allow Him to heal our land! Thank you!

It All Starts With One Voice

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Some weeks ago, I was troubled about the kind of behavior that seemed to be getting more common amongst various rallies and politics, etc., and I felt trepidation for what kind of behavior could become the norm with our possible future president of the United States. My husband reminded me of the story of Mahatma Ghandi, and how he made amazing things happen by standing steadfastly, yet peacefully, for religious harmony, and freedom across the world.  He is known to have said, “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” He also said, “First they ignore you, then laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” And eventually peace won.
I thought about how amazing it would be to have people across America do one thing collectively, to show that they stand for Civility, Decency, and Goodness in America. Maybe if everyone performed an act of kindness or a service and posted about it online, begetting more and more feelings of warmth and friendship amongst our nation, or peaceful protests from Citizens Standing For Civility, (meaning standing for decency, respect for others, and civilized behavior, and so much that this country was founded upon) we could remind people of something higher and better. I tried to figure out something we could all do, that would be mobilizing for good.

That was just before I attended the rally where Ted Cruz would be campaigning for Senator Mike Lee, in our state. I went to the rally, wishing I could share my idea with them, and they would know what to do with it. But I knew I couldn’t do that. Near the end of the rally, it was announced to those of us watching from outside on the jumbo-tron, that the two Senators would come through a path and greet us. I found a place on the edge of the walkway. And then I knew what to do. I would ask HIM what to do, to help our nation stand up for civility and goodness, something better than hate. I prayed in my heart that if what I had in mind was right, that Ted Cruz would come to me and be willing to take a moment to speak to ME, and that he would know the answer to my question. I felt a perfect peace and assurance. Somehow I knew it would happen, and that God wanted it to happen. It seemed a long wait, but when Senator Cruz came, he shook my hand. I asked him if I could ask him a question, and he was warm and willing to give me his moments, even in the midst of a crowd. I asked him, “If there were ONE thing that mothers and fathers, and patriots of all kinds could do, collectively, to help our nation, what would that be?” His immediate answer was two things: “Well, Pray…and live good lives.”

As I drove home, I pondered that. Why had I not thought that could be done on a large scale? Of course it could! As I tried to figure out how to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish, I started to hit roadblocks. I did not know how to do whatever would need to be done. I felt guided to pray that those who DO know how to do those things would be put in my way,that I would find them. My college-age daughter soon helped me set up a facebook page. Another roadblock — What do I put on it, to incite MANY people to action?! I inquired of a friend I’d recently met, who I knew stood for much good. She said she didn’t know how to do what would need to be done either. But a couple of days later, she introduced me, via facebook, to an amazing group of women, who were engaged in DOING something good.

Not long after, our new campaign, #PrayersForAmerica, was born! Our hope, through this campaign, is that people in this country will feel a depth of heart, and concern for the turn our country seems to be taking, and resist it with the greatest combined power we can possibly muster. We cannot do this alone, but as it is said in Luke 1:37, “For with God, Nothing shall be impossible.” He is the WAY. With God, ALL things are possible. Truly, PRAYER is powerful. We must unite in seeking God, Our Father’s help, for WITH HIM, all is not lost. It has been said, that “If you can’t stand your problems…Try Kneeling.” I would apply this more particularly, to our times, to those who are also dismayed at the turn this nation seems to be taking: “If you can’t stand the problems of today…Try Kneeling.”

C. Mervyn Maxwell has said, “God is greater than your greatest need.”

Have you ever taken to heart, the injunction, “Pray always”? When we pray consistently, and earnestly about something, from day to day, week to week, even month to month, those prayers become linked in a way that we are ever reminded of the prayer in our heart, and not only do we become more aware of our need, but God knows of our earnestness. Not only does He hear our pleadings, but we also become more aware of God’s hand in the answering of those prayers, in whatever way He sees fit to answer.

A tiny hint of the existence of His answers is evidenced here, in this narrative. He does answer prayers. He does care about us, and our well-being. He cares about the well-being of this nation, which He had so much of a part in establishing, and does not wish to see it destroyed. He cares for the preservation of families, for that is where the best in us may flourish. May we each find place in our hearts for faith and hope enough to do SOMETHING. And if we ALL do that SOMETHING, praying with our hearts for His grace and mercy to help this land… Miracles can happen. Peace can happen.

We would ask that each person of conscience in America, (It doesn’t matter what religion you believe in, or how you pray), would take time to gather with his or her family and loved ones every day until Thanksgiving, praying earnestly for the good of America. Pray for the election, pray for the economy, pray for the goodness of its people to prevail against evil, and strengthen us all to stand a little taller,and be a little better, and that God will, indeed, bless us in our time of great need. 2Chronicles 7:14 says, “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.” (italics added). God wants nothing more than to bless us, but we must first ask. There has, perhaps, never been a time so crucial as now, for the joining of our hearts and voices in prayer for His Divine Assistance in our land. Truly there is nothing more powerful. May God help us to Heal Our Land.

By, Delitra

Prayer and the Family

Gathering Families would like to thank Rev. Jimi Kestin for writing this guest post.
Prayers for America (2)

As leaders in our homes and members of a faith community in our churches there are few things that can have a greater impact on our community and our homes than powerful and meaningful prayer. How we pray, when we pray, and what we pray will impact the lives of more people than anything else we do. I believe that is where the conversation on prayer must begin, putting it in its proper perspective then we can exercise the discipline of prayer with confidence knowing that it is the greatest thing we can do for another human being.

So often we think of the works of kindness and service that we do, all of which are a blessing and what our Lord calls us to, as the way to impact the lives of people that God puts in our path. And while these acts of service and kindness very much show the love of our Lord to others, moving the very host of heaven and inviting the Creator of the universe to personally interject His will and solutions into someone’s life can and will change that life forever. This is the power of prayer that we so often lose sight of. For the Christian, prayer is the opportunity to stand in the very throne room of Heavenly Father and through the entrance paid for by Jesus Christ be heard and have Jesus Himself make intercession for us before the Father. We are promised that when we pray according to His will no request will go unanswered or be turned down. Of course the key words in that sentence are according to His will. And that is what we must learn to do, pray according to His will and teach our families to do likewise.

The pattern of healthy prayer is laid out for us in the Bible and the guidelines for what prayer is are not that complicated. It is not the words we use, the position we place ourselves in sitting, standing, or kneeling is not the key, it is following the pattern that the Lord gave us for what effective prayer accomplishes. All prayer should begin by acknowledging who it is that we are praying to, not because He needs to be reminded who He is or needs praise and honor to complete Himself because as God by definition He is complete unto Himself and needs nothing from outside Himself to be complete. We begin by giving Him honor and praise to remind our self who we are praying to and the power He has to hear and act on the prayer. Then the next step is to admit that we are not entitled to His blessing, we have been giving this gift not because we are worthy but because He said we were worth it to Him to redeem and forgive us. Then the most important part of prayer is to seek His will and solution to the matter and not our desire. Too often prayer has become a wish list of what we want rather than seeking what he wants and many of us have found our prayers to have become our opportunity to give God advice and counsel as if the Holy One who spoke the universe into existence could learn something from His creation. Kind of silly when we think of it that way. God already knows what He wants to do in every situation and He knew your need before you did, He simply seeks permission to intervene which He will not do if he is not invited. This is the purpose of prayer and the power unleashed by prayer done well. The great prayers found in the Bible, from Daniel, from Jesus in what is known as the Lord’s Prayer and His prayer for the Church before He went to the cross and others all follow this pattern and show us what prayer is. Next time we read them look for the pattern more than the words while still being moved and blessed by the words.

When we teach our family to pray often, seek the Lord in prayer not just when we are in need or trouble but continuously wanting to know His will for that day for our lives, our lives our families life and the very community we live in will be powerfully changed for the good. And that will impact the people put in our path as God intended us to. Grace and Peace and may the will and love of God be ever in your home.

Rev. Jimi Kestin
Sr. Pastor, Solomon’s Porch Foursquare Fellowship
1495 S. Black Ridge Dr. A240, St George, UT 84770
(435)669-9070 (cell)