Prayer from 17th century House of Commons

Saint James the Greater, by RembrandtI found this prayer in my readings this morning that really stood out as it would be so foreign to hear something like this in our current political arena. But what if our leaders did pray like this? And truly meant it? How would it change our nation and how it was governed?

Almighty God, by whom alone Kings reign, and Princes decree justice; and from whom alone cometh all counsel, wisdom and understanding; We thine unworthy servants, here gathered together in thy Name, do most humbly beseech thee to send down thy heavenly wisdom from above, to direct and guide us in all our consultations. And grant that we, having thy fear always before our eyes, and laying aside all private interests, prejudices, and partial affections, the result of all our counsels, may be the glory of thy blessed name. – House of Commons prayer, circa 1661

I found this prayer in a book I’m reading on prayer and the author referenced this. It take a great leap of faith sometimes, especially for this persecuted for their faith, to realize that God is exalted amongst all nations. This prayer shows a few key points that jumped out at me.

Everything comes from God

“…by whom alone Kings reign, and Princes decree justice; and from whom alone cometh all counsel, wisdom and understanding”

We are put in our positions by the grace and desires of God and God alone. Whether we are heads of states, leading a company or simply heads of households, that “power” comes by the grace of God.

We are unworthy of this grace

“We thine unworthy servants…”

There is nothing we can do to earn this grace and favor from God. No amount of prayer, actions, charity or ‘being good’ can earn us grace from God.

We ask and through His grace, God provides

“…do most humbly beseech thee to send down thy heavenly wisdom from above, to direct and guide us in all our consultations.”

We simply ask God to send us wisdom in any and all situations and God will provide graciously this wisdom. He loves us enough that the wisdom is always in our best interests, even if we don’t understand it. But we in a humble position, receive this wisdom from Him.

We set aside our own agenda

“And grant that we, having thy fear always before our eyes, and laying aside all private interests, prejudices, and partial affections…”

We all have our desired outcomes that we want to see occur. But do they align with God’s purpose? The willingness to set aside these personal interests, to achieve God’s purpose allows God’s grace be manifest in us.

All is for the glory of God

“…the result of all our counsels, may be the glory of thy blessed name.”

All that we do, when done with the consultation and wisdom from God, will work to glorify His name.

What an incredible prayer, especially for the political arena. But this is something I can incorporate into my own life as well.

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