The Prayer of Independence

The 4th of July in America is a time of barbecues, fireworks, watermelons, swimming, and the red, white, and blue.

Most Americans know that this summer celebration marks the anniversary of the signing of The Declaration of Independence, but is there anything more to this 240-year-old document than the freedom of “Merica”?

The Founding Fathers did not necessarily expect the King of Great Britain to read the Declaration of Independence and immediately grant America her freedom. In fact, the Declaration guaranteed that the Revolutionary War would continue. But it did not matter that the King of England was not listening to the Declaration of Independence because the King of Heaven was.

The most famous lines of the Declaration begin by recognizing God as the giver of human rights: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

A sentence earlier Jefferson writes of the, “separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle [people].” Without doubt, the Declaration bases the foundation of human rights in God.

By the end of the document, this preparatory acknowledgement of God turns to a prayer for God’s blessing and support upon the new nation: “…appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, [we], in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…”

The Founding Fathers’ closing sentence again appeals to God: “…for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

More than an announcement to Great Britain of America’s independence, the Declaration is also a prayer of petition to God. One of the first and most important documents in American history is a prayer of independence.

To read the entirety of the Declaration of Independence or even download high-resolution images, visit www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.

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The Prayer That is Changing My Life

On my birthday this year, I spent some time praying and asking God what He had for me in my next year of life. In that time, He gave me a prayer I have been praying ever since. God is changing my life as I pray this prayer. The words are ever-changing, but the core meaning has always been simple.

I have been praying that God would allow me to see Him. That my heart would be opened to His work in my life and in the world around me. That my spiritual eyes would be awake and aware of the wonder of God. That I would realize the Holy Spirit upon my life. That I would be blessed to be a witness of God’s work.

As I have prayed this prayer, God has changed my world. I have seen Him in ways I never imagined. He brought together an incredible group of girls to be roommates at Colorado Christian University. He guided my summer to the Billy Graham Library. He gifted me with mentors and friends I never would have dreamed of. He moved hundreds of people to faith in Jesus. He healed a suffering friend right before my eyes. He made a way for me to get to school in the wake of car problems.

God has been doing enormous things, but sometimes the tiny things are even more earth-shattering. Like the fact that He would save a close parking spot for me when I am bringing back groceries. Or that He would put my current favorite scripture right outside the door of my apartment. Or that He would guide the message of His assurance and faithfulness to be the topic at church today. And the crazy thing is, He’s not stopping! I get to keep seeing Him. I get to keep experiencing His work in the adventure of life and death forever.

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”  Romans 8:6

Nothing I can say about the wonder of God is enough. I cannot contain Him with my words. You cannot understand simply by reading my words. You must experience the hand of God. Bring your life before Him. Give Him your all. Ask Him to let you see Him. You will find, when you give yourself to Him and He shows Himself to you, your eyes aren’t just opened – you get to join in the work! You get to be a part! You get the privilege of being used by God.

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.”  Romans 11:33, 36

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Wonder

Today, I want to share a promise God showed me a few days ago. It is found in Hebrews 7:

“The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but [Jesus] holds his priesthood permanently, because He continues forever. Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:23-25

The King of the Universe lives to intercede before God for me? I’m not sure I can even grasp what this means. This is a wondrous promise! When we are too overwhelmed to pray, when we have no words, when pain paralyzes us, Christ’s reason for living is to go before the Father on our behalf, to save us. Wow.

Read verse 25 again. Look at that word “uttermost.” This word means completely, at all times, in every case, and at every juncture. Jesus saves us to the uttermost, completely, at all times, in every case, and at every juncture through His constant intercession. I don’t think God could have used more inclusive language than that. Not only does He save us from our sins and death, He saves from life. He saves us at every juncture from everyday things – the normal, physical, emotional things with which we struggle. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1. Wow.

Read verse 25 for a third time. What is the condition for this promise? Draw near to God.

How do we draw near to God? “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13

The blood of Christ has given us perfect righteousness and brought us near to God. PAST TENSE. We are righteous. We are near God. We spend time with Him. We talk to Him. We listen to Him. We read the Bible. We memorize scripture. We let ourselves steep in His Word. We serve as He would serve. We love as He would love. And when we fail, because we will fail, we rest in the promise that the blood of Christ has already saved us and brought us near to God through His righteousness. Wow.

That is all. Never lose the wonder of what God has done for you. Below is a song by Amanda Cook called “Wonder.” If you have a minute, listen to it. It will bless you.

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