Praying for our country is an important part of Christian worship and witness. Our prayers are rightly grateful, for we are blessed. But there should be petitions and intercessions, too; so many live in poverty, in violent homes, with injustice and fear.
Still, isn’t it a stretch to apply all of Psalm 80 to this country? It’s easy to ask God to protect our country like the psalmist asked God to protect Israel, even to credit God with establishing this country. Even some of the geography transfers. But the images of judgment-God breaking down the national defences, the country ravaged by internal enemies-does that apply? Isn’t there a big difference between Israel desolated after the Assyrian conquest and Canada in the Age of Security? Yes, on every level. Yet our country exists under God’s judgment, too. The psalmist’s laments apply to our country, too-fire, rebuke, brokenness-and so also the gospel and the promise of repentance. For our country, too, God’s judgment falls on Jesus, and through him, life and faith fall on us.
Loving God, turning from you we fall, turning to you we rise, standing before you we abide forever. Grant us your help in all our duties, your guidance in all our uncertainties, your protection in all our dangers, and your peace in all our sorrows, through Christ our Lord. Amen. — RB