Freedom Habit: Pray

If prayer doesn’t fit your beliefs, I won’t insist upon it — though it fits mine, and I think it helps. Otherwise, I suggest regular, frequent prayer for the nation and its people, that they — that we — may value and preserve freedom. In fact, we may as well Pray to increase it. Then we might wish to pray for the people of other nations, where the blessings of peace and freedom are concerned.

In his first Epistle to Timothy, Paul prescribes prayer for those in positions of power (1 Timothy 2:1-4) — for the people’s sake and for the ruler’s sake, apparently. Praying for our leaders can be a sore subject, depending on what we think of them. But even if we count them enemies — and even though not all of us are Christian — I suggest the validity of this Christian commandment:

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)

That’s for enemies. For anyone less than an enemy, it ought to be that much easier and that much more obvious, right?

For the Mormons among us, one of the great heroes of the Book of Mormon, Captain Moroni, is closely tied to the subject of freedom. At one point — many points, probably — “he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty” for his people (Alma 46:13).

If that’s too sectarian for you, consider that George Washington was known to pray habitually. Benjamin Franklin urged his fellow delegates to pray at one of the 1787 Constitutional Convention’s darker moments (see James Madison’s notes for Thursday, July 28, 1787). And the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., prayed eloquently for the welfare of the nation and the freedom of its people. If you insist on better examples than these, maybe prayer isn’t your thing.

But if prayer is your thing, it’s also a Freedom Habit.

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