|May we pray, pray, pray and work, work, work to build a better tomorrow and welcome this world you have made and love to become all you have intended it to be.
O God of King David and Queen Elizabeth,
Of every Pharaoh and each Caesar, of all despots and dictators, of preachers, popes and presidents, of clerics, critics and colonels, of rabbis, rulers and rookies,
By your eternal Spirit, every single leader—whether great or small, good or evil, wise or incompetent, all with mixtures in between—have toiled and tarried, have succeeded or failed.
You alone are God. You alone have seen it all and know it all. You have inspired great human achievement and have wept through abject human terror. Always to rescue us, your persistent and patient love has gently carried every century and every empire.
In the confidence arising from this collective memory, we endeavor to pray for our leaders, to support them and hold them accountable not merely to their promises, but to your principles.
We pledge to defend the weak, protect the innocent and care for the needy. We seek to work for peace, to reconcile enemies and to honor fairness and justice. May we rise to a standard of mercy and fairness. May we bend to tangible and humble acts of service and sacrifice.
We hope in our leaders for nothing short of the absolute best we expect in ourselves.
With the respect we offer to honor the truth purposed to make us free, we implore your guidance to be redemptively self-critical and worldly-wise. Make us transparent with grace and resilient with courage.
In the freedom you have given each of us to be a Gandhi or a Hitler, grant us leaders who serve the common good by using their power to help the powerless and who understand their responsibility to give aid to the least of these, your children.
O God, whose name is the source and inspiration for all in life that is good, do not forsake us now. We have traveled too far, endured too much, heard too many stories, witnessed too much heartbreak, all to believe this moment is not cast with tremendous capacity to usher in a brand new day.
So, may we pray, pray, pray and work, work, work to build a better tomorrow and welcome this world you have made and love to become all you have intended it to be.
Mark Johnson is senior minister at Central Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky.