Light and liberty

Daily Reading for July 5 • Independence Day (transferred)

O Holy, righteous and immortal God, King of kings and Lord of lords, thou art the Giver of all good, and the only hope of all the ends of the earth. With humble adoration we would lift our heart and voice to thee, in praise and prayer. We adore thee as the God in whom our fathers trusted; as the God, whose holy protecting arm has preserved the people of these United States, through many and great perils.

Grant unto us, we beseech thee, such sense of thy blessings to us, and to the people of our country, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful, and our lives be devoted to thee. We beseech thee to continue thy merciful good to us and to our country. Give wisdom and strength and union to the government and people of these United States. Bless all who are set in authority over us, and so enlighten their minds, direct their counsels and strengthen their hands, that righteousness and peace may dwell in our land. May they who are appointed to give laws and to execute them, be endued with wisdom and equity and a just regard to the public good, that, through their impartial ministrations, peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety may increase, and the safety and welfare of thy people promoted.

Grant, O Lord, that a deep sense of thy providential care may preserve us from pride and self-dependence. While we are thankful for the great blessings of civil liberty, and political independence, may we be preserved from a trust in ourselves, and from all vain confidence of boasting. May we never forget who it is that makes us to differ from others, nor use our liberty for a cloak of maliciousness; but follow after charity and the things which make for peace. Preserve us, O Lord, from desolating judgments; from selfishness, discord and contention.

O grant, we beseech thee, that we may be united and happy; ever rejoicing in thy holy protection. And wilt thou, O Lord, be merciful to those, who need the blessings which we enjoy. May light and liberty, and pure and undefiled religion be more and more extended, till all the nations of the earth shall rejoice in thee their God.

Adapted from a prayer for Independence Day by Alexander Viets Griswold, 1766-1843, quoted in An American Prayer Book, compiled and edited by Christopher L. Webber. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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