I welcome you to the "City of Angels" with all its vibrant religious, ethnic, and racial diversity. I come to this great convening out of respect for our nation's democratic traditions. I come as a pastor, not a politician; an advocate of values, not candidates.
Prayer must be about moral values, not partisan politics. It should express faith, not ideology. So as we begin our prayer this evening let us be mindful that we are always in the presence of God:
Let us Pray:
God of life and love,
God of compassion and mercy,
God of reconciliation and forgiveness,
God of justice and peace.
As you gathered your people into the land that was promised to them, you called them to heed your voice and follow your commandments. These commandments are at once simple and profound: To love God above all else and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We have been called to "choose life" and to "serve the least of these."
Tonight we are gathered here profoundly aware of our need for God's wisdom and grace to embody these commandments in our laws and policies so that "justice will flow like a mighty river and uprightness like a never-failing stream" (Amos 5.24). Strengthen our will to build a nation that measures progress by how the weak and vulnerable are faring.
In the span of just three weeks, our nation's major political parties will have gathered at their conventions to select their candidates for the upcoming presidential campaign. We pray tonight that your Spirit will inspire all candidates, regardless of party, to embody in their words, actions, and policies values that protect all human life, establish peace, promote justice, and uphold the common good. For it is in you, O God, that we trust.
In You, O God, we trust…that you will keep us ever committed to protect the life and well-being of all people but especially unborn children, the sick and the elderly, those on skid row and those on death row.
In You, O God, we trust…that you will instill in us the resolve to not rest until every family has enough food to eat, the clothing to keep them warm, adequate shelter to protect them from the elements, and a decent education for their children.
In You, O God, we trust…that you will give us the resolve to create those conditions in society where working people earn wages that can sustain themselves and their family members in dignity, and that they have access to adequate healthcare, childcare, and education.
In You, O God, we trust…that you will plant deep in our hearts the truth that our neighbor is anyone near or far who needs our assistance and support regardless of whether they suffer from AIDS or debt in Africa, religious persecution in China or Sudan, or from hunger and poverty in developing countries.
In You, O God, we trust…that we will recognize that dignity and worth of each person comes from you and is not determined by race or ethnicity, by age or gender, by economic or immigration status, by faith or creed.
Tonight, O God, we pray for "a new kind of politics, focused more on moral principles than on the latest polls, more on the needs of the poor and vulnerable than the contributions of the rich and powerful, more on the pursuit of the common good than the demands of special interests."
We pray, O God,
That you will give us the courage, the wisdom, and the insight,
To build a nation founded on "life, liberty and the pursuit of justice" for all God's children.
We make our prayer in your name.