Worship Resources about Faith and Citizenship
As children of God, no matter where we live, we are called to be citizens of the kingdom of God. But ultimately, our citizenship is in heaven and so, in everything, we turn our eyes toward the day when God will make everything new.
“We obey God first;
we respect the authorities that rule,
for they are established by God:
we pray for our rulers,
and we work to influence governments—
resisting them only when Christ and conscience demand.
We are thankful for the freedoms
enjoyed by citizens of many lands;
we grieve with those who live under oppression,
and we seek for them the liberty to live without fear.
We call on all governments to do public justice
and to protect the rights and freedoms
of individuals, groups, and institutions
so that each may do their tasks.
We urge governments and pledge ourselves
to safeguard children and the elderly
from abuse and exploitation,
to bring justice to the poor and oppressed,
and to promote the freedom
to speak, work, worship, and associate.” (source information)
As children of God, no matter where we live, we are called to be citizens of the kingdom of God. Through the living out of our faith, “all are called to mesh [our] kingdoms with those of other citizens in order to work together inside the kingdom of God” (Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Engaging God’s World. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, pg. 110.).
Ultimately, our citizenship is in heaven and so, in everything, we turn our eyes toward the day when God will make everything new. Philippians 3:20 says: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
A Prayer for the Nations
Glorious things are spoken of you,
God, the source of all springs.
Our names are known by you
and recorded in your book.
Your blessing was pronounced on all families
through your servant Abraham,
and you have established
a home for all of us.
We pray, O God,
for all the nations of the earth,
lands physically separated by geography—
peoples divided by language,
culture, custom, and color—
yet united as your children.
As of old you claimed your people
from all lands and nations—
from Egypt and Babylon,
Philistia and Ethiopia—
even so, look with mercy upon your church
in this land and in every nation.
Guide us in your ways of justice and peace.
We call upon you—
from every tribe and every nation,
in every tongue and language,
joining our voices together
in song proclaiming,
all our springs are in you. Amen.
Text: based on Psalm 87, Melissa Haupt, 2011, © Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
Prayers, Readings, and Videos
A Prayer for the Nations (LUYH 287) [See * below for abbreviation key]
Based on Psalm 87, this prayer can serve as a reminder that we are all united as God’s children, from all times and all places—all that we have and ever hope to be comes from God.
A Prayer of Indigenous Peoples, Refugees, Immigrants, and Pilgrims (LUYH 270)
Over history, the movement of different groups of people has caused divisions; this prayer longs for the day when all will become one, united before the throne of Jesus Christ not through our sameness but through the blood of Christ.
Affirmation: Joining the Mission of God (LUYH 263)
From Our World Belongs to God, this responsive reading voices the mission of citizens of the kingdom of God, living in the kingdom here on earth.
Affirmation: The Unity of the Body (LUYH 259)
This responsive reading from the Belhar Confession expresses the calling of the church universal to work, pray, and suffer with each other as citizens of the kingdom on earth, working toward a better world.
Blessed Be Egypt My People
This video examines the bloody history of the Egyptian and Middle Eastern church over 2000 years and calls the world to pray for the people who are living courageously, to this day, in the face of persecution. “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom" (Matthew 5:10).
From the Nile to the Euphrates: The Call of Faith and Citizenship
This statement of The Christian Academic Forum for Citizenship in the Arab world was written by academics and intellectuals from six countries: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Iraq, the "cradle of civilization." It details ten critical issues that have been documented through much study as affecting the "destiny of our peoples."
Songs About the Present Kingdom and Our Role as Citizens
For the Healing of the Nations – Fred Kaan (GATH 712, GtG 346, LUYH 289, UM 428, WOR 643)
A prayer for unity despite the things that threaten to divide and threaten God’s plan in the lives of God's children.
God of This City – McCann, Kernaghan, Boyd, Jordan, Comfort, Bleakley (LUYH 277)
This song places the ownership of the city and nation on God, who has the power to do great things and breathe light and hope into the hopeless and restless.
In an Age of Twisted Values – Martin E. Leckebusch (GtG 345, LUYH 662)
This prayer of lament names the struggle with the blindness of sophisticated greed, discrimination, and broken families, asking God to heal the nations.
Let Justice Flow – Douglas Romanow (LUYH 295)
Based on Amos 5:24, this prayer asks justice to flow through neighborhoods, bringing new life and healing to the homeless, hungry, prisoners, and orphans, and bringing salvation and peace to a hurting world.
O God of Every Nation – William W. Reid Jr. (ELW 713, GATH 717, GtG 756, LUYH 282, UM 435, WOR 650)
God is the God of every nation—this prayer asks God to redeem the whole creation and heal the strife-torn world.
O God, We Bear the Imprint – Shirley Erena Murray (GtG 759)
How deeply impacted this world is by hatred on the basis of skin color; this song speaks of the beauty that the variety of skin tones creates and how, despite the differences, we all reflect the imprint of God’s face.
O Great God and Lord of the Earth – John L. Bell (LUYH 293)
Through the words of this song, we can lament and confess on behalf of those who feel the weight of persecution and the pain of broken love.
When Asked, Who Is My Neighbor – Emily Brink (LUYH 294)
As citizens in this kingdom, while waiting for the heavenly kingdom, we are called to be good neighbors to those “both near and far away.”
Songs About the Coming Kingdom and Our Role as Citizens
Church of God, Elect and Glorious – James E. Seddon (LUYH 252)
As citizens of heaven, we are part of a holy nation and chosen race—as such, are called to joyfully serve the God who loves us.
This Is My Song – Lloyd Stone and Georgia Harkness (ELW 887, GATH 875, GtG 340, UM 437)
Using the familiar phrase, “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” this song expresses a unique prayer for the nations, because, ultimately, God is the God of all the nations.
We welcome other song or liturgical suggestions. To submit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ELW = Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
GATH = Gather Comprehensive (2nd edition), 2004 GIA Publications, Inc.
GtG = Glory to God, 2013 Westminster John Knox Press
LUYH = Lift Up Your Hearts, 2013 Faith Alive Christian Resources
UM = The United Methodist Hymnal, 1989 The United Methodist Publishing House
WOR = Worship: A Hymnal and Service Book for Roman Catholics (3rd edition), 1986 GIA Publications, Inc.
Source: Our World Belongs to God, article 52-53 © 2008 Christian Reformed Church in North America, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. Our World Belongs to God is also available in Spanish and Korean