[Reverend Peter Marshall (1902-1949) was Chaplain of the United States Senate. He emigrated from Scotland to American in 1927. Reverend Marshall was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1931. The Prayers of Peter Marshall were edited by his wife beloved author Catherine Marshall. After Reverend Marshall’s death, she wrote his biography A Man called Peter. The warmth, great wisdom, and humanity of Peter Marshall shine through his prayers. He was a man on intimate terms with God his Creator and Redeemer. As Mrs. Marshall declared, when he prayed “he knew Christ was there, and he was somehow able to transmit that knowledge to the waiting congregation bowed before him.” His prayers before the Senate show a sincere honest concern for the basic virtues of honesty, integrity, and goodness of an individual, as well as a profound love for his adopted country America.]
Our Father, bring to the remembrance of Thy people Thine ancient time-honored promise: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
We – this company of Thy people assembled – would begin now to meet the conditions that will enable Thee to fulfill Thy promise.
May all of America come to understand that right-living alone exalteth a nation, that only in Thy will can peace and joy be found. But, Lord, this land cannot be righteous unless her people are righteous, and we, here gathered, are part of America. We know that the world cannot be changed until the hearts of man are changed. Our hearts need to be changed.
We therefore confess to Thee that:
Wrong ideals and sinful living have cut us off from Thee.
We have been greedy.
We have sought to hide behind barricades of selfishness; shackles have imprisoned the great heart of America.
We have tried to isolate ourselves from the bleeding wounds of a blundering world.
In our self-sufficiency we have sought not Thy help.
We have held conferences and ignored Thee completely.
We have disguised selfishness as patriotism; our arrogance has masqueraded as pride.
We have fritted away time and opportunities while the world bled.
Our ambitions have blinded us to opportunities.
We have bickered in factory and business, and sought to solve our differences only through self-interest.
Lord God of Hosts, forgive us! O God, by Thy guidance and Thy power may our beloved land once again become God’s one country, a nation contrite in heart, confessing her sins; a nation keenly sensitive to all the unresolved injustice and wrong still in our midst.
Hear this our prayer and grant that we may confidently expect to see it answered in our time, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
“For God’s Grace in Our Helplessness”
We know, our Father, that at this desperate hour in world affairs, we need Thee. We need Thy strength, Thy guidance, Thy wisdom
There are problems far greater than any wisdom of man can solve. What shall our leaders do in such an hour?
May Thy wisdom and Thy power come upon the President of these United States, the Senates and Congressmen, to whom have been entrusted leadership. May the responsibility lie heavily on their hearts, until they are ready to acknowledge their helplessness and turn to Thee. Give to them the honest, the courage, and the moral integrity to confess that they don’t know what to do. Only then can they lead us as a nation beyond human wisdom to Thee, who alone hast the answer.
Lead us to this high adventure. Remind us that a “might fortress is our God” – not a hiding place where we can escape for an easy life, but rather an arsenal of courage and strength – the mightiest of all, who will march beside us into the battle for righteousness and world brotherhood.
O our God, may we never recover from our feeling of helplessness and our need of Thee! In the strong name of Jesus, our Lord, we pray. Amen.
“For the President of the United States”
We Pray, Lord Jesus, for our President. We are deeply concerned that he may know the will of God, and that he may have the spiritual courage and grace to follow it.
Deliver him, we pray, from all selfish considerations.
Lift him above the claims of politics.
Fill him with the Spirit of God that shall make him fearless to seek, to know, to do the right.
Save him from the friends who, in the name of politics or even friendship, would persuade him from that holy path.
Strengthen and empower his advisers. Bring them, too, to their knees in prayer. May their example and their influence spread, that we, in these United States, may yet have a government of men who know Thee, the Almighty God, as their Friend, and who place Thy will first in their lives as well as in their prayers.
Hear and answer, we pray Thee, forgiving us all our unworthiness; cleansing us from every ignoble thought and unworthy ambition that we may be renewed in spirit and mind and heart, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
“For the Leaders of Our Nation”
Our Father, bless, we pray Thee, the leaders of this nation. Strengthen the courage of the representatives in Congress assembled – sincere men who want to do the right, if only they can be sure what is right. Make it plain to them, O Lord. And then wilt Thou start them out on the right way, for Thou knowest that we are hard to turn.
Forgive them for the blunders they have committed, the compromises they have made. Give to them the courage to admit mistakes. Take away from us as a nation and as individuals that stubborn pride which, followed by conceit, imagines itself to be above and beyond criticism.
Save our leaders, O God, from themselves and from their friends – even as Thou hast saved them from their enemies.
Let no personal ambition blind them to their opportunities.
Help them to give battle to hypocrisy wherever they find it.
Give them divine common sense and a selflessness that shall make them think of service and not of gain.
May they have the courage to lead the people of this Republic, considering unworthy the expediency of following the people.
Save them from the folly of man-made schemes and plans. Give to them the faith and the courage together to seek God’s inspired plan and, finding it, to propose it, knowing that when it is God-inspired, Thou wilt open the way for it through all obstacles.
As Thou hast made and preserved us a nation, so now mold us into a people more worthy of a great heritage. In Thy strong name we make these prayers. Amen.
"Prayer for America"
Our Father, we pray for this land. We need Thy help in this time of testing and uncertainty, when men who could fight together on the field of battle seem strangely unable to work together around conference tables for peace.
May we begin to see that all true Americanism begins in being Christian; that it can have no other foundation, as it has no other roots.
To Thy glory was this Republic established. For the advancement of the Christian faith did the Founding Fathers give their life’s heritage, passed down to us.
We would pray that all over this land there may be a return to the faith of those men and women who trusted God as they faced the perils and dangers of the frontier, not alone in crossing the continent, in building their cabins, in rearing their families, in eking out a livelihood, but in raising a standard of faith to which men have been willing to repair down through the years.
Thou didst bless their efforts. Thou didst bless America. Thou hast made her rich. Wilt Thou also maker her good?
Make us, the citizens of this land, what to do the right things. Make us long to have right attitudes. Help us to be Christian in our attitudes. Let all that we do and say spring out of understanding hearts.
Make us willing to seek moral objectives together, that in united action this nation may be as resolute for righteousness and peace as she has been for war.
Bless those who bear responsibility. May they be led by Thee to do that which is right rather than that which is expedient or politically wise. Save us from politicians who seek only their own selfish interests. Illumine the minds of management as well as labor, that there may be an end to selfishness and greed, to the stupidity of men who are unable to find in reasonable agreement solutions to the problems that plague us.
Bless this land that we love so much, our Father, and help her to deposit her trust, not in armies and navies, in wealth and material resources, or in achievements of the human mind, but in that righteousness which alone exalteth any nation, and by which alone peace can finally come to us. This we ask in that name that is above every name, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.
“For Those in Service of Our Country”
We, LORD, Jesus, are children of God. Yet we would not be the sons and daughters of men were we not sometimes fearful, did not our hearts often ache and harbor anxiety for those we love who wear our country’s uniform, who serve her in didtant places.
Yet we know, our Father, that the Everlasting Arms reach out across the world. We know that the shadow of Thy wing covers all Thy children.
We are persuaded that in that world of the Spirit in which we really live neither persecution nor perial nor sword shall be able to separate us from Thy love.
We know that the bonds of fellowship of prayer are real. We know that at the throne of grace we are all united, that our souls mingle with those we love on earth even though separated by tumbling sea and dreary miles.
So now our minds and hearts reach out to be in spirit with those whom we name now before Thee; to surround them with our love and prayers and hopes. For them we ask:
Support in time of need…
Strength beyond their own…
Confidence that Thou are their Shepherd, that Thou wilt never for a moment forsake them…
Thy strength in temptation, that they may be kept clean…
The gift of inner peace, a serenity that no tragedy can destroy…
That knowledge of God that shall assure them of eternal life, of peace and joy forevermore…
Thy gift of resoluteness in duty; gird them with courage; enable them to quit themselves like men who have deposited all their trust in their God…
A determination toward love, not hatred, that the fruits of victory shall not wither…
Salvation of body and soul, and if it be possible, bring them safely home.
We thank Thee that this ministry of intercessory prayer has linked our hearts and bound us even closer to those we love – closer to Thee and to them. May we feel Thy presence, and see by faith that day when the love of Christ shall live in the hearts of all men everywhere.
Hear, O God, not alone these prayers, but the unspoken inarticulate yearning of every seeking heart bowed before Thee. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
“In a Time of National Danger”
O LORD, when we, Thy children, are apprehensive about the affairs of our world, remind us that Thou are in Thy world as well as above and beyond it. Remind us that Thou art not indifferent. For Thou art not a spectator God, high and lifted up, serene an unperturbed. The feet that were wounded are still walking the trails of earth. The heart that was broken on the tree still feels every human woe.
Thus shall we not feel forsaken, nor give way to hopelessness. Thus we shall know that Thou hast a plan, and that Thy will shall one day be done on earth, not alone by those who love Thee and know Thee to be God, but by all, not in one nation or two, but in all the nations of the earth. Then shall every tongue confess that Christ is Lord, and every knee shall bow before Thee.
Sustain us with that hope and encouragement, that our prayer be not in vain when we pray “Thy Kingdom come.” Come it will, however dark may be the present prospects for peace on earth – in the darkness of men’s minds and the hardness of men’s hearts.
We do pray that Thou, O Holy Spirit, where Thou dost find the doors of human hearts still closed before Thee, wilt knock the louder and wilt, in Thy own secret way, prevail upon the wills of men that they may do the will of God – ere it be too late.
All these things we ask in that name above every name, that name before whom all nations of the earth shall bow, Thy son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.
“Before a National Election”
LORD Jesus, we ask Thee to guide the people of this nation as they exercise their dearly bought privilege of franchise. May it neither be ignored unthinkingly nor undertaken lightly. As citizens all over this land go to the ballot boxes, give them s sense of high privilege and joyous responsibility.
Help those who are about to be elected to public office to come to understand the real source of their mandate – a mandate given by no party machine, received at no polling booth, but given b God; a mandate to govern wisely and well; a mandate to represent God and truth at the heart of the nation; a mandate to do good in the mane of Him under whom this Republic was established.
We ask Thee to lead America in the paths where Thou wouldst have her walk, to do the tasks which Thou hast laid before her. So may we together seek happiness for all our citizens in the name of Him who created us all equal in His sight, and therefore brothers. Amen.
“For a Renaissance of Faith”
Our Father, remove from us the sophistication of our age and the skepticism that has come, like frost, to blight our faith and to make it weak. Bring us back to a faith that makes men great and strong, a faith that enables us to love and to live, the faith by which we are triumphant, the faith by which alone we can walk with Thee.
We pray for a return of that simple faith, that old-fashioned faith, that made strong and great the homes of our ancestors who built this good land and who in building left us our heritage. In the strong name of Jesus, our Lord, we make this prayer. Amen.
In closing, here is a quote from Reverend Marshall which is most relevant to our day:
“The choice before us is plain: Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration. I am rather tired of hearing about our rights and privileges as Americans. The time is come – it is now – when we ought to hear about the duties and responsibilities of our citizenship. America’s future depends upon her accepting and demonstrating God’s government.”