Thursday, August 04, 2011

A Prayer For Our Leaders And Our Country

A dear friend of mine called today and was mad as a hornet about the recent sell off in stocks.  He quickly stated that he knew that stocks go up and down and that volatility was always present in the stock market.  He was not angry so much about his big paper losses because he was living off the income of his portfolio, and he agreed with me that the income was secure.  He said his anger was directed toward the United States Congress and the President because they had all brought on the carnage in the stock market by their recent show of ineptitude in passing the debt-ceiling increase.  He said, "They have made us the laughingstock of the world and given us the feeling that they are so rabid on both sides that only a crises can provoke them to agree on anything."  

He explained that only 50% of American pay Federal income taxes and yet the Democrats want to raise taxes on only those who already pay taxes, not on the hundreds of millions of people who pay no taxes. He uttered, "Everyday this feels more like we live in a socialist country."  

He was equally upset, however, at the Republican leadership because they could not reign in the wild bunch who were ready to shut down the government rather than raise taxes.  He said, "Where are the statesman?  Where is the reason?  Who is willing to serve their country rather than their ideology?"  He said a lot more that I cannot print.

I told him that I believed there were many other factors that had contributed to the recent weakness in stocks, the credit problems in Europe being number one.  "He said Europe is a zombie headed for 20 years of tepid growth just like Japan, but they despise the US so much that they would rather go bankrupt as a united entity rather than save their necks by abandoning their common currency."

I started to answer his latest mortar blast when I realized my answers were not the solution.  I said,"Sounds like we need to pray."

He almost shouted at me that that was the only thing that could save a corrupt and dimwitted world.  And so I asked him,"Do you want to start the prayer or should I?"

He said he was too wound up to pray and that my prayer would be much appreciated.

"Oh creator God;  Alpha and Omega, look down upon us your stiff-necked and self-serving people.  Grant us a measure of your wisdom; teach us your ways; and save us from our self serving ways.  Break our hearts, Lord, and help us to understand that even your Word says there will always be the poor among us whom you called blessed.  Those whose wounds You ask use to minister to.  Wounds You invite us to enter into that we may find our own healing, our own better selves.  

Teach us Lord when enough is enough.  Give us the joy of living in your Spirit, and the assurance that in You we have everything we need.  Indeed, more than we than we can imagine. Rest your heart and hand on the leadership of our country, Lord.  Humble the deceivers and the proud.  Enliven your Holy Spirit on this country we love and help us both to know the path we must follow--and to follow it.  But not just the US, Lord, but also the world You so love.  

Finally, God we ask that you walk with us as we pass through this dark season, that we might be comforted and guided by your light.  Amen. 

Do you have anything to add?"

"Do you really believe I can count on my income?"

"Yes, I do.  You have only high quality dividend paying stocks and investment grade bonds.  Your portfolio was built to handle this kind of weather.  The weather might be rough, but I believe the portfolio can handle it."  

"Amen.  Tell me the truth; you're just as mad as I am aren't you?"

"Yes,  I am, but you used up all the good lines.  That left me with only a prayer."