John Carroll wrote this prayer around the year 1800.
As Election Day approaches in the United States, the polarized rhetoric and partisan vitriol emanating from the news networks and on social media is sure to reach a fever pitch. In these times of division, strife, and momentous change in our country, it is even more important for American Catholics to be humble witnesses for peaceful and constructive dialogue, no matter what our political leanings. We should pray for our country, its political leaders, and its government institutions.
The following is an abridged form of the “Prayer for the Government of the United States of America,” composed about the year 1800 by John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop of the newly independent United States.
We pray Thee, O Almighty and Eternal God, who through Jesus Christ has revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy; that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue, with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy name.
We pray Thee, O God of might, wisdom, and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist, with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude, the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people, over whom he presides, by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government; so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge, and may perpetuate to us the blessings of equal liberty.
We pray for his Excellency the Governor of this State, for the members of the Assembly, for all Judges, Magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare; that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.
We recommend likewise to Thy unbounded mercy all our brethren and fellow-citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge, and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.