Praying for the Nation

Below is the benediction I was honored to give at the close of the opening night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

As a young woman of faith and a leader, I am humbled to follow the First Lady, whom we all admire. So, thank you for inviting me here. As we close this day, let us quiet our hearts in prayer.

God, I stand before You and ask that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing unto You.

I pray for our President, Barack Obama. May he know Your presence, oh God, as he continues to serve as a leader of this nation, as a husband to Michelle, and as father to his daughters. Help him to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with you.

I pray as well for Governor Mitt Romney. May he know Your presence, oh God, as he continues to serve as a leader, as a husband to Ann, and as a father to his sons and their families. Help him to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with you.

I pray for our country in the next nine weeks leading up to this election – for those of us meeting here and for our fellow citizens who met last week. May we make our children proud of how we conduct ourselves. We know our human tendencies toward finger-pointing and frivolousness. Our better selves want this race to be honest and edifying rather than fabricated and self-serving.

Give us, oh Lord, humility to listen to our sisters and brothers across the political spectrum, because your kingdom is not divided into Red States and Blue States. Equip us with moral imagination to have real discourse. Knit us, oh God, as one country even as we wrestle over the complexity of how we ought to live and govern. Give us gratitude for our right to dissent and disagree. For we know that we are bound up in one another and have been given the tremendous opportunity to extend humanity and grace when others voice their deeply held convictions even when they differ from our own.

And give us wisdom, God, to discover honest solutions for we know it will take all of us to care for the widow and the orphan, the sick and the lonely, the downtrodden and the unemployed, the prisoner and the homeless, the stranger and the enemy, the thirsty and the powerless. In rural Africa, I am witness to thousands of HIV positive mothers, fathers and children who are alive today because Democrats and Republicans put justice and mercy above partisanship. Help us keep that perspective even as we debate one another.

God, I thank you for the saving grace of Jesus and for the saints who have humbly gone before us. I thank you for the words of St. Francis of Assisi whose prayer I carry with me both in my home in East Nashville and in my work across rural Africa.

As we enter this election season, I pray St. Francis’ words for us all.

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

259 Replies

  1. Mary Helms Reply

    Awesome job Jena! The words of prayer were so passionate and true! Your love for people came shining through!

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you, Mary! I’m so glad that love is what you saw; it’s truly what I felt.

  2. joao Reply

    Greetings from Brazil… that was right on. Saint Francis pray for the US people.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Brazil! Wow! Thank you for your prayers for our country.

  3. Clark Palmer Reply

    Excellent prayer. I’d never heard of you but your prayer was timely and balanced and you were fearless (at least on the outside.) Well done.

    • Desma Reno Reply

      She is fearless and as you saw. My son works with her and she is a visionary leader and tireless advocate for the african people. Check out Blood Water Mission and see for yourself what great things they are doing.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you, Clark. I was a bit fearful leading up to it, but certainly felt God’s peace as I prayed.

  4. Desma Reno Reply

    You were wonderful and such an inspiration to the young adults in this country. I am so proud of you and the work you do. It was just fantastic!

  5. Anonymous Reply

    Nice work Jena!!!!! Love that you are still spreading the Love of Christ.

  6. jillian mayles Reply

    Sounds great! Looking forward to hearing it live. I will be praying it goes really well for you. So glad James was not out of town and can be there with you!

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thanks Jill. It was wonderful to have James there with me. I hope you and your beautiful family are doing well. Lots of love.

  7. Tad Reply

    What is moral imagination?

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Tad, you’re not the only person who has asked me that question. It will take more than a comment, so perhaps I should follow up with a blog post about it in the next week or so!

  8. Rob Reply

    Jena, thank you for praying so eloquently; I listened a second time. I pray your words reach into people’s hearts and turn them towards the Lord “because your kingdom is not divided into Red States and Blue States”, but may He guide the outcome of this election.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you for joining me in prayer, Rob. It’s difficult to be kingdom-minded in the midst of an emotional and polarizing political season, but I do hope we can all get a little bit closer to a bigger perspective of God’s kingdom.

  9. lilyweeds Reply

    Beautiful benediction. Blessings to you. <3

  10. Rev. Jes Kast-Keat Reply

    Beautiful and meaningful prayer, Jena. Thank you for crafting these words from our sacred text. Bless you for providing a space of thoughtful faith tonight.

  11. Kevin Twit Reply

    Great prayer Jena – was at RUF so I missed hearing it, but so proud of you!

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thanks Kevin! Love to you, Wendy and your sweet kiddos!

  12. j Reply

    That’s a great prayer, and hearing you pray it made me think you really know the Lord that saves the lost that call on His name. .

    I am also a fan of the “Jugs”.

    So, I wonder how you could do anything to help the reelection of a president that supports killing babies that survive abortion.

    Wondering how,


    • JS Reply

      Probably because there is more than one way to reduce the number of abortions. I invite you to ponder the abortion rates in the USA and Holland and consider why rates in Holland are so much lower. Would a Republican support any of those policies?

  13. Saraah Ries Reply

    This was such a gorgeous expression of asking for God’s mercy and guidance in a non-partisan way that keeps the focus on Him and His will rather than our own. Thank you for your humility, diligence, and courage in speaking these words tonight.

  14. Richard McClure Reply

    For anyone and everyone reading this. My name is Richard. I am a Missionary, single father and blood:water mission advocate, here in Memphis, TN. Just over 1 month ago, the good Lord led me to this mission. By His design. The mission is clear. These humble servants, Jena included, are tireless in their dedication to this cause. I am a proud Uncle to a young boy, Jeremiah, adopted 4 yrs ago from Liberia/W Africa. At 4, he endured a 3 hour journey to retrieve, water-polluted water-for his village. He was an orphan.
    So, admittedly, words cannot express just how honored and proud I am to serve, alongside, Jena, Mike Hamilton and the ENTIRE blood:water NATION, as we, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, serve the Lord’s will-not our own-to bring FAITH, HOPE and LOVE to the people of Africa. Remember, the ‘greatest of these…is LOVE.’

  15. Beverly K (@specialten) Reply

    I loved your Benediction prayer and prayed it with you. Thank you, Jena! May God bless us with the grace in your prayers for unity and good works.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you do much for your kind words, Beverly.

  16. Digital Mom Reply

    Simply beautiful.

  17. Ellen McPherson Reply

    Beautiful, centering, inclusive prayer. Thank You for your thoughtful words.

  18. dimplemonkey Reply

    Well done! It was heartfelt. I hope and pray it was felt throughout this great nation.

  19. deborahbarnett Reply

    So, so proud of you my friend. And please remember your own words in light of those who would like to stir up strife and controversy…”We know our human tendencies toward finger-pointing and frivolousness. Our better selves want this race to be honest and edifying rather than fabricated and self-serving.” Amen and amen. Anyone trying to “muddle” the message… never listened to the message. Love you to pieces and proud as ever.

  20. Jesse Baker Reply

    Reblogged this on On Unforced Rhythms… and commented:
    This is a beautifully written, and much-needed prayer. May we all pray so boldly with hearts full of such grace.

    • Jesse Baker Reply

      A friend of mine posted this transcript, and I’m so grateful he did. Thank you so much for allowing the God of peace, grace, and humility speak through you tonight… even in the midst of such an environment where it can often be so difficult to hear his voice.

      Not to mention, it’s a honor to see that we’re neighbors :)
      Way to represent our big, little city in such a wonderful way!

        • Jesse Baker Reply

          I lived on Bronte Ave. last year, but just moved to the Belmont area to be a little closer to work. Love the East side though.

  21. Happy Lady Reply

    I read this because my daughter posted the link — so glad I did. Your prayer was absolutely beautiful and expressed so many needs for our great country. Everyone, no matter what party should hear or read these beautiful words.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you for you and your daughter’s encouragement. Peace to you.

  22. adam mclane Reply

    I don’t know how words came out of your mouth after Mrs. Obama finished speaking. Thank you for this appropriate closing to the night.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      She is certainly a tough act to follow. I’m thankful that I was simply invited to close the night in prayer.

  23. m Reply

    Thanking you for mentioning the saving Grace of Jesus in your prayer…I find it refreshing to hear the sincerity of his name in such a liberal audience, Maybe you”ll get another opportunity to correct MO that as a
    christian our bodies belong to the one who purchased them with His own
    Blood, therefore…..

    The Lord may have put you there for such a time as this….
    Thank you for speaking boldly in love

  24. Jane Redmont Reply

    Splendid, Jena, you hit all the right notes and spoke from heart, head, and experience as well as a deep sense of the common good and the search for the kin(g)dom. Thank you.

  25. Matt Cromwell Reply

    Thank you for such being a voice of reason and non-partisan sincerity in the middle of this crazy election cycle. I really hope this prayer spreads like wildfire — we all need the grace of Jesus and the prayer of St Francis to cover us. God bless you!

  26. Kurt Young Reply

    I am a liberal, I am a Christian, I am a delegate to the Convention. I don’t care whether we agree on ideology or politics, the Lord was truly at work in your words. You have an incredible gift for ministry. There was apparently only one person in the world who could have followed the First Lady’s speech tonight, and God put her on the stage tonight. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

  27. themoonisdown Reply

    Thank you thank you thank you! I can’t say thank you enough for allowing yourself to be a vessel for the benediction you delivered at the DNC. It was beautiful and exactly the words we need to remember this election season. I will be sharing with everyone I know. Again, thank you.

  28. Ross Carper Reply

    Thanks as always Jena, for showing the world what it looks like to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Your Spokane friends are so thankful for your ministry through BWM… and you shined tonight when the world was watching like never before. Well:done!

  29. Cher Reply

    Happy to see all the Conservatives make positive comments here.

  30. Grant Nordwall Reply

    Jena, thank you very much for this. This is precisely God’s heart for this country – may he give millions of Americans the ears to hear His heart through this prayer. I’m stoked that the Lord gave you the opportunity and the words to speak, and thank you for your grace and wisdom to deliver such an anointed prayer. In working with Seeds of Hope I am well acquainted with the kindness of Blood:Water Mission and your commitment to lasting change in Africa, but now I also see the wisdom of it’s leaders! Thanks!

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you, Grant, for your love for our friends in Zambia!

  31. David Reply

    In Jesus’ name…ah, if only we weren’t afraid of offending people with our prayers to the God of the universe. I would love to hear the rationalization for not including that at the end…and why Jesus’ saving work got as much attention as the “saints” who have gone before us??

    • myfullemptynest Reply

      Really, that’s your take? Did you miss this? “God, I thank you for the saving grace of Jesus and for the saints who have humbly gone before us.” This prayer deserves nothing but praise. I’m proud of her.

      • myfullemptynest Reply

        The “saving Grace of Jesus” is much more relevant than in “Jesus name amen.” And we all should be thankful for the saints who have humbly gone before us.

  32. Clydette Reply

    Jena, this was inspired. Thank you for these words from Above for those of us here on Earth. Thank you for acknowledging Jesus and His saving grace in this benediction so that all could hear.

  33. flatterthankansas Reply

    Reblogged this on Flatter than Kansas and commented:
    I read Jena’s prayer and her words speak to the heart of the matter. I hope her words speak to you as well.

  34. myfullemptynest Reply

    So proud of your Christian example through this prayer. Chills. Thanks & blessings to you.

  35. Global Partnerships Reply

    Reblogged this on Global Partnerships-North Park University and commented:
    We have just two months until the presidential election. Let’s continue to pray for our political leaders and try to be an example that overcomes partisan finger-pointing. I am so proud that young christians are represented and the DNC. Take a look at the benediction by Miss Nardella.

  36. Lee Poteet Reply

    Jena, just how do you feel about the Democrat Party removing God from their platform and putting much in that is in direct opposition to His commandments? Or haven’t you noticed because you have created an idol of the very nasty woman who is currently ‘First Lady?’

    • Bill Reply

      Sir, I’ll assume you are just ignorant rather than stupid. In either case, surely you must know that your judgement and mean spirited accusations could not be pleasing to God.

      • Dave Reply

        AMEN, BILL!

    • mrlee44 Reply

      And a Mormon running for President is . . . – Lee, read the prayer and pray that prayer. It is seeking God and His will, it is praying for those involved and asking God to help them. If we had more people praying things like this instead of people like you writing things like that, the country would be better off.

      Great Prayer Jena. I didn’t watch the convention so, I am glad you posted this. May God bless you and may we all pray like this.

    • Karen Green Reply

      Bill, are you aware that god is not mentioned in the constitution?

    • Ted Coppock Reply

      My the will of God be the judge of your dividing comments!

  37. Terri Reply

    Your words are inspiring and inspirational. You are a credit to your upbringing, so happy that they found a young person with your wisdom to inspire the country to look beyond the bickering and see the people we need to elect. Thank You.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Terri, I’m proud to represent the multitude of young people I know and work with who care about seeking justice and loving mercy regardless of political affiliation.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you, Julia. We pray the prayer at our church every week and it’s meant a lot to me. Thanks for sharing the link.

  38. Matt Elliott Reply

    Enjoyed praying with you on CSPAN last night, Jena! It was so meaningful and passionate.

  39. Don Schiewer Jr Reply

    Reblogged this on pa5t0rd and commented:
    This is a wonderful benediction – given last night at the DNC

      • Don Schiewer Jr Reply

        Of course. Thank you for the example of love, mercy, and grace in the midst of a setting that is anything but those things.

  40. Lois Keen Reply

    Thank you, Jena. Well done, thou good and faithful servant!

  41. George Baum Reply

    I’m sure you have no idea how lovely your prayer was. Oh, wait, of course you do. Thank you for your beautiful, non-partisan prayer for our leaders and our nation.

  42. shira Reply

    This was such a terrific benediction that I went looking for the text this morning to share with others who missed it. I love the emphasis on listening and giving.

  43. shira Reply

    This was such a terrific benediction that I went looking for the text this morning to share with friends who missed it.

  44. ahuntca Reply

    Thank you! This was a mighty fine prayer modeling the best in all of us. I’ve passed it on suggesting that all of us pray it more than once between now and election day. I loved the inclusion of praying for Mitt and for the folks at the Republican convention as well… May it be so and may it be leaven for all that is best in us. I was attending another event during Michelle’s speech so did not see you live. When I got home started watching the re-runs on C-Span but did not see you there… Glad this got posted and picked up by an organization and reposted by them so that I found it on my fb this morning. Blessings!

  45. Scott Reply

    Thank you, Jena, for your articulate and faithful benediction. If all believers in America, regardless of their political persuasion, would offer genuine prayers such as yours, America would experience the spiritual healing we so desperately need: “If my people, who are called by my name, will 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.”
    2 Chronicles 7:14

  46. Valerie Gebhardt Reply

    This is the most well thought out benediction I have ever heard. And the Prayer of St. Francis was so appropriate! I have it in my office and in my home. Many blessings to you and yours.

  47. Liz Reply

    Thank you for such wise and thoughtful words… and a wonderful example of honestly seeking God and loving others.

  48. Mary Ann richardson Reply

    I loved your prayer and being Christian, I worship Jesus. However, when praying among a huge mixed audience, I believe, it is important to be inclusive. I prefer to pray to the God of all people. I respect the freedom we have in this country to practice our individual religion. Thank you. Peace

    • Susan Watkins Chesney Reply

      Jenna, your prayer was exceptional…however, I agree with Mary Ann Richardson, that praying “to the God of all people” would be a more inclusive way to share your prayer. Blessings to you and to Mary Ann.

    • jason scott Reply

      She didn’t pray to a God she doesn’t believe in. She prayed to the one and only God. All are inlcuded if they choose to believe.

      • Anonymous Reply

        Jason, I though her prayer was great and I loved it. And, i do believe there is only one God but he is not worshipped in the same way by all people. The DNC included many different religions. My comment was to the reference of Jesus. I would have simply used God as an inclusion of all people. I realize that I will take flake for my comment but …. It is just my opinion. If I was praying for an all Christian audience, then I would use Jesus. I have respect for all religions not just mine and I never want anyone in an audience for which I am praying to feel even one small slight. I believe this is what I am called to do by the second commandment – love your neighbor as yourself. Thank you for listening.

      • Mary Ann Richardson Reply

        The comment below in response to Scott is mine … No sure why anonymous shows as the author.

    • qathy Reply

      She was actually exercising her own religion. She prayed to the God she believes in. The other religions have to respect her for that. People who pray inclusively are not praying at all; they are making a political statement.

      • andydbrown Reply

        Well said, qathy. How can a christian “respect other religions” which do not offer salvation and keep people in the dark? Interfaith is no faith at all. Jesus said “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

  49. Sean Emslie Reply

    Thank you Jena for your beautiful prayer of unity and love. I really appreciated this line: “God, I thank you for the saving grace of Jesus and for the saints who have humbly gone before us.” So often in public prayer at political events Jesus is just a name mentioned detached from his work as Savior or in the evangelical tagline “in Jesus name”, rather than mentioning Him you revealed Him in these words. Many blessings on your work!

  50. cinda gorman Reply

    You made me so proud of being a fellow Whitworth alum…class of 1971. Long before you were a twinkle in anyone’s eye….except God’s.

  51. Ira McIntosh Reply

    Jena, it was awesome to share the stage with you at graduation in May, and I feel so proud that a Whitworth alumna is making her mark on the world is such a big way. Keep up the good work!

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Ira, it was my honor to share the stage with you. I hope this new season of life is going well, slowly by slowly!

  52. Kevin McGrane Reply

    What a wonderful job you did last night! And what a wonderful ministry you have in Africa! You make all we “Piskies” proud and humbled. God bless you in your work. Allow me to keep you in my prayers. Pax!

  53. Kathy Reply

    Amen and Amen!

  54. Matt Reply

    Amazing job, Jena! Thank you for setting a decent and inclusive tone.

  55. redwolfe_98 Reply

    hey jena.. i loved listening to you at the DNC convention..

  56. Joanna Clancy Reply

    Beautiful prayer, Jena! May we try to live up to it!

  57. Anonymous Reply

    I appreciate your prayers for ALL the people, our Nation, ALL political figures involved. Your politically neutral prayer/message was uplifting in a time when we need to be reminded that God is in control. Thanks, for such a beautiful prayer.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Yes, it’s an important thing to be reminded about. Thank you for your kind words.

  58. newbridgenaz Reply

    There was so little I could support in the day of speeches, but your prayer brought pause and praise to God beyond the political process to a Kingdom perspective with Grace and Beauty. Thank You for rising to the invitation and challenge with all the Courage and Poise that could not be ignored.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      I actually felt the pause taken in the room – something I did not expect, but for which I am thankful!

  59. Chris Reply

    That was amazing and your mission is as well.

  60. Alece Ronzino (@gritandglory) Reply

    My heart resounds with yours in a loud AMEN. Thank you for beautifully and gracefully expressing not only your heart, but the heart of God. He was seen, felt, and experienced through your presence and words.

  61. Marilyn Reply

    So glad a friend posted this on Facebook. There is no doubt that these words were inspired by the God you serve. It is for all of us who share faith but disagree on politics. Thank you.

  62. Anonymous Reply

    wow, what a breath of fresh air this benediction was! Imagine what we could do if we all came together and focused on what we agreed on instead of what we disagree on. Thank you so much for your challenging words- they brought me a lot of hope. Blessings!

  63. brosie4mykids Reply

    Jena, writing a prayer for a huge convention must be a very daunting process. I’m sure our Lord was smiling that you gave Him such honor. I hope those listening on both sides do not only hear but understand and that God continues to bless this great country so that we can keep sending missionaries, like you, around the world to spread His love and grace. Don’t be discouraged by those that might not understand your intentions through the words you used–God understands. Blessings–

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thanks for this. It was a very daunting process, and I believed it was something I needed to say “yes” to. I’m thankful I did. Blessings.

  64. qathy Reply

    I thought your prayer was appropriately not supportive of a president who is fine with killing babies, and it asked for all the right things. I just don’t understand how a person who thinks that way can associate with a group that thinks like the Democrat party.

    • Pam Reply

      Jesus went to where the sinners were to preach. Jena is doing the same thing. As was already mentioned, she did not align herself with either party and did a wonderful job of bringing God to the convention.

      • qathy Reply

        You make an excellent point.

    • Bill Reply

      Not only did Jesus go to where the sinners were to preach, but the Pharisees could not understand “how a person who thinks that way can associate with a group that thinks like (fill in the blank)”. Turns out, the tax collector was the disciple and the Pharisee was the one who just didn’t get it. Feeding the poor, healing the sick, housing the homeless… – those are all part of the platform of the Democratic Party and much more in line with Jesus’ teaching – wouldn’t you say? Thank you Jena, for a beautiful prayer.

      • qathy Reply

        Their platform hasn’t meant very much over the past four years, so I don’t waste any time with it. I simply look at the numbers of people leaving, not entering, the world of work. That exodus is the real problem which is not being addressed either by the platform or the president. The willingness of the party to focus on agendas rather than accomplishments makes the platform irrelevant to those who actually want to work and support themselves. There actually are people who don’t want benefits. They want jobs. Jesus was about truth, not agendas.

      • Pete In NC Reply

        He also said. “Matthew 7:6: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine, lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you.”

        So I wonder which should apply here. Understand that the delegates voted to keep God and Jerusalem off the platform, but were denied their vote. So, I hope she was heard by at least one of those people to be brought to Christ.

      • Mary Ann Richardson Reply

        qathy, what have the Repulicans and the rest of Congress done for jobs – you don’t have to be President to work on jobs or anything else to help our country. Looking at jobs leaving is only half of the equation. And Jesus was about love, as in the first two and most important commandments. If love can be put first, much can be accomplished. peace.

    • Anonymous Reply

      I wonder if you have ever had a real, open-minded conversation with a pro-life, Christian aligned with the Democrats. Being a Democrat, a Christian, a pro-life individual, an advocate for justice and mercy are not mutually exclusive. Genuine, heartfelt prayer lifted to God does not need critiquing. Praise to God and may His will be done for our country.

  65. Anonymous Reply

    In a world that so often associates Christianity with arrogance and divisiveness, I want to thank you for representing our Savior so well. I get so weary of the acrimony associated with American politics, particularly when it comes from the mouths of Christians. I pray that your words will help all of us to refocus on God’s goals to ” seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.”

    • Pete in NC Reply

      I wonder what your (Jena) take was of the DNC removing God and Jerusalem from the platform language, then adding it back after being shamed. If you were there when the vote to add it back happened, did you noticed they counted it as passed, even though the “NO”s clearly were in the majority? It seemed they were more concerned with public opinion, than God’s.

      • Deborah Lancaster Reply

        Pete, I think what happened was that it was OUT, then they took a vote and wanted to believe it was back in, but people wanted it still out (go figure).

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you for your kind words. Weariness is something that so many of us are faced with. Here’s to holding on to courage and hope.

  66. Anonymous Reply

    That was a beautiful prayer. I thank you for your plea to join together in seeking our Father. I am not sure why you were selected to do this or your political leanings but I was inspired by your words. I just hope that all that see and hear this recognize the sanctity of life given by the Spirit from conception to natural death.
    God Bless

  67. josh Reply

    God’s peace to you

  68. Paul Ranheim Reply

    Thank you Jena! I’m grateful for the beauty of the Gospel on display through you this night.

  69. shirley norfleet Reply

    I am so blessed by the prayer of this beautiful young Jena. Such Presence of the Lord and anointed to speak the Love of God for this nation and His people addressing our diversities; showing forth His inclusiveness. God bless you and thank you for boldness and humility.

  70. samuelnam Reply

    thank you for praying this last night!

  71. Chris Reply

    Thanks Jena, I was not watching the DNC as I’m trying not to be political; it has made my friends (Christian or not) very unpleasant to be around. I found out through the Jars of Clay facebook fan-page, and listened to their streaming video. Well prayed.
    Then I read some comments on the message board, and was overwhelmed by sadness at the hate filled comments of many so-called “Christians.” I don’t claim to know your spiritual walk, but I do know that when the pharasees unload their self-righteous ammo, you must be on the right path. Don’t let a very loud vocal minority intimidate you. God Bless.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thanks for your encouragement, Chris. It’s hard to figure out how to love one another, isn’t it? May God give us all grace to do so…

  72. dwkcommentaries Reply

    Hallelujah, for a voice of sanity and humility! Thank you.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      I’m glad you heard it that way – that was my prayer and hope through it all.

  73. CDB Reply

    Good thing the DNC sticky-noted God and Jerusalem back in the platform at the last minute with that very unconvincing voice vote! Your benediction was beautiful, though!

  74. Rev. Mark Thomas Reply

    I read your prayer carefully and thoughtfully. It was good. Democrats need prayer, especially since they are the party that chooses not to defend the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and the party that does not support Israel any more. The platform vote last night is evidence of their spiritual and moral position. May God have mercy on a people who would espouse so many positions in direct opposition to the clear word of God.

    • Anonymous Reply

      thats it take beautiful words & sentiments then use them to critisize the ones using them just like a man of god give it a rest ,mt

      • anonymous Reply

        PLANK. Check your eye.
        I love Jesus, believe his word, and in this election, I will vote for Obama with great prayer and thoughtful meditation. What will you say to the democrats when they are your neighbors in heaven?

    • Deborah Lancaster Reply

      Rev. Mark Thomas, the DNC *does* support Israel fully, and if you search to see what the Israeli leaders said about Obama, immediately after Romney’s visit there, you will learn that they are completely satisfied with America’s commitment to them (and Obama himself). I am a proud, patriotic evangelical Christian Democrat, and I aim to show God’s love to people by *loving them* and leaving the judgement to God; I haven’t read yet that I have earned that privilege. Love will bring people to Christ, not judgement of their actions; God is that powerful.
      Jena – awesome prayer – uplifting, encouraging, inclusive – beautiful.

    • jplaughlin Reply

      Rev. Mark said, “May God have mercy on a people who would espouse so many positions in direct opposition to the clear word of God.” Well, I will gladly receive all the mercy that the Creator of the Universe might bestow upon me, but the idea that the Word is “clear” seems to me to be nearly blasphemous. If it is clear for you, count it a blessing, but leave me to continue to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling. God help me, I can do no other.

  75. Soli Deo gloria Reply

    Beautifully written and executed. I used your prayer for a devotion at our Christian college. We try to teach the students to seek out the integral nature of the Christian worldview in all areas of life , and to be faithful in mind (critically thinking), body (faithfully following their calling) and spirit (following Christ-likeness instead of cultural christianity). Having them listen to your articulate, balanced, and gospel oriented prayer was very valuable (tears were shed). Showing the students that it was delivered in a context that many of them were taught to blindly hate (the DNC), was priceless.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      The college years are filled with formative experiences, questions, ideas and challenges in regards to faith, politics and vocation. I’m so glad you are walking with students through the complexity of it all.

  76. randybonifield Reply

    Thank you. Your prayer was beautifully written and boldly delivered. Thank you for calling us to and reminding us of our unity in Christ. May we all model grace in the public square so eloquently and winsomely as you did Monday night.

  77. Thomas Reply

    Why didn’t you pray for Jill Stein (Green Party) or Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party)? Why do you not pray for this country to remove the blinders of the “either/or” fallacy? Many people begrudge politicians as all being the same, yet refuse to acknowledge other parties that have valid and fresh ideas as well as platforms that may be more aligned with one’s own. I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

    • Vickie Barber Reply

      Because there is no way they will be elected at this point. She prayed for the ones that will (atleast one of them) be elected this term. In hope they make the right decisions for all of us. If there was even one speck of chance that they would be elected then I’m sure she would have included them in her prayer.

  78. Lynn Heritage Reply

    Beautiful prayer, Jena, and one that we all need to hear, no matter what our political beliefs may be. Thank you!

  79. Christopher Burrell Reply

    Well said! Vote Green Party for the future of our children,

  80. Don Mulder Reply

    Thanks so much for this. It’s beautiful. Blessings to you.

  81. Diane Noble Reply

    I didn’t see you give the benediction, but happened to see mention of it in a post shared by a friend on Facebook. It’s beautiful! God’s Spirit was on you as you spoke. May God’s blessings be abundant!

  82. Rev. David Hesson Reply

    Thank you Jena! Two friends and I have agreed to pray your prayer daily until election day. It is a beautiful prayer to God.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Wow, seriously!? Thank you for continuing to put this request before God each day.

  83. Oliver (Ozzie) Crocco Reply

    Wow! Really awesome! Thanks for embodying Whitworth’s mission so well in your actions and prayer. Thanks for praying for Mitt Romney, too. So cool!

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thanks, Ozzie. So glad to see a fellow Whitworthian here! Go Pirates!

  84. Howard Rowe (Chattanooga, TN) Reply

    I was riveted to your words and the knowledge that God was lisening to your heart. Quite remarkable from one so young. I’m glad I know someone like you who can put into words the longing we all feel for our country and God’s ability to bless if we put our energy into the right questions and our faith into the right person.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Howard. Peace to you.

  85. atacoshipinaseaofwhitesauce Reply

    I like it! It was challenging and engaged the mind. As you were leading a group in prayer, why did you use “I” ten times instead of “we”? And using the personal, individual “I”, not “we” why not invoke the name of Jesus? Or do you personally believe 1) God is impersonal, and 2) all religion is universal? I realize you had to pray on behalf of all people present of all faiths, which is why I noted that “We” is the standard approach for civic prayers. “I” is not leadership, neither is including your work in Africa: let others credit you. My post is respectful and civil, so I expect you to post it, and I thank you for the discourse. Keep up the good work.

    • NCherry Reply

      Respectfully, Taco Ship, I note that Jenna specifically thanked God for Jesus and all the saints and closed with the words of St. Francis of Assisi. She appears to have prayed from the depths of her own experience. As a pastor, I don’t define benedictions as closing prayers everyone says with me, but as words spoken to my congregation invoking the blessing of the holy Trinity over them. Yet I don’t criticize Jena’s prayer based on how I define a bendiction, knowing that she may well have been asked specifically to pray in this manner or understood that it wasn’t a church in which she was standing, and therefore not everyone would appreciate being “blessed” or be led to say “amen.” I was actually surprised and refreshed that she “dared” to pray in so personal and specifically Christian a way as she did, knowing full well (especially since her eyes were open) that there were people ignoring her and continuing their conversations, getting their things and calling cabs, as well as being disgusted that prayer was happening at all in our age of robust atheism.
      These observations are purely my own, as is the gratitude I express for Jenna’s witness. Praise God for civil discourse, yes?

      • NCherry Reply

        Respectfully, Taco Ship, I note that Jenna specifically thanked God for Jesus and all the saints and closed with the words of St. Francis of Assisi. She appears to have prayed from the depths of her own experience. As a pastor, I don’t define benedictions as closing prayers everyone says with me, but as words spoken to my congregation invoking the blessing of the holy Trinity over them. Yet I don’t criticize Jena’s prayer based on how I define a bendiction, knowing that she may well have been asked specifically to pray in this manner or understood that it wasn’t a church in which she was standing, and therefore not everyone would appreciate being “blessed” or be led to say “amen.” I was actually surprised and refreshed that she “dared” to pray in so personal and specifically Christian a way as she did, knowing full well (especially since her eyes were open) that there were people ignoring her and continuing their conversations, getting their things and calling cabs, as well as being disgusted that prayer was happening at all in our age of robust atheism.
        These observations are purely my own, as is the gratitude I express for Jena’s witness. Praise God for civil discourse, yes?

  86. Rajeev John Reply

    Jena, thank you for your prayer. Sometimes we must go into the lions den and be a witness. I personally couldn’t have tolerated being in the same room with so many advocates of genocide, homosexuality and general immorality.

    • Kathy Cann Reply

      You might want to listen to her prayer again!

  87. Mark McCaw Reply

    Blessing on you. A beautiful prayer was said. Thanks for representing the Christian faith so beautifully.

  88. Jeanne Ezell Reply

    I posted a link on FB to your beautiful prayer, which reverberated in me for several reasons: you mention living in Nashville, where I spent five happy years; you allude to a Micah passage adopted even before finding it in a little notebook my father carried through WWII; and you quote the Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assissi, which I recite most days. Finally, you somehow reminded me of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address (“Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.”) Yours is truly a prayer for our country; it reminded me to put aside partisanship and pray for “the other side.”

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you, Jeanne. So sweet to see all of the connections the prayer brought for you.

  89. Steve Beard Reply

    Seems super strange to congratulate someone for a prayer, but you really represented the winsome nature of our faith in a tumultuous season of polemical bickering. Really grateful for your prayer. Love works. It shows. Hang tough, Jena. Keep up the great work. I believe in your cause and I love your heart.

  90. peacelove Reply

    Jena, a beautiful and inspiring prayer. Not sure how Jews, Muslims, and others reacted to the Jesus and saints part. Hopefully it inspired them to love God as fully in their way as you do in yours. You certainly prayed for truth regardless of “religion.” Thank you

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      I had some very kind words of appreciation from people of other faiths while I was there. Truth, I believe, transcends.

  91. Elizabeth Absher Reply

    Jena, bravo! I’ve listened to your prayer over and over today just like I would a powerful praise and worship song. Your words were beautiful and true. I saw Jesus as you spoke! It gave me goose bumps and brought tears to my eyes. Standing with you in prayer! Well done good and faithful servant! Well, done! You ARE a blessing!

  92. Karen from the 'ville Reply

    Thank you so much for your prayer and for posting it on your blog. I was so proud to see a Nashvillian of faith in the media who spoke in a way aligned with my values. I am very provoked by your words to examine myself during this time. Am I demonstrating what I say I value in the conversations I have, especially in ones that are about conflicting beliefs? Am I judging and criticizing in ways that I don’t want to experience? What actions do I take or do I just talk? Being an example for our children, being an instrument of God’s peace… It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of this season and out history and forget that this is a huge opportunity for me to focus on bringing my best to the table. Whew! If I didn’t know before, I certainly feel how much I need to pray–first for myself to be the person I’m reminded of in your words and then for my fellow brothers and sisters in our community, our country and across this world. Thank you so much!

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Wow, Karen. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and questions. So thankful to read this.

  93. Anonymous Reply

    Thank you for your beautiful prayer and your ministry in Africa in the spirit of Matthew 25.

  94. Bobby McCann Reply

    Thank you for your beautiful prayer and your ministry in Africa in the spirit of Matthew 25.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you, Bobby. The words of Matthew 25 keep me going.

  95. Dean Mueller Reply

    Jena, It was exciting to see your living faith working on such a large platform. Thanks for allowing truth to come through in a way that crosses many boundaries. Also great to hear about your ministry after all these years. Dean Mueller CMJH

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Mr. Mueller – so great to hear from you. Thank you for your encouraging words. I hope all is well at CMJH.

  96. Debbie Bannister Reply

    Thank you so much for the prayer and His love you are so willing to pour out. You are a pure vessel, and as such- we have the honor of seeing Him better. I love the wisdom of God in you, even in your replies, and the mercy that He offers through you. Your obedience is beautiful and inspiring.Thank you, and may God continue to bless you, and all of yours that He loves through you.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you for your kindness, Debbie. Blessings to you.

  97. Dan Ryan (@RyanSearch) Reply


    God knows no party and I appreciate your willingness to exalt Him above all others through your prayer.

    it is always good to see a fellow Tennessean doing good for others.

    Be blessed.

    Dan Ryan

  98. Jeff Goins Reply

    Awesome. Proud to be from the same city as you, Jena.

  99. gerrysr Reply

    Thank you Jena. I read your prayer the morning after the DNC, and just now listened to it. I pray that everything you asked God for comes to pass!
    I will keep you, your husband, and Blood:Water Mission in my prayers.

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Thank you so much for your prayers, Gerry. Peace and grace to you.

  100. Mike Y Reply

    All I can say is Amen and thank you. May we seek to live as you have prayed.

  101. Mark Reply

    What is a moral imagination?

    • Jena Nardella Reply

      Hi Mark. Check out this post where I try to unpack moral imagination.

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