standing with New Zealand

Like many of you, we are standing with New Zealand in prayer following Tuesday’s earthquake in Christchurch.

New Zealand flag

It was actually about three or four months ago that our attention was first drawn to the remarkable words of New Zealand’s national anthem.

This hymn by Thomas Bracken was first performed in 1876, and remained popular for nearly a hundred years before eventually becoming the national anthem in time for 1940’s Centenary celebrations.

This weekend, as many of us pray for comfort, healing and protection for the people and land of New Zealand, we are finding these words inspire our prayers again.

(You might find changing some of the location-specific words and pronouns from ‘here’ to ‘there’ and ‘our’ to ‘their’ helps you to offer this hymn as a prayer.)

Father God, in your mercy, please defend New Zealand. Amen.

God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific’s triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption guard our state,
Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.

Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
But, should foes assail our coast,
Make us then a mighty host,
God defend our free land.
Lord of battles in Thy might,
Put our enemies to flight,
Let our cause be just and right,
God defend New Zealand.

Let our love for Thee increase,
May Thy blessings never cease,
Give us plenty, give us peace,
God defend our free land.
From dishonour and from shame,
Guard our country’s spotless name,
Crown her with immortal fame,
God defend New Zealand.

May our mountains ever be
Freedom’s ramparts on the sea,
Make us faithful unto Thee,
God defend our free land.
Guide her in the nations’ van,
Preaching love and truth to man,
Working out Thy glorious plan,
God defend New Zealand.

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