This article examines the neglected role of religious ideas and vocabulary in expressions of English national sentiment in the fourteenth century, particularly in official rhetoric. Many official uses of religious language followed well-established literary conventions. However, documents requesting nationwide prayers during national crises suggest that the government encouraged the concept of a special relationship between God and England, modelled on Old Testament Israel, well before the Protestant Reformation. National misfortunes were explained as divine punishment for national sins, with England presented as a collective moral community. Parallels with Israel were then drawn out more explicitly in public preaching, bringing this interplay between religion and politics to a wider audience.