Saturday, November 6, 2010

Religion & Politics - Part 2

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  (1 Timothy 2:1-4, NIV)

Whether your happy about the election outcome or disappointed with the election outcome, the mandate remains the same --  God calls us to pray for our leaders!  While either we or our friends can be filled with "Post-Election Stress Syndrome" (yes, doctors say that it really does exist), what our heavenly Father calls us to do is turn our worries into prayers.  And if we're filled with joy, prayer is called for as well.  Let's examine the ways we need to pray for our leaders once they have been elected to office.

First and foremost, can you imagine the amount of responsibility on the shoulders of a person chosen to represent thousands if not millions of citizens?  Only a mighty God has enough power to carry that level of weight!  Therefore, we need to be praying that our leaders would be yoked to the Lord as a weaker cow was yoked to a lead cow when paired for plowing in days of old.  Praying that our Father would strengthen leaders for their mission is a necessary prayer indeed.  Praying that they see the size and scope of that job, realizing that they can only do it with God's help is also worthwhile.

Second, huge, detailed decisions come before our leaders at a rapid pace.  Many of these pieces of legislation contain intricacies that average citizens may never see.  Add to that the pressure of fellow lawmakers and lobbyists, and you can have a confusing mess in our state and national capitols!  Praying for our leaders to solidly possess the wisdom of God is essential to our citizens being lead in right directions.  It's helpful that we also pray that they would gain discernment to see clearly what the implications of their decisions in one direction or another might be.

Third, the sin and deception of this world can easily lure our leaders from righteousness, especially if they have served more than one term in government.  Praying that God would soften our leaders hearts and keep them honest, faithful and pure is important to the common welfare of a society.  We must persist in praying that our authorities would care more about what Yahweh says and more about the constituents they represent than they do about their own personal gain.

In addition to these core areas, we can be praying for our leaders' safety, their families, their health, their rest, and their unity.  Whether we agree with them or not, our well being depends upon many of their decisions.  Thus, never hesitating to lift them up in prayer will bless them and us.  If our feelings are bitter, Jesus will provide His love as we continue in prayer.  If we feel anxious, persistent prayer reminds us that God is bigger than any lawmaker, country or situation we may encounter.  Even if a lawmaker is engaged in doing evil or harmful things, Jesus calls us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  (see Matthew 5:44) Ultimately, praying for our leaders is an extremely wise mix of religion and politics!

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