Monday, June 4, 2012

PRAYING FOR YOUR LEADERS: Wisconsin's Wakeup Call

"The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live."  (1 Timothy 2:1-3, MSG)

As some may already be aware, I live in the great State of Wisconsin.  I have been a "Cheesehead" all my life, with my earliest years begun on the South Side of Milwaukee, and my teen years in Waukesha County.  I attended both Waukesha County Technical College and later, The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.  Until I met my husband, Steve, I lived in various locations throughout the lovely suburb of Wauwatosa.  While still considered part of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Area, I relocated to my current home in the westernmost area of Waukesha County over 20 years ago because of my dear husband.  I love our home City of Oconomowoc, not only because of the many inland lakes and recreational areas here, but because of the generous, down-to-earth people.  It is a wonderful place to raise a family!

Growing up, I enjoyed many other parts of Wisconsin.  As a child, I camped with my parents on the Mississippi River near Lacrosse.  We also enjoyed the Rhinelander area for many summers, staying at a friend's cabin.  In my adult years, I grew fond of frequent visits to Door County with all of it's artisans and miles of lake shore.  And with my husband's passion for skiing the American Birkebeiner Ski Race, we always trek far north to Hayward each February.  In more recent years, camping with our children in Waushara County grew into the gift of a permanent summer retreat at our trailer near Wautoma.  There is something about the woods and the water of this state that deeply feeds my soul.

With all of this history, is it any wonder that my mind is distracted and my heart racing a little faster as our state gets ready to face a historical recall election on June 5th that is grabbing national attention?  For the past 18 months, I have watched the home I love torn apart by a government quarrel never before seen in recent US history.  Demonstrators occupied our State Capitol for weeks on end.  Local businesses were either threatened or rewarded based upon how they responded to our governor's position on certain political issues.  Lifetime friendships were torn apart.  And family members won't speak to other family members because of what has transpired in Wisconsin this past year-and-a-half.

Frankly, Wisconsin has become a good example of how Christians should not live within their society.  Having engaged in legislative advocacy on both the state and national levels, I have to contend that there is no such thing as perfect government, in any regard.  People in this state seem to have taken leave of all of their senses, to the point where they can no longer joke about their politics.  Many to look to government, or reduction thereof, as the answer to all of their troubles.  Even in communities of faith, there is contentiousness between members, with God no longer on the throne. 

If ever there were a case to be made for praying for our leaders, no matter what their political persuasion, the recall nightmare in Wisconsin is surely it.  Praying for wisdom, courage, clarity of mind, and cooperation on the citizens' behalf are only a few of the things we can be lifting up to the Ultimate Ruler.  What we have lived through in Wisconsin has been very distracting, not "...(ruling) well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation."  Honestly, up until this point, I would never have thought to pray for such things in government.  I think that it's also essential to pray that God's truth would be revealed, and that over all else, we "...clothe (ourselves) with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."  (Colossians 3:12, NIV)

I have watched many parents of children with special needs go through exponentially more stress in Wisconsin because of this political unrest.  Some are being used as political pawns.  Many are being misinformed and live in total fear of losing government assistance for their precious children.  Whatever the case, these are families that certainly don't need the added stress of this government chaos.

My friends, on or before June 5, 2012, would you be so kind as to pray for the people of Wisconsin?  Pray for our leaders.  Pray that we can once again live peaceably with one another.  Pray that this political stress would come to an end once and for all.  Then get praying for your own leaders and officials, lest you be subjected to the same where you live!

PRAY:  Lord, no matter what happens in governments, help us to remember that it is You who are ultimately on the throne.  Lord, direct and guide our leaders.  Help us to live in peace with one another, respectfully and responsibly, so we can reflect your glory to a hurting world.

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