I am a political junkie. My morning routine includes reading a number of political blogs and I have rather strong feelings about the path our nation should take. I have also learned the hard way on Facebook that my political opinions are not universally shared, so I avoid making political comments on social media and on this blog. I am about to break this rule, for there is one truth about politics that needs to be addressed- It is not that they are all selfish egotistical liars (which may also be true!) it is that all believers, regardless of political persuasion, should be united in one response to our leaders in government- we are all supposed to pray for them.
The apostle Paul gives specific advice on how and why to pray for those who lead us in 1 Timothy 2- “ I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” (niv)
Paul uses four different words to describe the prayers we are to make and thereby makes it clear that we are to completely pray for our leaders. We are to make all sorts of requests on their behalf- we are to pray for them personally, pray for them physically, and to give thanks for God's sovereign influence in their lives. Paul goes on to declare the goal of our prayers- the salvation of our leaders, for he writes that God desires that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
Paul also gives a personal reason we are to pray- that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives. The two Greek words translated “peaceful” and “quiet” refer to two types of tranquility, the peace that comes from outside of us and the peace that comes from the inside. When applied to the church as a whole, this has profound meaning. The goal of our prayers is to minimize conflict with those outside of the church and to minimize conflict between those within the church! What a concept!
Think about it- If through prayer we focused more on the eternal than on the temporal, how different would our lives be? What if we cared more about the President's soul than his politics? Or if we were concerned more about the distribution of the gospel than the distribution of material wealth? Imagine the change in our conversations if, the next time someone in our family of faith complained about a political leader, our reply was, “Let's pray for him, right now!”
If we cared as much about our nation's and our leader's spiritual futures as we do their political futures, our discourse would change dramatically, and the peace we experience from inside and outside would increase.