Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Christ and the Constitution, part 2: Praying for elected officials

But if that slave says in his heart, 'My master will be a long time in coming,' and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few." Luke 12: 45-48 NASB

We began our study of this portion of Scripture with the unfaithful servant , then being salt and light. Yesterday, we considered Christ and the Constitution. If you missed one of them, I hope you'll follow the link (it opens in a new tab) and get caught up.

If  I am to do my Master's will, then I must know my Master's will. 

Am I doing His will if I obey in the areas I choose, but fail to do His will in areas of civic responsibility? I think not.

I understand how easy it is to be led astray in this area. There was a time when I prayed for our nation with such fervor that I spent hours face down on the floor in prayer, begging for God's mercy and leading. At some point, I gradually spent less time praying for our country. Eventually, those prayers became nothing more than a passing reference. My failure to be on guard in prayer for our nation and our leaders was sin, and I have repented. I'm praying again.

I do not have a right to complain about my leaders. 

Yes, the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees my freedom of speech, but if I have not first spent serious time in intercession for my leaders, I should not dare to complain.  

I will answer to God for those words if I do.

Rather than hammer this point with my own words, I've gathered Scripture together.

Psalm 22:28 - For the kingdom is the Lord's and He rules over the nations.

Proverbs 21:1 - The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Jeremiah 29:7 - Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.

Daniel 2:20-23 - He (God) removes kings and establishes kings...

Matthew 22:20-21 - ... Then He said to them, 'Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's."

Romans 13:1-7 - Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are established by God... for rulers are servants of God...

1 Timothy 2:1-4 - First of all, then I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity...

Titus 3:1,2 - Remind them to be subject to rules, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.

1 Peter 2:13, 17 - Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him....Honor all people... honor the king.

Matthew 12:36 - "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment."

Most of the verses above were given by God in a time of turmoil and persecution. "Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile" was written to people who had been kidnapped by an opposing army and carried away from their homes into captivity. Paul wrote that we are to pray for those in authority despite the years he spent in chains.

Praying for those in authority is not optional

It's trendy for Christians to grumble about our government, our President, and our elected officials. This should not be. We of all people should be on our knees, begging God to direct the hearts of our elected officials, including our President. 

If we spent as much time praying for our president and elected officials as we do complaining about them, we would have a far different country.

Either we believe that God can both remove and establish leaders or we don't. Either we believe He can direct their hearts and decisions or we don't. Which is it? 

I am not saying that there is no room for disagreement or for protest, but mindless complaining about officials helps no one and it dishonors God.

Pray. For the sake of our nation, we must stop wasting time complaining and begin to pray like we mean it. 

Pray like God can do something about the direction of our nation. Either we believe He can, or we don't. 

I'm writing to myself as much as to anyone today. I have failed to pray as I ought. Perhaps we all have, but we must not continue to fail. Let us choose now to include our President and our elected officials in our prayers. 

Pray boldly with expectation that God will move, because He will.
Our Father, thank You for Your wisdom in choosing the leaders we need to drive us back to You. Give our leaders wisdom and direct their hearts like channels of water. Help President Obama and our Congressional officials choose Your paths, even when it's not what they would personally want. Change our hearts and theirs. In Jesus' name, Amen.

#disciple #prayforpresidentobama #prayforamerica #intercede #JesusChrist