I have always heard and believed the old saying if you don’t vote then you have no right to complain when those elected don’t act in accordance with your beliefs. I still believe that but have come to a new understanding that goes a little deeper. I do vote whenever that privilege avails itself so I do maintain that “right” to complain.
My new understanding has come about over the past few weeks as I have tried to practice what Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. There are many verses in the Bible that are hard for me to live by. In this sermon where Jesus says, “Love your enemies” and “pray for those who persecute you” those are some of the hardest.
Love Your Enemies
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers,i what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
This goes even deeper than the fact this will drive some of them crazy once they become aware you are doing so. Jesus sets a very high standard for us as Christians to aspire to. I fall short every day.
One thing I have learned about prayer over the years is it changes the person praying more than the one you are praying to. It is a little bit…ok…enormously presumptuous to think that I am going to change God’s mind about anything anyway. Prayer, if practiced regularly, will, however put my heart and mind more in sync with what God has in mind for me.
Meanwhile…back to my original topic
It has always been difficult to pray for those in leadership when I do not agree with their methods, decisions, or intentions as I understand them. I have prayed they would be removed or replaced but that is not what I am charged to do from God’s Word.
Recently, I have found a way to do this that has worked for me. Maybe I am a little slow to arrive at this truth but I am there now.
Here is how my prayer goes regarding those who God has placed in leadership roles over me.
That’s it. It is pretty simple and yet it is sincere in that it is what I want our leaders to do. This is true regardless of whether it is a leader I happen to have voted for or agree with ideologically. I want all of those who represent us and are supposed to be leading us to make decisions based on the best interests of us. The fact I may disagree with their decisions and direction they are leading is irrelevant. It really is. That may be hard for some of you to believe but it is true.
It is possible my prayers could help change their hearts but it is far more likely mine will be changed.
However, this does not mean I will be a silent observer when I believe decisions being made by those same leaders are ill-advised or are motivated by their own self interests. I am praying for them to make wise decisions and hope they do but I will speak out and share my thoughts and opinions when I don’t believe they did. I will work within our political process to get them removed and replaced by those who will make wise decisions. That is just part of my responsibility to be a good citizen.
Prayer in the Public Square
Contrary to what many want us to believe prayer does have a place in the public square. It is the only way this government, which was designed to serve and protect the people, will work. Anything else will result in chaos or something worse.
As stated in 2 Chronicles 7:14, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Will you join me in prayer?
Until next time…
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