“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.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips.” I cannot remember a time when our nation seemed more divided than it does today. Our tendency as citizens can be to draw firm lines between ourselves based on what we believe about certain issues, which candidates we support, and even what we hear and believe from various forms of media. If we aren’t careful, these lines we draw can lead to further dissension, division, and even broken relationships.
As Christians, it is more important than ever that we constantly remind ourselves that we are ultimately citizens of heaven; and the United States of America is not our eternal home. We must find a way to maintain the fine balance of standing for what is just and true while also living at peace with others as much as it depends on us. We must stand firm in Christ while also extending mercy and grace to those who do not know Him or believe His Word…and even those who are hostile towards us because of Him. We must simultaneously respect and pray for our leaders while holding them accountable to justly do the job they swore to do. This is not an easy balance.
Most importantly, we must pray. Only God can turn the hearts of men and women in power. Only His Spirit can give the wisdom needed for the complex issues facing our nation today. Issues like immigration, healthcare, and fiscal policy are not easy fixes. Our leaders need wisdom, and hearts that are willing to look beyond party lines to tackle these pressing problems and find real solutions. Our trust does not have to be in our leaders, or even in the laws of our land. Our trust needs only to be in God because He is the Sovereign Ruler of all things. We must trust Him, and we must ask Him in faith to move in the hearts of our leaders.
But let’s not forget to also pray for one another. I am convinced that if we spent the same amount of time praying as we do complaining, posting to social media, or arguing over political issues, our nation would not be as divided as it is today. While most of us are never going to have the power to change government – other than our one vote – we do have the power of prayer. And we also have the power to control how we respond to the political culture. As Christians, our response should look different. We have no reason to panic, attack, or divide ourselves. We have the Spirit of Jesus living in us, so we can do better. We can show grace and kindness, even when we disagree. We can choose to see the good, and not only the bad. We can build one another up, instead of tearing one another down. And most importantly, we can fall to our knees in prayer - being led by the Spirit as to how we should pray - for our leaders, our citizens, and the political issues we are facing. We can do this in faith, knowing that God hears, God cares, and God will accomplish His will according to His Word.
Jesus, Thank You for the grace You have poured out on our nation. Even with all of the problems we face today, I am still so grateful for the freedom to worship You and share the truth of the Gospel with others without fear of imprisonment or death. I know this freedom is a gift that not all of my brothers and sisters have. Help me not to squander this freedom. May my greatest political work be on my knees, praying for our leaders, our citizens, and the issues where we need Your wisdom most. In Your name I pray, Amen.