Believe it or not it’s already November. I’m glad November is finally here so we can put the political season to rest and move forward toward 2013. BUT, we must not move forward without seriously considering the importance of what will be decided this year in our country and how that will have a tremendous effect on our lives. As a pastor I have a weighty responsibility to lead my people faithfully according to the teachings of scripture, yet I am often conflicted as to how to address matters of the political nature. Because there are so many strong and divisive opinions regarding the condition of our nation in a hostile political climate, it can be overwhelming. In addition to that, I am constantly reminded of just how much compromise is rooted in the process of political action. Everything from political campaigns to legislation is infused with compromise after compromise, and that can lead to cynicism and crippling doubt in the average voter. But Christians still have a direct biblical mandate to live for Christ in this fallen world, which includes how we are involved as Christians with the political process. I will not be endorsing candidates or parties in this article; rather I want to give pastoral counsel as to how we can pray faithfully and biblically for our churches, our city, and our nation. The following is a list of 4 significant and necessary biblical “prayer requests” for our nation. At the heart of these prayer requests is the Word of God, which is our authority in all matters of faith and action and apart from which we could not know what God expects of his people; and because we know what God expects of his people we can know how to pray for ourselves and for one another. (Personal request: please take time to read the following scriptures)
We are expected to pray. In fact we are commanded to pray for all people (1 Timothy 2:2), so it is wise to bring before God our concerns about this current election; but we are to also seek God’s will for whatever he gives us in this life. First of all we must pray that all Christians seek God’s will in all things, including who is elected to positions of leadership in our nation. From local school board to our nation’s president, God places in authority those whom He chooses and we are subject to those authorities (Romans 13:1). As you pray, ask for God’s blessing of increasing faith in your life as your seek to live in subjection to his will for you and for his church in this country and under the authorities he appoints for us.
Secondly, pray for the boldness to do good according to what is pleasing to God. Romans 13:3 reminds us that rules are given to us for our good, as we should be seeking the good of others. As a Christian, you are to seek the good of your fellow man (Jer. 29:7) which includes the actions you take in the voting booth. You and I are expected to select leaders according to what we believe God’s word declares is best for the greatest good. Pray to God your heavenly Father for the wisdom and conviction to vote without regret, trusting that his will would be done. And once those rulers are in place, regardless of the outcome you desired, live for what is good according to God’s word. God honors faithful servants.
Third, pray that whoever is elected (in every office) will seek to do what is best for all people and what is most honoring to God. Since all authorities are “God’s servants for our good” (Romans 13:4), God’s expectation for government leaders is to uphold justice, protect the innocent, and punish wrongdoers. When leaders fail at this, then God’s judgment will be upon them. We are nonetheless called to respect their authority and pray for them that God would use elected officials to carry out his will on earth. We can disagree, and even seek just actions against unqualified leaders, but are to do so peacefully and in Christian love. So let us pray faithfully that God would work in those whom we elect to do his will.
Finally, let us pray for God’s Spirit to lead us daily into a deeper relationship so that our lives reflect Christ to the world. Just as Paul encouraged Timothy, let us pray for God’s strength to live peaceful and dignified lives for the glory of God (1 Timothy 2:2-3). Our responses to the conditions of this world say much about how greatly (or how little) we trust God. Be involved in the voting process because you care deeply about who your leaders are; that is your God given privilege and duty. But always bear in mind who your Sovereign King is (Colossians 1:15-20) and how completely he rules this universe. You are “heirs with Christ”, and that can never be taken away. Vote according to your Christian world-view and spiritual convictions in obedience to God. Pray earnestly for your family, neighbors, and fellow citizens. Lift up the lost to Christ for the salvation of their souls and lift up the hurting and broken that God would restore them to life in Christ. Trust God fully and live with the knowledge that God’s purposes will be accomplished in this life; not through politicians, but through the actions of his people who are called by his name. To God be the glory!