At the risk of controversy, I have to be a little political today. I want to talk about Presidents, Governors and government leaders. I won’t have to name names. I live in a country ruled by a President who has his faults, a state with a Governor who has his faults and a county with a government who is going rogue. All these leaders have offended me in one way or another over the course of their terms. Apparently, Paul had some issues with his government also. He wrote to the church of Rome, under Roman control. “Obey the rulers who have authority over you. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their places of power. People who oppose the authorities are opposing what God has done, and they will be punished. Rulers are a threat to evil people, not to good people. There is no need to be afraid of the authorities. Just do right, and they will praise you for it. After all, they are God’s servants, and it is their duty to help you.”
(Romans 13:1-4CEV) That’s a lot to swallow and gets unpopular very quickly. I have many opinions about those four final sentences but I want to concentrate on sentence number 2. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their places of power. The ISV translates to say “for not authority exists except by God’s permission.” Like it or not. Our faulty President, faulty Governor and all the rest were elected by God’s permission. Before I can lift these names in prayer, I must believe that. I have neither the space nor the inclination to argue all the reasons that God could not have wanted this person or persons in charge. His Word states clearly that He has given them the authority. I admit, I’m struggling with this but if I disagree with them, isn’t that all the more reason to pray for them?
Again, we are commanded to pray for our leadership. I Timothy 2:1-3 CEV, “First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. Pray for kings and others in power, so we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God. This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Savior.” I do not struggle with wanting to please my Savior, so I must pray for those in power.
We should know that prayer is effective in changing circumstances. If we are unhappy with our leaders and their behavior, all the more reason to pray for them. Specifically, our leaders need wisdom, humility and a spirit of servanthood. Our prayers may be the very thing that changes even the heart of a President.
When Paul wrote to the Philippians, his final greeting had an interesting phrase, “All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.” (Philippians 4:22 NIV). What! There were people of God in Caesar’s palace! Hopefully, there are people of God in the White House and the Governor’s mansion. They are in desperate need of our prayers.
The families of our government leaders are in need of our prayers. I have a friend who is a wife of a leader in a small city. She asked for prayer for him as he chaired a meeting recently where threats had been made. She was afraid for his safety. Opinions about our leaders and their families are irrelevant for the people of God. Melania Trump must experience fear for her family in these times. The children of our leaders endure all manner of isolation, criticism and judgement. Imagine the toll that takes on a marriage and a family. I’m convicted that I have not called the names of these families in prayer.
I often feel helpless in what I can do to help my country in these trying times. I’ve wondered how little ole’ me can turn the tide. I think I know.
Thinkin’ about that.