I rejoiced the day following our nation’s election of upcoming leaders. I rejoiced believing we would no longer hear the onslaught of political rhetoric and attacks. I mistakenly assumed our country would get back to some semblance of order. Instead the onslaught continues through social media postings and news media coverage. Instead of our country calming down and choosing to come together, we appear to be even more divided. I don’t understand why we as a people feel the need to convince others that their opinions, their fears, are in error by lambasting their beliefs. Sadly, I’m embarrassed the most by those who call themselves Christians; for they seem to be the harshest in their zeal to persuade others.
Facebook and other social media is alive with memes, quotes, videos and comments all aimed at showing that President-elect Trump was the right choice. Or, a huge mistake was made by electing Donald Trump and we need to be deeply afraid.
Recently, while reading posts and comments on Facebook, my heart cried. Not for the political side or the political issues at hand. My heart cried to read the fear in many of my friend’s posts; fear of the future. Tears of sadness filled my eyes to read comments, hurtful comments, shared friend-to-friend over political differences. As I’ve watched the news these past weeks my heart has hurt to witness our country so divided and hateful towards each other. My heart is saddened to see our country losing sight of right and wrong; of moral and immoral. My heart cries deeply over the needless loss of lives. Lives lost because we as a people, no not all of us, no longer see value in another’s life. It’s too easy to snuff another’s life out over simple disagreements. My heart weeps for the heart of God when I recognize how easy its become to stray from the core beliefs on which my Christian faith is based and on much of what this Country was founded.
“Lord, if my heart is breaking this deeply over politics and our country, how much more must your heart hurt. But, what can one person do?” And God said, “Pray”. “Pray not from your perspective, but from mine”. “Not sure I know how to do that Lord. But, I’m willing to try; will you teach me?”
I’m familiar with the passage found in 2 Timothy which urges us to pray for our leaders. In this passage we are urged to lift requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for everyone-for kings (presidents) and all those in authority. Today, for the 1st time, I noticed something. Did you catch it? Requests… Prayers… Intercession… and Thanksgiving. I’ve never separated out these 4 items. From my perspective they‘re all inclusive in the word pray. I don’t believe God was simply being redundant. I had to ask myself what was the meaning behind such an urgent plea.
- Requests – the simple art of asking. Won’t spend any time on this one as its pretty self-explanatory.
- Prayers –a petition to God, requested in earnest (serious in intent), in word or thought. Stop, and think for a moment. How often do you, do I, pray with earnest intention for the leaders in our country, in our state or in our cities and communities? Sadly, for me, it’s often out of obligation rather than earnest intention. That’s about to change.
- Intercession – to intervene between parties with the goal of reconciling differences: to mediate. Intercession here is 2 sided. We can’t always know when our leaders need prayer for reconciliation in differences between parties and nations. When we have knowledge of those times, you bet we can pray and intercede. The flip side of praying for reconciling differences would be to pray that God would give us an open heart. A heart that stands for truth yet is pliable and open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. There’s a danger when standing for truth of one becoming a wee bit pharisaical. Remember the Pharisees in the Bible were so convinced they understood truth, they missed the Truth standing right before them.
- Thanksgiving – simply expressing our appreciation. It’s not always easy to express appreciation when we disagree. For instance if President elect Trump was not your political choice, how do you express appreciation to God for his victory? I believe one could begin by expressing appreciation that God is on the throne. We can express appreciation that no matter how circumstances appear we choose to believe in the God who loves us. We can be thankful that God is in the business of changing hearts – – – including our own.
I believe if we pray earnestly from a godly perspective rather than personal bias we can make a difference. Here are 2 examples of praying without bias.
“Lord, today I pray that as President Obama and President elect Trump begin the process of transition, I pray their differences would not be a stumbling block. But that their love for our country would unite them in working together to provide a smooth viable transition.”
Lord, I specifically pray for the heart of our President elect. I do not presume to know where his heart lines up or doesn’t line up with you. I pray he will grow in the depth of relationship that only you can cultivate and in the depth you desire. As a true heart for you is what you desire for us all, this shall be my prayer beginning today and for each day they’re in office. I pray this in your Son’s most precious name. Amen
I offered my Facebook friends the opportunity to participate in a 40 day challenge. I’m offering you this same challenge. The challenge: To pray over the next 40 days from a godly perspective rather than a personal bias for this Country’s leaders. No matter what Country you live in this is a good challenge all the way around. It will be a challenge, for me, to keep me out of the equation. I’m looking forward to seeing what God will do. Hope you’ll consider joining me. Would love to hear what you think.
We will discuss the promise and the why, stated in Scripture, of choosing to pray in this manner in a future blog.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority…” 1 Timothy 2:1-2a