pray_4politics2

The word of God to a nation’s uncaring leaders:

“Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe ourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals.

“Therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock.”

— The prophet Ezekiel (Ez 34:2-4, 9-10)

The apostle Paul tells Timothy, a young pastor, that Christians should pray for their political leaders. Given the corruption that runs rampant through the halls of power in Washington DC, how ought we to pray for them?

The words of the prophet Ezekiel suggest at least one prayer: that they will turn away from their obsession with themselves and their power and wealth, and turn instead toward the people they have been appointed to protect and care for. If they do not, God stands against them and his judgment falls on them, and possibly the nation as well.

This applies to Democrats and Republicans alike (as well as every other party) because, frankly, God is not much interested in our petty party politics. What God is interested in is how the politicians currently in power treat the people they are supposed to represent, especially those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. This is a consistent theme throughout the Bible.

However, to say that we should pray for our political leaders is not to say that we should not engage in the political process by other means, such as non-violent resistance. Rather, it is a call to allow our political engagement to be guided by God’s heart instead of our own anger and frustration. There is no better way to find God’s heart on a matter than to seek God’s face through prayer.

Some of the cruel and unjust things I see our leaders in Washington doing make me mad as hell. But I’m not sure my anger is always God’s anger. Yes, God is angry too. But his anger falls amidst tears. Tears for those who are victims of oppression and cold-heartedness, certainly. But also tears for those who are the oppressors, those who are cold-hearted and cruel, those who “have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured.” Even as his judgment falls on them, he weeps for them. I suspect that my anger towards evil politicians is misplaced until I learn how to weep for them as well.

So, pray for your political leaders. Not that God will bless them, which is a cheap and easy prayer. Not even that God will give them wisdom, thought that is a good prayer. But that God will change their hearts so that they they become the leaders we need.


As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I welcome comments, including constructive criticisms. I do not welcome personal attacks; those are just childish.

 

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