Monday, July 19, 2010

PRAY FOR OUR PRESIDENT?

The following thoughts were suggested by Uni the other morning as we were praying (our morning prayers are often a three-way conversation). This is a joint effort and an expression of our hearts’ desire.

Nowadays it seems in some circles to be considered patriotic, even “spiritual” to badmouth our leaders, especially our President (our current President, that is). There is a constant harping and nit picking agitation against him. Any malicious rumor is considered true. Any epithet is acceptable (short of profanity, of course :^)). Uni and I often find ourselves extremely uncomfortable in the company of some of our Christian friends, when the conversation moves in this direction.

But this is not a behavior we find encouraged in the New Testament. This is not a behavior that God expects of His children.

We have a suggestion:
“I exhort then first of all for entreaties, prayers, intercessions to be made for all persons, for kings and all those who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the presence of God our Savior, who wants all persons to be saved and to come into knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Paul’s exhortation to Timothy seems pretty clear and straightforward. It also seems pretty all-inclusive (the word “all” appears 5 times in these 4 verses.

We are to pray for everyone. There doesn’t appear to be any exception. Now I don’t believe we are expected to simply say “God bless everybody” just before we eat or crawl into bed. We are to pray for all whom we have opportunity to know, or whose needs we know of.

And we are to pray not just general prayers, but to intercede, to plead with God on behalf of these persons. The third word for prayer in this passage I have translated “intercessions” because it is related to a verb translated “intercede.” We are told in Romans 8:26, 27 that the Spirit intercedes for us, and in Romans 8:34 that Christ intercedes. In this passage, however, we are to be the interceders.

More specifically, we are to do this “for kings and all those in authority.” And the reason given is “in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” Could it be any clearer? We don’t pray for our leaders for their benefit alone, but also for our benefit.

But then Paul gives a further reason – the reason why a tranquil and quiet life is to be desired. It is pleasing to God, because He wants everyone to be saved. He wants those in authority to be saved, of course, but He also wants them to promote peace because apparently a peaceful environment is more conducive to evangelism.

Elsewhere in the New Testament we’re given other responsibilities toward human authority that we have as citizens of two kingdoms: pay taxes, submit to laws, honor those in authority (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13, 17).

But here we are told to pray for them.

And there are no qualifiers given. We aren’t told to pray only for those of a certain political party or only for those who take a particular stand on some piece of legislation. We’re not even told to pray only for the “good” ones. The authorities of the Roman Empire in which Paul’s readers lived were already beginning to persecute them. In a few years Paul himself would be beheaded by the very authority he prayed for.

So, how should we intercede for our President? What should we pray for?
  • First of all, that he and his family might be genuine believers in Jesus Christ.
  • That his life would be totally committed to Jesus Christ.
  • That he would be a man of integrity.
  • That he would have wisdom for the decisions he must make.
  • That he would seek peace and justice for America and in the world.
  • That God will protect him and his family from those who wish them harm.
  • That the Christian community would pray for him.
Bill Ball
7/19/2010

16 comments:

Pamela Wilson-Lipscomb said...

I agree that it is so important to pray for our President, and legislative officials. It doesn't matter how we feel about them, out duty is to pray.

Preach said...

That is a great lesson, a sermon that should be heard on a National level. I would be honored to share your link, and your blog with others if that is alright? My contact information should be on my blog if I am not mistaken. This lines up with the conversation that Dan Merchant speaks of in his book/movie "Lord Save Us From Your Followers." My Link is: http://preachainheelin.blogspot.com
I am a Tarheel, and first and foremost a child to the King. My Blogs are Christian: A Day In The Life Of The Imperfect Christian, and my Christian Sports Blog is: (Blogwizer)=blogwieser.blogspot
I pray that this finds your houeshold and every encounter blessed abundantly sir. Please feel free to contact me at anytime. Thanks and blessings...Preach

Bill Ball said...

Preach: Thanx for your comments, and yes you may share anything and everything you want to with anyone and everyone you wanto!

Rod B said...

Bill, We are called to pray for those in authority but i don't find that the scriptures limit how we are to pray. I can pray for the items you have listed but I can also pray with the Psalmists 109:8,"May his days be few; may another take his office".

Bill Ball said...

Rod:In Ps 109, David is praying a prayer of vengeance against some enemy, someone who has done him serious wrong. We don't know who this person is, though some believe it may have been his counsellor Ahithophel who betrayed him. In Acts 1:20 it is applied to Judas. Th Psalm was not written, however to be arbitrarily applied to anyone we happen to dislike.
I believe you need to read the story in Luke 9:51-56. As Jesus said in vss. 55&56, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."

bullnose said...

I'll just keep prayin.....

EdTechSandyK said...

Bill, this is a wonderful post to remind us of our responsibility to pray no matter who is in office. I like that you did not use the President's name in the post because it applies at any time under any administration. It would be great if this blog entry could be set to repost at the start of (and also during controversial moments) every presidential administration from now until the Lord returns!

Bill Ball said...

Sandy, thanks. Feel free to repost, if you desire.

Dennis Cook said...

Amen borther Bill. Can you emagine David praying for Saul?

Bill Ball said...

Dennis: I can't find in any of David's recorded prayers where he ever did pray for Saul. }8^(

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill. A great article. Jim & I do pray daily for our president and his family. After living in Chicago for 20 yrs of our lives and watching the Chicago politics - we know from whence he came and how he got there. Nevertheless, we do pray for him and his family. Bless you - Jim & Shirley

Kim Holland said...

I find it interesting to read this comment in 2010.  I didn't notice any comments or encouragement  for civility for the former president. There seems to be no encouragement for prayer regarding the vitriol directed toward  him.  My question is  why now and not before?

Bill Ball said...

Kim: I've had WHAT I said and WHY I said what I said called into question many times, but this the first time questioned for WHEN I said something.
I have prayed for every president from Eisenhower on. And I plan on continuing to do so.

Preach said...

I agree to disagree, and love to learn. Therefore, I would have to ask this question. How many times before this presidency have you been asked those questions?
1. About why you prayed for a specific president, and
2. Why you didn't pray for the president before the our active president.

Why not ask about the president before him?

I appreciate your faithfulness to God and that you are always prepared to give a Godly answer. (1 Peter 3:15)

Love the Lord and you too Pastor Bill. I am grateful toward you, but praise God for you.

Bill Ball said...

Thanks, Preach. Good to hear from you again. I've missed your comments.

Preach said...

I apologize for the typo in Part II of my comment.

I am not as humble as I once was, but I would have to say to (Ms., Mrs.,) Kim Holland, wouldn't it be fair to ask why it was that she didn't mention the President before the one that she mentioned (President Bush)? Or for that matter any of the others?

I would ask that with a smile on my face, and explain that it was not a smile signifying a smug attitude or hate, but one that manifested a sense of humor that says, agree or disagree, I can take it as well as I dish it out, and it's ok to tease about these things.

I hate to assume, so to (Mr., "if Asian or other that uses Kim with males, Mrs., or Ms.,) Kim Holland, in a Christian tone with the love of Christ, I pray for our President(s) and all of those that are in my direct line of communication. So tonight, and please do not think I am being vain or facetious in saying this, I prayed for you too. God bless us all.

Peace, Blessings, and Joy through Christ Jesus.
Preach T-Dub