A Challenge to Pray

The PrayerI have a challenge for my Christian friends who are also liberals.

Please understand that I am not in the very least challenging your belief. If you say that you belong to Christ – and strive to follow Him in all your ways – that is enough for me. Neither am I asking you to be perfect (impossible!) nor sinless (equally impossible). We don’t even have to agree on how you carry out your faith in practice nor how you understand it through your theology. If you say that you are a Christian, then I just have a question for you.

Are you praying for the President?

Several months ago I asked the same question to a Sunday School class. One of the attendees a hard time with President Obama. She had questions and concerns about his character, his policies, and his spiritual practices. Like a lot of conservatives who are Christian, she was in a deep moral crisis over directions that the country was being led by those in power, particularly the President.

When I asked her if she prayed for him, she stopped dead in her tracks. She is honest to a fault, so admitted that she hadn’t. I challenged her to start lifting him up in prayer for the remainder of his administration. From that moment on – whenever I saw her in church – she would say “I’m praying for him. I don’t want to. I don’t like to. But I am!”

In I Timothy 2:2, Paul exhorts Christians to pray “for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” Praying for those in authority is not an option – it is a biblical mandate as the next verse says: “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”

Notice, however, that Paul is saying to pray FOR those in authority, not AGAINST. Often our prayers – no matter which side of the aisle – often start with “God, don’t let him…”, “God stop him from doing…” and similar petitions of cease and desist. But Scripture takes a different view.

We are first and foremost to pray that President Trump knows Jesus Christ

Paul rounds off his command to the church under Timothy’s care by saying “(God) desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Tim 2:3) Is it not the core concern and zeal of every Christian that the Gospel may be proclaimed to all ends of the earth, and not one person may be lost because he or she does not know the saving power of Jesus? Should we not pray that his heart may be so overwhelmed by Christ that President Trump seeks nothing else? Can we not swallow our political difference long enough to pray fervently that he will experience the grace and truth to join Christians in an eternal bliss where there is no authority but the unhidden face of God? Or are we too mired in our political aspirations and indignations that we do not want him to know Jesus, or if Trump already does, to know Christ all the more?

We are to pray for peace

We are to pray for President Trump so we may have peace. We are to pray for tranquility at home and abroad. We are to pray for our troops and those who stand between that peace and those who would recklessly destroy it. But above all, we are to pray that President Trump submits himself to the Prince of Peace. That he may seek peace in all things – even when he must use the sword of the nation in order to achieve it.

We are to pray for knowledge, so he may have wisdom and humility

Proverbs 15:33: “The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom,And before honor comes humility.” The office of the President is one of power and prestige. For an unwise man, that power can be overwhelming. To counter that, Proverbs says that only instruction in the Lord will bring about wisdom and humility. Therefore, are we praying that the Spirit of God may enlighten the President as he goes about his tasks? Are we asking God to open his eyes as he studies Scripture, and that the study of God’s Word may be a daily undertaking? Are we praying for the counselors around him, that their hearts as well may be full of the fear of God?

We are to pray in thanksgiving for the will of God

Paul writes another admonition to another church: “For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” (Romans 13:1) Paul was referring to emperors, kings, governors, and military leaders who needed no reason to take someone’s life. As God raised these people up for a particular purpose, so too has God raised up and put in power President Trump. Are we not to rejoice in the fact that God is working His purpose out? Are we able to see the plan of God as exhibited by those who are in office, and pray and be thankful for – if nothing else – that God has a plan and His will is not subject to any election.

Of course it is not easy to pray so dilligently, so fervantly FOR a man that you might not like. President Trump might be the anathema of every political view you might hold. But in the end, that does not matter. We are to pray for those in authority – no matter how much we like or dislike them.

What are your prayers for the President today?

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