During one of our youth meetings at the gym, I asked the young people to pray for the people in authority in our community. I mentioned teachers, police officers, the council members and the mayor. One of the boys replied, "In our house, we do not pray for the mayor!"
The elections (with a couple of recounting exceptions) are over. There have been victories and defeats. There have been people who have been elected for the ninth time to the US Senate like Senator Byrd from West Virginia, and there have been the firsts such as the first Muslim, Keith Ellison, in the House and the first woman, Nancy Pelosi, as the first female Speaker of the House.
In the Old Testament we have the story of the people of Israel asking for a king, like the other nations that surrounded them. When Saul is chosen as their first king, Samuel brings him before the people and says: "Now here is the king you have chosen, the one you has asked for; see, the Lord has set a king over you." (1 Samuel 12:13)
We can say the same things today, "Behold, our elected officials." Through the democratic process of this country, we have chosen them. In a sense they represent us and in another sense they reflect us. We have chosen them because they represent our values, they represent our aspirations, and they represent the hope that we have for the future.
However, even if they do not represent our values or our aspirations, or our hope for the future, the Bible tells us to pray for the king and those in authority. "I urge you, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone –for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:1-4)
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I was listening to a friend a couple of months ago talking about a politician that he did not like. It was a nasty description. I leaned over to the person seated next to me and said, "Do you think we can ask him to pray for that person?" My friend's reply was, "I don't think we should ask him to do such a thing." Yet, as a believer I am commanded to pray for all the people and especially for those who are in authority. All need wisdom and understanding, all need to avoid falling into temptations, and all need to recognize that even while they are in authority and power, they are there as long as God allows them to be there.
I urge you to make a habit to pray for those in authority in this country – for the president, senators, and representatives and down to our own town mayor and council members. When you do this, you are pleasing the Lord.