Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Government: Friend or Foe?

Gas prices are rising
Unemployment at an all time high
Recession the greatest since 1929
Skyrocketing Federal and State budget deficits and debt
House and Senate divided over budget issues
Increased bombing in Libya
Immigration out of control and beyond fixing
US and Pakistan relations "shaky"

Yikes! Do I dare include any more headlines from today's paper? What is our government doing? Even with our system of redress and the right to cast ballots it is difficult to see change on the horizon. At times it seems there is so little the average American can do. Is there anything we can do?

Yes! However I fear that the greatest and most effective thing that we can do, we do so little. If we do it at all it often is inconsistent and impotent. What can we do? What should we be doing in addition to casting ballots, redress, and "salting" the political process? Praying.

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." (I Timothy 2:1-2, ESV)

Travel back to AD 90 and ponder the "state of the union." Paul and Peter had been killed by Nero some 25 or 26 years earlier. Domitian was Emperor of Rome. Under severe measures he restored Romes traditional religion. He persecuted Christians severely. Times were harsh and Roman law was severe. What were the Christians to do?

Listen to heart of this former pastor of the church at Rome named Clement. Clement wrote an epistle, or a letter to the believers in the Church of Corinth when the savagery of Domitian was fresh in believers minds. Here is probably the greatest of all prayers for the Emperor:

"Thou, Lord and Master, hast given our rulers and governors the power of sovereignty through thine excellent and unspeakable might, that we, knowing the glory and honor which thou hast given them, may submit ourselves unto them, in nothing resisting thy will. Grant unto them, therefore, O Lord, health, peace, concord, stability, that they may administer the government which thou has given them without failure. For thou, O heavenly Master, King of the Ages, givest to sons of men glory and honor and power over all things that are upon the earth. Do thou, Lord, direct their counsel according to that which is good and well- pleasing in they sight, that, administering the power which thou hast given them in peace and gentleness with godliness, they may obtain thy favor. O thou, who alone art able to  do these things, and things far more exceeding good than these for us, we praise thee through the High Priest and Guardian of our souls, Jesus Christ through whom be the glory and the majesty unto thee both now and for all generations, and for ever and ever. Amen!" (I Clement 61)

The Church has always believed it a God-given duty to pray for those in authority over the kingdoms of this earth. The Church even brought its persecutors before the throne of Grace in order to obtain favor. Yes, utilize our system of redress and by all means use the ballot box. However, do not forget the most effective weapon that can ever be used against government to keep it in check - fervent, effective, and consistent prayer.

Do you pray consistent for government and government officials?

When you do pray, how do you pray for them? Their demise or their deliverance?

What would happen if Christians and Churches fall on their face across this nation regularly to make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for our national, state, and local leaders?


IanH said...

Gregg, our church prays regularly for our governments, as do we.

Anonymous said...

I pray for mercy, not judgment. I may be too late though. But I keep on a prayin' anyway.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Our church prays for the government as yet their prayers have not been asnwered.

Have a good day.

Cathy M. said...

As we say in the Good News Club, "God ALWAYS answers prayer: sometimes He says 'yes,' sometimes He says 'no,' sometimes He says 'wait,' but He NEVER says 'maybe.'"

I'm not big into imprecatory prayer. For unbelievers, I pray God will hit straight licks with crooked sticks. Thanks for the reminder of my oft neglected duty to pray for my government and its leaders.