Prayers for Leaders? Prayers for Enemies.

A favorite Church Lady spoke over her shoulder as she departed services, tossing a phrase at us with an admonishing look saying “Remember to pray for our Leaders.” Prior to service she had approached us with “concerns” over what’s happening in Washington. I think she was disappointed to find we didn’t share her views. I presume she was surprised because the perspective she espoused originates on TV, continues on the radio and is echoed even from the pulpit on occasion.

Yes we have concerns. Yes we pray!

But there is a presumptive undercurrent of churchy correctness that we need to speak against. Churchy, in-vogue circles suggest current events require us to pray in certain ways. We attend church with people who pretty much blindly hold conservative party lines. These are ones who vote a list of Issues, who have certain political and “ethical” agendas — e.g. “legislating morality”.

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30

Is blatant support of immoral leaders to accomplish a particular political agenda Biblical?  Did Jesus do so?

What we’ve discovered is that if you speak differently than the “churchy correct” confrontationalism, you’re not welcome.

“What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.” H.D. Thoreau.

So, we conversely, vote on Principle. This is worth unpacking. That verse the Church Lady pitched in our face?

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – 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…” -1 Timothy 2:1-3

Godless Leadership will never evoke conditions where we can “live quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness and holiness.” Division, contention and strife?

“In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.” 1 Cor. 11:18-19

“No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.”

Here’s what God says about approval. It has to do with principles.

“God defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” Deut. 10:18.

Enemies of God hold different values. We know that EVERYONE is free to act as they wish, Leaders particularly. God gives free will. But NOBODY is free from the consequences of their actions:

“See how wicked people think up evil; they plan trouble and practice deception. But in the traps they set for others, they themselves get caught. So they are punished by their own evil and are hurt by their own violence. I thank the Lord for his justice; I sing praises to the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm 7:14-17

“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.” Malachi 3:5

The answer is yes, we pray for our Leaders: That God will use them to accomplish His purposes. We pray: That he will hold them accountable for their graft, corruption, sins and crimes. That many will be awakened to a true understanding of right and wrong. That even those deceived in the past by wicked leaders – at every level – will be given a second chance to draw near the the Truth.

And we pray for our enemies, especially ones who hold high offices and surround themselves with an enabling army of sycophants. We pray like David did:

“Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall. And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation. All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?” Psalm 35:8-10

We also pray that the healing light of Christ will break out.

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Mt. 5:44-45. and “Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called the Sons of God.” Mt. 5:9

So a couple of questions:

  • Are we willing to pray for our enemies in the knowledge that God blesses those who do right?
  • Do we believe that God could give us a clearer vision of Himself as we pray in obedience and faith?

Or are we willing to accept that “anything goes” so long as our political objectives are met? Does the end justify the means?

What would Jesus say?

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