“Lord, teach us to pray.” The disciples had been watching Jesus pray, and now they wanted some lessons. What follows are instructions from Jesus in the form of The Lord’s Prayer. As I read that passage in Luke 11 this morning, I got to wondering about what we would see if we observed Jesus praying today. . . Election Eve. . . in a moment where politicization of just about everything is out of control and the vitriol is spewing widely.
This political moment offers us a golden teachable moment to instruct our kids in powerful ways. Reality is, I need to be instructed as well.
Yesterday, our pastor wisely instructed us in how to pray over the coming days. . . the before, during, and after of November 3rd. I’ve been thinking about his three-fold directive and how valuable it is during these tumultuous days. And so, I’m passing it on to you here in the hope that it might be helpful to you as well.
First, pray that our elected leaders would be Godly men and women who pursue and enact Godly policies. As God’s people, we are to pursue a life lived into the will and way of the Father. And, as Jesus taught us to ask that “your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven,” we must come to realize that this is not only a prayer to be uttered, but a lifestyle to be actively pursued. Part of living Godly lives is to pray that our leaders would do the same. Paul wrote to Timothy, “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).
Perhaps it would be helpful to pray a version of a prayer from The Book Of Common Prayer that I oftentimes heard prayed corporately in worship while I was growing up. It’s a prayer for government authorities: O Lord our Governor, whose glory fills all the world: We commend this Nation to your merciful care, that we may be guided by your providence, and dwell secure in your peace. Grant to the President of this nation, the Governor of our state, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and do your will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them continually mindful of their calling to serve this people in reverent obedience to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
Second, pray that all of us would realize that politics doesn’t save a nation. If you stand back and take a look at the current cultural/political landscape, people on the edges of both polar extremes. . . along with so many in-between. . . philosophically and/or functionally live as if our only hope and consolation in life is in the government and getting “the right” people in office. Psalm 146 provides a necessary corrective perspective: “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is not salvation. . . Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob” (Psalm 146:3&5).
Third, pray that our hope would ultimately rest in the God of all eternity. We may not know all the twists and turns of what will happen as the story unfolds, but we do know how the story ends! Question 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism asks this: “What is your only comfort in life and death?” The answer is not “politics” or “politicians.” Rather, we read: “That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”
Lord, be with us over the coming days. As we are called to ask in all circumstances of life, so we pray in this moment. . . give us wisdom, grace, and great hope. Amen.