Pray for our public officials
February 9, 2019
The Nevada State Legislature opened its 2019 session this week. Our state is one of only four with biennial legislatures, and now is the first with a female-majority representation. They convene in a political atmosphere charged by controversy, division, and just plain nastiness.
As our legislators begin their work, what is our civic duty toward them, from a Biblical point of view?
We are blessed to live in a country that allows for civic participation, so we should be involved in letter writing, testimony, and even running for office. But our first civic duty toward our government officials, according to the apostle Paul, is to pray for them.
1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time." (1 Timothy 2:1-6, NIV)
We're to pray for all who occupy positions of authority: does that also mean those with whom we disagree politically? Consider this: the "king" over the Mediterranean world at the time Paul wrote this letter was the Roman Emperor Nero. He had just set fire to his own capitol, then blamed the conflagration on Christians to justify his state-sponsored persecution of them.
We're to pray so that we will be able to live tranquil lives, undisturbed by civil turmoil or foreign enemies. We're to pray for one another, so we might conduct ourselves in a manner pleasing to God (godliness) and be gracious and dignified in our conduct toward other people (reverence).
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The purpose of such domestic tranquillity is neither isolation nor merely personal peace, but a spread of the knowledge of God through faith in Jesus Christ. God knows we need tangible examples of His love; believers in Jesus are meant to be those examples. Christians should take the lead in godly, civil conduct toward others. That doesn't mean there will be blind agreement with everyone on issues, but we're to treat those with whom we disagree as people made in the image of God.
By doing so, we communicate God's heart: He wishes all people to be saved, or delivered, through faith in His only Son, Jesus. Truth is objective and can be known, just as God can be known personally.
In other words, by the way Christians conduct themselves, others should see the life of Jesus in them. One way we reveal that life is through praying for all our elected officials, even those with whom we may strongly disagree.
Pastor Don Baumann of Hilltop Community Church is a member of the Carson Valley Minister's Association.