Prayer and Politics

I have always heard and believed the old saying if you don’t vote then you have no right to complain when those elected don’t act in accordance with your beliefs. I still believe that but have come to a new understanding that goes a little deeper. I do vote whenever that privilege avails itself so I do maintain that “right” to complain.

My new understanding has come about over the past few weeks as I have tried to practice what Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. There are many verses in the Bible that are hard for me to live by. In this sermon where Jesus says, “Love your enemies” and “pray for those who persecute you” those are some of the hardest.

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Love Your Enemies

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers,i what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

This goes even deeper than the fact this will drive some of them crazy once they become aware you are doing so. Jesus sets a very high standard for us as Christians to aspire to. I fall short every day.

Prayer changes…

One thing I have learned about prayer over the years is it changes the person praying more than the one you are praying to. It is a little bit…ok…enormously presumptuous to think that I am going to change God’s mind about anything anyway. Prayer, if practiced regularly, will, however put my heart and mind more in sync with what God has in mind for me.

Meanwhile…back to my original topic

It has always been difficult to pray for those in leadership when I do not agree with their methods, decisions, or intentions as I understand them. I have prayed they would be removed or replaced but that is not what I am charged to do from God’s Word.

Recently, I have found a way to do this that has worked for me. Maybe I am a little slow to arrive at this truth but I am there now.

Here is how my prayer goes regarding those who God has placed in leadership roles over me.

Leaders Prayer

That’s it. It is pretty simple and yet it is sincere in that it is what I want our leaders to do. This is true regardless of whether it is a leader I happen to have voted for or agree with ideologically. I want all of those who represent us and are supposed to be leading us to make decisions based on the best interests of us. The fact I may disagree with their decisions and direction they are leading is irrelevant. It really is. That may be hard for some of you to believe but it is true.

It is possible my prayers could help change their hearts but it is far more likely mine will be changed.

Not Silent

However, this does not mean I will be a silent observer when I believe decisions being made by those same leaders are ill-advised or are motivated by their own self interests. I am praying for them to make wise decisions and hope they do but I will speak out and share my thoughts and opinions when I don’t believe they did. I will work within our political process to get them removed and replaced by those who will make wise decisions. That is just part of my responsibility to be a good citizen.

Prayer in the Public Square

Contrary to what many want us to believe prayer does have a place in the public square. It is the only way this government, which was designed to serve and protect the people, will work. Anything else will result in chaos or something worse.

English: I took photo with Canon camera.
English: I took photo with Canon camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

As stated in 2 Chronicles 7:14, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

 

 

 

Will you join me in prayer?

Until next time…

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Size 13 Footprint

I received a Father’s Day gift this year from my son, created with “encouragement” from my wife. I have received many Father’s Day gifts over the years and I am sure many fathers have received a gift similar to the one I am writing about today.

However, I suspect few have received one in the same size as the one I received. You see, my son is 18 and has a size 13 foot.

Fathers Day Card_20140615

This gift marks a milestone for us. You see, this is our youngest child who is now away in college leaving us at home without children in the house for the first time in 27 years. We are quasi-empty-nesters. I say quasi because we do still have two children in college so they will be back pretty regularly until they finish college but they are gone now more than they are here and that will likely be a permanent condition.

We are now living in the second half of Proverbs 22:6, which says, “Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will stay on it.” TLB

For the most part, we are done with the first half of this verse. He is now older and free to make most day-to-day decisions on his own. We will now have to sit back and observe to see if we really did teach him to choose the right path.

I am as confident as one can be when looking into the future he will make wise decisions. Does that mean he will make wise decisions every time the first time? Of course not. That is how we learn the most and gain wisdom – from our mistakes and unwise decisions. As long as he keeps learning and not repeating the same mistakes then those experiences will just become learning opportunities. I do hope he can learn from our mistakes too so he doesn’t have to make the same ones we did.

Will we worry? Of course we will. If I answered that question any other way I would lose all credibility.

Will we pray? Absolutely! We will Pray without ceasing as we are exhorted to do in I Thessalonians 5:17. I think many parents really heed this exhortation when their children leave for college or move away. It is nothing new for us to pray for our children. The focus of the prayers just changes over time. I hope our praying will outweigh our worrying but I am sure the balance of those scales will move back and forth as we grow. We are still learning too.

Our prayer for all our children includes but also follows the more familiar Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths. 

Proverbs 3:7 says, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”

This prayer will work in all situations for all of us.

Until next time…

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“…I will listen to you.” God

I was reminded of a scripture verse recently upon our son’s graduation from high school. I used it in my graduation letter to him as well as his sister two years prior but this reminder made me think it was worth sharing here too. You, the reader, will be the judge of that so let me know what you think.

My blog is named Peculiar Perspective because I often see life sort of sideways and I think this is another example of that perspective. I think there will be others to come in the future where the more well-known scripture reference is followed by a truth or promise that does not get as much exposure.

If you have any knowledge of the Bible or grew up in church as I did I am sure you have heard the verse often used at graduation time, Jeremiah 29:11 which says,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

But how often have you paid attention to the next verse which I see as being just as profound? Jeremiah 29:12 says,

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” 

Not only does God know the plans He has for us, and those are very good by the way, but He reminds and promises us in the next verse when we get confused or begin to doubt His plan for our lives if we will only talk to Him, He will listen.

How awesome is that? The creator of the universe will listen to me? Yes He will…If you know Him.

If you have children don’t you want them to talk to you and won’t you listen if they do? God longs for us to talk to Him in the same way.

Do YOU know HIM? If so this is just a reminder He is waiting to listen if you will just come to Him and talk to Him in prayer. The most often way you will hear from Him is reading His love letter to you, the Bible. 350px-holy_bible

If you don’t know Him yet, take a look here at Peace With God and learn how you can know Him today and then you can claim this promise too.

Until next time…

 

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