Prayers for Politics?

awesome-american-flag_603993     Writing a devotional thought is a very complex undertaking.  While attempting to keep the topic interesting, the writer also tries to be brief because we fully understand the short attention span of most readers.  To top it off, it should be motivational, urging one to devoting more time and energy to the work of getting the message of the gospel out.  Well, this devotional will be short.  If you are interested in investing time for the good of others, this thought should spur you onward.  Ernest prayer is the topic.  And prayer can and will change things!  Here’s my challenge for you.

With increasing tension between law enforcement and special interest groups, let’s commit to praying today and all week for the Republican National Convention!  It makes no difference what party you prefer, Democrat, Republican, Independent or none at all, we must pray for all political gatherings as these ‘hot spots’ provide the kindling for explosive trouble where  concerned citizens gather to do the business of politics.  Before we know it, we will be praying for the Democrats as they gather to conduct their business.  And each time we see large crowds gathering, we know large numbers of law enforcement officers will be positioned to protect and defend our American right to assemble.

What does praying for political peace have to do with getting the message of the gospel out?  A portion of the message was summed up by Jesus in Matthew 5:43, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”  What greater challenge do we need?  This message is ours to carry to the world around us.

Please join with me in prayer that sometimes we just have to agree to disagree without bringing harm to others.  Sometimes we must love others when we don’t like them very much.  Prayer may not change the situations around us, but maybe it will change our hearts and when the heart is changed, we become much closer to sharing God’s message of love.  Won’t you join me?

Love’s Transforming Power

Remember the story from our World History books, a story over 3000 years oldBlog?  A well-crafted, giant horse appearing outside the gates at the break of dawn and curiosity got the best of those living within the fortified city?  So they opened the gate, maneuvered the mysterious horse into the inner sanctum of the walls only to find it was filled with the enemy’s soldiers who promptly attacked the city from within.  True story.  I think someone has opened the gate to our heartland and ushered in an ugly horse of hatred and violence, one that is growing and multiplying at an alarming rate.  It appears to me that the American population is attacking each other from within and no one is coming out the winner.  God must look at us and think we have lost our minds.

I suppose violence has always been with us.  From the Revolutionary War to the way we pushed the American Natives out of their home, from the Civil War to all generation’s ugliness of slavery of every kind, we seem to be steeped in violence.  Yet, in spite of history’s violence, todays drive-by shootings and crimes of hatred still manage to shock me.  My morning routine of tuning in the Morning Express has lost its appeal as I dread what tragedy might be the ‘breaking news’ of the day.  For all of us, prayer time has a new page as we devote time to praying for our law enforcement officers, praying for people who are injured or killed as a result of hasty actions, and praying that some sense of trust and peace can be restored to our homeland.

Matthew recorded in our Bible some powerful words of Jesus Christ as He taught His followers from a mountainside.  “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matt 5:7-9)  Mercy – not getting what a person deserves, we could use a great deal of mercy today.  A pure heart cannot hold hatred, bitterness, or an unforgiving spirit.  We need more pure hearts.  And peacemakers??  Please, we need a truck load of them.

What disappoints the most is seeing the hatred and bitterness coming from the hearts of people who claim to believe in God and follow the teachings of Jesus.  How can we worship a God who exemplifies love by giving His own Son for our salvation and not love the created objects of His love?  Jesus told His followers, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”  (Matt 5:44)  We have no hope of pleasing God if we cannot focus on the goal of loving as He loves.  It will not be easy; it will not feel natural, but a compassionate love is our only hope.

One thing I know: we live in a fallen world, a world that will continue to struggle until God brings down His final gift to us, a world without sin.  Until that time, Christians must strive to love in word and deed simply because that’s what Jesus did.  That is the final word we have from the Bible, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17) May our actions and our words be fitting to be done in the name of our Lord.