The 2012 Presidential Election is just two weeks away. Emotions are running high on both sides of the aisle. The question, ‘What do you think of the politicians of today?’ will, more often than not, bring negative responses. ‘They are only in it for the money, the power, the position’ and ‘It is impossible to find an honest politician’ are likely replies.
Seldom is there a positive or sympathetic thought for the politician and the challenges they face in their personal and family life while fulfilling a demanding public role on behalf of their constituents. Meanwhile, the media makes us very much aware of the faults and failings of any politician. Yet, the Houses of Parliament have had a worldwide influence.
The White House and Congress and may seem far beyond the influence of most citizens, yet, through prayer, it is possible to have a powerful influence on politicians and, through them, the Government of the nation. It was Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who said, ‘More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of’ it is through prayer that we, as Christians, can reach into the government and have a greater influence than we can imagine. But far too often we as Christians forget that our best and arguably our first response should be prayer.
Consider Daniel in Babylon. Darius essentially declared himself to be god and imposed the death penalty on all who did not show loyalty. What did Daniel do? How did he respond? Exactly the way he was supposed to.
I appreciated how Christopher Wright approached this in his book The Mission of God’s People:
States like to posture as the sole source of all benefit to their citizens and to demand in return an ultimate loyalty. We may not quite deify our kings or presidents, but we easily turn patriotism into a creed and alleged lack of it into a heresy.
But what did Daniel do, faced with this demand to acknowledge no god but the king he was otherwise serving so efficiently? He subverted it. He went on praying to the one whom he knew to be the only living God.
Prayer is to say, ‘There is a higher throne.’ Prayer appeals to a higher authority. Prayer is, in short, a political act. It affirms that all human political power is subordinate not ultimate, relative not absolute–to be obeyed so long as it is consistent with obedience to the living God… –Christopher Wright, The Mission of God’s People, pp. 256-7.
If we are truly worked up emotionally and truly want to see change then prayer is the biblical precedent and prescription (1 Tim. 2.1-8).
Praying for government leaders as Paul instructed Timothy is vital. Someone once said, ‘We get the government we pray for’ This should challenge us to pray more fervently and consistently, not just when we consider there is a special situation.
But prayer alone is not enough! Prayer never stands alone. David would never have overcome Goliath by prayer alone. David had developed a lifestyle of prayerful relation- ship with God. When the occasion arose, he was ready to act.
There are times to pray and there are times to act. As we develop our personal and corporate prayer relationship with God, we, too, can have an impact on the situations around us that will be beyond our natural ability.