Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Pastor's Daily Prayer (Part 12 of 13)

The Pastor's Daily Prayer
(paragraph 12 of 13)

The following paragraph comes from the Pastor's Daily Prayer from The Lutheran Agenda (c) 1941.  It has been slightly edited (thee's and thou's to you and yours) to make it sound a bit less archaic; nonetheless, some archaic terms have been retained for the sake of endearment of the original version.


Grant also health and prosperity to all that are in authority in our country, especially the President and Congress of the United States, the Governor and Legislature of this State, and to all Judges and Magistrates. Endue them with grace to rule after your good pleasure, to the maintenance of righteousness and to the hindrance and punishment of wickedness, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 


I consider it a disturbing state of affairs that this petition is a cause of offense for so many Christians.  Sadly, I think that too many Christians equate the Christian faith with a party platform, or believe that those who are members of a particular party cannot really be Christians.  Let this be clear: The kingdom of God is not a political party!

I have been rebuked for saying prayers for our political leaders.  Consider this petition, which we offer in church on a few occasions each year:
M: Preserve our nation in justice and honor, that we may lead peaceable lives of integrity. Grant health and favor to all who bear office in our land, especially to President ________ (name), Governor _________ (name), the Mayor of Novi, and all those who make, administer, and judge our laws, and help them serve all citizens according to your holy will:
C: Hear us, good Lord.

Yes, I add the names that belong in those blanks.  Over the past 20+ years, I have prayed for President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, and now President Trump.  Unfortunately, some feel that some of these presidents are not worthy of our prayers.  But what does the petition above pray for?  "Grace to rule after your good pleasure, the maintenance of righteousness and the hindrance and punishment of wickedness."  Who would refuse to pray for these?  As the prayer notes, the fulfillment of these petitions only serves our own good.

If someone is truly scandalized that the Church would pray for the leaders of one's country, their issue is not with the pastor, or even the leader for that matter.  It is with 1 Timothy 2:1-2 which says, "First of all, then, 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."  If St. Paul can say this when his emperor was Nero, then certainly each Christian congregation should pray for their leaders.