Prayer and politics
Categories: Shuzia Magazine,
Politics is often considered a murky landscape, filled with complexities and controversies. Generally, the word conjures images of backroom dealings, hidden agendas, and compromises that leave many wary. Furthermore, the inherent challenges of political leadership have led to a generalized distrust and cynicism surrounding politicians, casting doubts on their intentions and actions. Interestingly, this reality is observed across nations, as politicians, no matter the country, often find themselves under a scrutinizing spotlight, facing criticism and blame for every national woe.
It is easy for us to point fingers at leaders when their decisions lead to national issues, while conveniently forgetting that we all make our share of misguided choices. The stakes are undoubtedly higher for those in power, as their decisions impact the lives of many, pointing to the fact that our leaders need wisdom, insight, and understanding that transcends mere human capability. Consider a leader facing the weighty task of crafting policies that address pressing societal issues. Imagine their dilemma when confronted with the diverse needs of a nation, where solutions that benefit one segment might inadvertently disadvantage another. The decision to allocate resources, for instance, involves an intricate balancing act.
An act that requires politicians to weigh the concerns of various interest groups – from education to healthcare to infrastructure. Each decision has far-reaching implications that can impact countless lives.
As Christians, we recognize that such wisdom as is needed to rule a nation, resides with God and it is granted to those who seek it. Acknowledging this, it becomes evident that praying for our leaders is not just an option but a solemn duty. The scriptures in James 1:5 remind us, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." This wisdom is critical for leaders to navigate the intricacies of politics with integrity, compassion, and foresight. This is no ordinary wisdom; it's the kind that transcends human comprehension–the kind that proffers solutions to the most intricate challenges.
As believers, we are called to intercede for our leaders, fervently praying for the wisdom and discernment they require to lead their nations with righteousness. We see wisdom particularly evident in the life of Joseph when he proposed to store surplus grain before the famine. However, in the life of Rehoboam (Solomon’s son), we see what a leader’s lack of wisdom can cause.
When confronted by the people’s request for relief from heavy taxation, Rehoboam ignored the advice of his elders and responded harshly, leading to a revolt and consequently the division of the kingdom. Furthermore, the apostle Paul exhorts us in 1 Timothy 2:1-2: "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." This instruction underlines the essential connection between the peace of a nation and the prayers of its people.
Our intercessions for leaders and governments not only create an environment conducive to peace but also have the potential to preserve the nation itself. In the book of Esther, we see how the call for fasting and prayer among the Jews in Persia averted their impending annihilation at the hands of Hamaan (Esther 4, 5, 6, 7). Also, when the Assyrian king threatened Jerusalem, King Hezekiah fervently prayed for deliverance and overnight, an angel of the Lord struck down the Assyrian camp, leading to a great victory for Jerusalem (2 Kings 19: 14-37). Moreover, in 2 Chronicles 20: 5-25, when a coalition of nations threatened to invade Judah, King Jehoshaphat led the people in prayer and fasting.
As they went out to face the enemy, they witnessed the enemy armies turning against each other, leading to a decisive victory.
As believers, we are not mere bystanders nor passive observers of the political space; rather, we are entrusted with the privilege and responsibility to usher in change through prayer. In a world where self-interest often reigns, believers are called to rise above the norm, seek the welfare of their cities, and pray fervently to the Lord on their behalf (Jeremiah 29:7). It is also a call to stand in the gap and uplift our leaders before the Throne of Grace, seeking divine guidance for their decisions. It is not a call to partisan pursuits, nor is it a platform for divisiveness. Instead, it is an invitation to fulfill the mandate of Christ: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). Indeed, it is our divine responsibility to labour in prayer until the peace that Christ has given us rests upon our nations. "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will" (Proverbs 21:1).
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