Guest Post: How to pray for your elected officials part 1 + 2

David Troxler co-pastors Saint Paul’s Church of the Nazarene in Duxbury, Massachusetts with his wife Karen. He sent a reply to my post “Dear God…how do you feel about politics” and I think it is worth it’s own post. It is a nicely written viewpoint that counters my sarcastic approach to the realm of politics. Anyway, here they are, enjoy!

Part 1:

I was asked to pray at the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Prayer breakfast in late June.  I was able to use it for my July column.  Several pastors were assigned responsibilities for whom to pray.  My assignment was to pray for the those in the local judicial system including the county prosecutors.  (Never thought about praying for them before..)  My concluding comment in the newspaper follow the prayer.

 Heavenly Father,

 Your word admonishes us to pray for those in authority over us.  Thank you for those individuals, men and women, who have been elected and appointed to serve the needs of the greater community.

 Enable us to be better at the task of supporting in prayer that their service might be easier. Forgive us for the times we have assumed their work to be the glamorous notions of shows like Law & Order. 

 In their work, sustain them in the cause of justice; may it be to them more than a political ideology or a path to greater personal gain.  Instead, grant them the satisfaction of serving justice for the whole of the community locally and ultimately, for the good and betterment of all humankind.

 Gracious God, for those elected servants, we ask for their households–Enable their personal support systems to be reservoirs of grace and sanctuaries of peace.

 When wisdom is necessary to decide and determine between competing options, provide them with wise counsel and the fortitude needed to do what may not be popular but right in Your sight.

 And Lord, finally, we ask that when issues do not go their way, that they might demonstrate the grace befitting their profession in orderto preserve the sense of community we most desire in order that their example be respected and modeled after as the true meaning of a public servant.

 We ask all of these things in Your holy name.  Amen.

 Prayer is not just about the person or thing for which we are praying.  Prayer shapes our lives for the better.  This might be a good prayer to keep throughout this election year for all of us.

Part 2:

Two months ago, I wrote a sample prayer we might offer to God on behalf of all our elected and appointed public servants. It appeared in the July column. A number of people commented in appreciation of the non-sectarian prayer. It is a universal prayer in that it can be applied equally to a person from any or from no political party.

This week, as last week, is one of the major political party nomination conventions. While not covered by every news source, I have listened in when others have offered televised prayers during theseconventions. I am personally acquainted with one of those clergy offering an invocational prayer. It is nice to know others who take prayer seriously are in such a place of responsibility, regardless of political party.

Likely, we may never be in a position to be called upon to pray in such circumstances. Nevertheless, that fact should not overshadow our ability to pray privately for these same leaders and candidates forleadership! In fact, the more prayers we offer on behalf of leadership, the greater chance we might all come to some peaceful decisions. I say this because prayer forces us to listen and not just spout off our list of wants and wishes. Real prayer is two-way communication.

Prayer, be it public or private, is a great responsibility for it opens the channel for communing with God. I know, not everyone prays, nor does everyone express a belief in any god. Still, based on my experience, more people who do pray sense a difference in their lives when it comes to making it through stressful times. Accordingly, those who do pray express a connection with God that enables them to have compassion for others.

I am of the opinion that God does not take sides in elections such as this. During his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln remarked how both the Confederacy and Union prayed to the same God for success during the Civil War. He knew that the prayers of both sides could not be answered to everyone’s satisfaction. Ultimately, President Lincoln suggested that instead of asserting God being on one side or the other, he spoke that we must be on God’s side, trusting God whatever the outcome..

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right” let us keep praying, together.

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