Message: Part 5: Should Christians Pray for Politics?
Scripture Text: 1 Timothy 2:1-4
1. We’ll be spending the next few weeks leading up
to Election Day (and one week after) talking about how faith and politics intersect.
2. Question for today is, now that the election’s over, whether you should pray for politicians and for political things to happen.
a. Or should you have prayed more BEFORE the election?
b. The answer to this one is easy: YES. Followers of Jesus are taught by the scripture that we should pray for anything and anyone at any time.
i. Read Eph 6:18 (pray) at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
ii. Read 1 Thess 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
iii. Read Luke 18:1: And (Jesus)_ told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
c. But should Christians pray for politicians? Does God care about political stuff? Again a resounding YES from the Bible.
i. Read Isaiah 44:28 “(God) says of Cyrus (Ruler of Persia), ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’
ii. Read Colossians 1:16 “For by (Christ) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
iii. Read Rom 13:1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God
iv. Read 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,”
d. The Real question isn’t whether to pray about politics but what to pray for.
3. To answer that question we need to know what prayer is good for in the first place.
a. Prayer is Good for You
i. Martin Luther famously said “to be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
ii. The practice of daily prayer disciplines the mind and heart to seek a wider perspective other than your
own, narrow one.
iii. Read 1 Timothy 2:2 says prayer leads to “a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.’
b. Prayer is Good for God
i. God commands prayer and worship not because he needs it but because he is worthy of it.
ii. Acknowledgement of that fact from us in prayer means all that God has done to save and bless us has gotten through to us, which pleases God.
iii. Read 1 Timothy 2:3 says prayer is “good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
c. Which means the main thing about prayer is that it’s good for Relationship between ourselves and God.
i. It is a vital line of communication back and forth which always remains open, and not confined just to set aside times or moments of need.
ii. God communicates from his end through the Holy Spirit, speaking through scripture, transforming the thoughts of our mind, and directly into our heart.
4. 1 Timothy gives us insight into what we communicate to God from our end. (Read 1 Timothy 2:1).
a. There is little difference between these four Greek words, they all mean prayer. So the main thing Paul is saying here is “Pray! Pray! Pray! Pray!”
i. But the slight differences are helpful. I’ll use a donut to illustrate.
b. The Greek word for Supplication is Deesis which means to make a plea from a place of need, lack. So it’s a confession. (God, I’m powerless to give myself a donut)
c. The Greek word for Prayers is Proseuche which means to express a wish towards God out of faith he can fulfill that wish. (God, you can provide me a donut…so would you please?)
d. The Greek word for Intercessions is Enteuxis, which is asking God for an intervention in the world and people around you (God, also give other people a donut, too).
e. And the Greek word for Thanksgivings is Eucharista simply is expressing gratitude (God, thanks for the donuts).
f. Prayer about anything that includes all these elements will be humble, honest, bold and relational – and therefore powerful and effective.
5. So let’s apply this to prayer about the political realm, specifically praying for the new president.
a. My Deesis:
i. “Lord, I don’t know President Trump. I’m not in a position of power or influence over Him. I don’t fully know your plan for Him or for our country. My opinions, hopes and fears can be shortsighted and misleading because I’m a sinner. I regularly make mistakes. So I need your wisdom and illumination to know how and what to pray.”
ii. What would your Deesis/confession prayer
b. My Proseuche:
i. “Lord, you ask me to express my wishes to you. So I wish for myself that you would heal my heart so I will be trusting of your power. You can use President Trump because you have been able to use me. No obstacle is too great for you. And no evil in this world can keep me from relationship with you in Christ. When I have Him I have all I truly need. So my wish is that you would grow my trust, and abundantly give me the hope, peace and love which goes with it.
ii. What would your Proseuche/wishes prayer be?
c. My Enteuxis:
i. “Lord, I pray you will intervene in the affairs of our country and specifically with President Trump. Keep him and his family safe from harm. Speak into his mind and heart so he will know how to govern rightly and justly. Humble him so he will take time to listen and learn. Give him a charitable view of his enemies and a compassionate view of those with the greatest needs and anxieties in this country no matter who they are or what they look like. Help him to seek your favor only.
ii. “And intervene in our country to bring healing to deep divides. Restore a sense of unity so we will treat each other as fellow Americans rather than people who have to conform to one standard. Help us to compromise with each other for the greater good, so no one is left out. Help us to know when to be supportive and when to protest.
iii. What would your Enteuxis/intervention prayer be?
d. And finally, my Eucharista prayer is to say “Lord, thank you for Jesus Christ, who is sufficient for my needs no matter what country I live in. But also thank you that I live here in the United States, and the freedoms that citizenship affords me. Thank you that I don’t live in fear because I place my allegiance with you and am a part of a church. Thank you for the pride which swells in my heart when I say the pledge of allegiance, sing the national anthem, meet a military veteran, and see the stars and stripes in our flag.
i. What would your Eucharista/thanksgiving prayer be?
6. My Challenge for myself and for you: if you’re concerned for our country or concerned about the new president – pray for Him and for our other leaders every day using this 1 Timothy method.
a. Former Wheaton President Duane Litfin wrote: “Times of political and social upheaval are excellent times in which to die for Christ, but hard times in which to live for Him.”
b. May our prayers make all the difference.