Contributed by VBC Instructor, Josh Wagner.
A few weeks weeks ago at the Republican National Convention Donald Trump was elected the Republican nominee for President. Last week the Democratic party did the same regarding Hillary Clinton. This is not a political article. I am not going to compare voting records. I’m not going to discuss policy positions. I am not even going to tell you how to vote. Instead, I make a plea to you: pray.
As I survey the state of America, my heart is broken. Muslims are committing horrific terrorist attacks. Members of our law enforcement are being ambushed and killed. And the slander and unkindness demonstrated in the political arena has been embarrassing to watch. At a time like this, our nation needs godly leaders. Debates and name-calling are not the answer to the world’s problems, and they are certainly not the answer for Christians. Regardless of your opinions of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, one thing is clear: they both need prayer. And that is precisely what Christians are commanded to do.
Writing to his son in the faith, Paul tells Timothy, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:1-4). What does Paul urge Timothy to do? Debate? Complain? Write divisive Facebook posts? Not at all. Instead, his charge is to make supplication, prayer, intercession and thanksgiving for governmental leadership. Now, there is a time and place to state the facts and voice opinions, even though they may be controversial, but that must not be our default response to political leadership. Paul urged us “first of all,” to pray and thank God for our leaders. When was the last time you did that?
Now, I have heard people from both sides of the fence tell me the horrors of what America would look like with four years of Trump or four years of Hillary. Certainly God didn’t mean for this verse to apply to these “kings,” right? Do you know who the “king” was when Paul penned these words? Nero. As much as you may dislike Trump or think Clinton to be “of the devil,” they are saints compared to Nero. This is the same man who burned down half of Rome and blamed it on the Christians. This is the same man who was guilty of murdering his own mother. He was a homosexual who used to ride naked through his courtyard at night with his male lover, as the bodies of Christians burned to light up the night. And how does Paul instruct Timothy to respond to him? He tells Timothy to pray for Nero.
If we truly believe in the power of prayer, and we really want to do this world some good, then let us fall on our knees and pray for our presidential candidates. May they turn their hearts to Jesus and publicly stand up for Him. May they “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt. 3:8). May their transformation be evident as they work to abolish the legalized sins in our nation such as abortion and gay marriage. As Paul says, these prayers for our leaders are so that people may be “saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” And let us remember that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Eph. 6:12), or against Trump or Hillary. They need our prayers, not our hatred. Lord, heal our land, forgive our sins and help our leaders to turn to you.