"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1Timothy 2:1-4, NIV).
On Sunday mornings at the Contact Church of Christ, I have been teaching through the book of 1 Timothy. Last week, we worked through the second chapter, which included the above verses concerning the need to pray for the leaders of our government. I tried to convey the idea that we need to pray for our leaders whether we agree with them or not, because our lives are blessed by government. Even a flawed government (which describes every government) provides some measure of peace and stability that cannot be found in anarchy.
Yesterday, I found a copy of a prayer that Joe Wright, a preacher for the Central Christian Church in Wichita, used when he was asked to open a session of the Kansas House of Representatives with prayer as a guest chaplain in 1996. It was a slightly modified version of a prayer that Bob Russell, a pastor (elder) and minister of Louisville's Southeast Christian Church, offered at the Kentucky Governor's Prayer Breakfast in 1995. (We heard Bob Russell speak at the Tulsa International Soul Winning Workshop in 2006.) Next time I teach on these verses, I may use this prayer as an example of how to pray for our government.
This prayer is a courageous prayer of repentance:
"Heavenly Father, we come before you to ask your forgiveness. We seek your direction and your guidance. We know your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good.' But that's what we've done.
We've lost our equilibrium. We have inverted our values. We have ridiculed the absolute truth of your Word in the name of moral pluralism. We have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle. We've exploited the poor and called it a lottery. We've neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. In the name of choice, we have killed our unborn. In the name of right to life, we have killed abortionists.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it political savvy. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it taxes. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, O God, and know our hearts today. Try us. Show us any wickedness within us. Cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of the state of Kansas and that have been ordained by you to govern this great state.
Grant them your wisdom to rule. May their decisions direct us to the center of your will. And, as we continue our prayer and as we come in out of the fog, give us clear minds to accomplish our goals as we begin this Legislature. For we pray in Jesus' name. Amen."