Religion and politics. We’ve all been warned not discuss these two topics in public. Bring one up, and the mood at the water cooler can go from casual to combative in about 2.5 seconds. But I’m going to breach etiquette and mention them both … in the same article.
First, politics. As we all know, this is an election year. Campaign flyers are flooding our mailbox. The California Primary Election is just around the corner, and six months from now, millions of Americans will gather at their local precinct to choose a leader for the next four years. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge observed, “All the opportunity for self-government through the rule of the people depends upon one single factor. That is the ballot box.” If you haven’t already, be sure to register and exercise your right to vote in our upcoming elections. It is our duty.
Now on to religion. I must confess, I’m not very fond of the word “religion.” It usually brings to mind cold ceremonies, empty rituals, and corrupt institutions. But if, by “religion,” we mean faith in God through Jesus Christ, it’s the most precious word on the planet.
Each of us has a political duty to vote. But we also have a religious duty: to pray for our country. The Apostle Paul says, “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” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV). Since my 18th birthday, I’ve never missed an election. But to my shame, I sometimes forget to pray for my leaders after they’re elected.
Elections are good, but prayer meetings are better. Elections shape history, but prayer affects the God of history. Prayer unites our hearts with the sovereign Lord of the universe who alone “changes times and seasons, removes kings and sets up kings” (Daniel 2:21).
Let’s pray that our elected officials will have wisdom and strength. Let’s pray for our schools, our military, our churches, our families, and our law enforcement. Most importantly, let’s pray for the spiritual needs of our nation -- that more people will find true hope in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Tomorrow, we have a great opportunity to pray during the National Day of Prayer. On behalf of the other pastors of the Morongo Basin Evangelical Pastors Fellowship, I invite you to join us at Remembrance Park at Noon on Thursday May 3, 2012. But even if you can’t make this gathering, please pause for a few moments to pray for our nation and our community. After all, it is our duty.
This article first appeared in the Minister's Message in today's edition of our local newspaper, the Hi Desert Star.