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Immanuel Lutheran church

PRAYING

Immanuel Lutheran church

PRAYING

Should We be Praying for the President?

Every week in worship we pray for our leaders – national, regional, and local. Over the years those who hold a different political position than the current President of the United States have at times been troubled that we pray for a particular president. Some people objected when we prayed for President Obama. Some now object that we pray for President Trump. So why do we pray for presidents, regardless of their political affiliation or popularity? 

The first reason is that the Bible urges us to pray for “kings and all who are in high positions” in 1 Timothy 2:1-4.  Here’s the entire passage:

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. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  1 Timothy 2:1-4

 

Perhaps what troubles some people is the word “for.” Praying “for” a particular president does not mean that we all unequivocally support what that person is doing in office: to pray “for” someone does not mean that we are “for” or “supportive” of everything he or she is doing. While the word “for” can mean “in support of,” when we pray for a president, the word “for” means “concerning.” So we pray “for” (concerning) the president, no matter who it is or what is being done, that the president enable us to lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. If in our perception a president is acting in ways contrary to that, well, then our prayers are still “concerning” the president, that his or her heart and actions be changed. Maybe even especially if the president is dishonest or a scoundrel, we ought to pray all the more “for” (concerning) him or her, since the behavior seems to be leading away from the peaceful, quiet, godly, and dignified life that God intends for all people. 

There are times in our nation’s history when some citizens believe the president to be an enemy. And even if some of us think that a particular president is an enemy, still we ought to pray for (concerning) him or her. Why?  Because of the clear and simple words of Jesus on how we are to treat our enemies:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:43-45 

 

Today’s “cancel culture” is doubling down on hating your enemy, demanding that anyone who disagrees with you is an enemy who should be labeled, dismissed, and destroyed (canceled). Christians are called to swim against the tide of “cancel culture,” because to participate in it is to give our hearts over to hatred. So in church we are going to keep on praying for (concerning) the president, no matter political affiliation or behavior, just like Christians have prayed for their political leaders since the inception of Christianity. We will keep on praying no matter who the president is, even if at some time in the future a president persecutes the church, because Christians are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. 

 

Praying for (concerning) the president is an antidote to the toxic hatred so prevalent in our culture today.

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At Immanuel, we believe that you can be transformed by experiencing life with God in Christ. Our mission is to equip people for this kind of transformation by connecting people with Christ in a life of worship, learning, and service, whether you are exploring Christianity for the first time or grew up attending church.

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