A week or so ago, a group of pastors and I went to the state house to pray for our legislators. I personally prayed with a handful of our lawmakers here in the state, Democrats and Republicans alike. I asked God to bless them, to give them wisdom to make good and just laws and to protect them as they travel. Republicans and Democrats alike appreciated the gesture. It wasn’t political at all. While we did discuss some matters with a couple of representatives, it was at their request, not ours. When I asked to see my representative I simply said, “Hi, I pastor a church in your district. I am praying for our legislators today. Is it alright if I pray for you right now?”
I don't share this to say that I'm great. I share this to ask everyone that rather than play this incessant game of "gotcha", this game of tearing down the other side of the political aisle to make yourself feel good, maybe, just maybe, we could figure out how best to move forward. Russell Moore, the head of the ERLC for the Southern Baptists had profound and well known differences with former President Obama and yet almost every time they met, Dr. Moore shares that President Obama would ask him to pray for him. He shares that it helped him to remember that before he is President Obama, he is still Barack Obama – a human being with hopes and fears just like you and me. Different fears and hopes, perhaps, but he is human like the rest of us.
So, here's my challenge. The next time you feel like posting that "Haha" gotcha on social media, instead take that time and send an email to your representative. Pray for them and then let them know you are praying for them. If you don’t know what to pray for them, pray this prayer:
Father God, today I ask that You bless Representative Smith. Give him wisdom as he makes decisions for this land and these people. Help him to understand the consequences of his decisions and open his eyes and heart to your perfect wisdom and grace. Keep him safe as he travels, keep his family safe as well. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
You may say, “But my representative is a godless (insert name of the other party here)! I can’t pray that God would bless him! We must defeat him and his godless agenda!” Well, consider the words of Jesus Christ, if you truly feel that they are your enemy:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:43-45 ESV)
Jesus didn’t say that you should support them, but we are called to love those who persecute us and to pray for them. And I don’t believe we should pray that a flower pot would fall from a window sill and knock them in the head. We should pray that God would change their heart and mind so that they make the best decisions for everyone. This goes doubly so for people with whom you have passionate disagreements with.