Thursday, May 05, 2005

National Day of Prayer--It's For Everybody

Today is National Day of Prayer, a fact that will largely, I am sure, slip past the main-stream media unnoticed. Tonight, I am hopeful that we will fill our sanctuary with folks who will take to their knees and intercede on behalf of our nation, our leaders and our armed forces around the world. And when I say I will pray on behalf of our nation and our leaders, I don't just mean I will pray for President Bush and Condi Rice...I will be praying for Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy and even Hillary Clinton, that God will do a great work in their lives and bring them to a true saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

"Why?" You might ask..."Why should I pray for people I don't respect, don't like, who have time and time again shown themselves to be beneath contempt--the Apostle Paul describes them pretty well--'lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited...(2 Timothy 3:2-4)' Why should I pray for them?"

Because Paul also said, "Never pay back evil for evil to anyone...Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:17a, 21). Jesus went even further: "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 in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:43-45a). In my view, it is not only OK to point out when our leaders are wrong in what they are doing and what they are saying, it is Christian to point it out and call on them publicly to change their ways...Jesus didn't hesitate to confront the leaders of His day...but we also ought not to forget that Jesus died for everyone, and that God considers them to be valuable also...let's pray that He will change their hearts and the Holy Spirit will enter in.

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