Do you pray for those who in serve in our government? At the dawn of what will prove to be a long year of focusing on government at every level, one of the most important things the ordinary citizen can do is to pray steadfastly and consistently for our leaders and those who seek to be leaders.
There’s no telling how many elected and appointed officials serve at every level of government. Who is the head of the Department of Transportation? The Department of Health and Human Services? I met a guest at a wedding reception who is the Department of State’s chief negotiator for arms control. I hardly knew such an office existed, but considering some of the rogue states in our world, this person is surely worthy of our steady prayers.
Who are you praying for? President Obama? That would be a good start. But how about the mayor, the city council, the head of the health department, the county commissioners?
One could spend hours praying for the persons we’ve entrusted with the task of governing us. Then add those now seeking public office. Although the national political attention has been focused on the Republican primary marathon in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, men and women will soon offer themselves as our leaders at every level of government in the fall 2012 elections.
And then there are state lawmakers. The next legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly will convene at 10 a.m. Monday in Atlanta. Considering the budget concerns of our state (and also considering some of the idiotic proposals I’ve seen for potential legislation), this session is certainly worthy of our prayerful attention.
We spend an inordinate amount of time debunking both those who govern us and the departments and offices that we have created to bring order to our society, employing the phrase “government bureaucrat” as a term of opprobrium. The current U.S. Congress has the lowest approval ratings in American history and recent presidents have experienced incredibly low approval ratings. But are we praying for these people?
What should one pray? Here are some starting suggestions: Pray for our leaders to tell the truth. Pray for God to give them abundant wisdom. Pray for them to take courage. Pray for them to remember they are servants. Pray that they will not seek to gain from their office. Pray that they will tirelessly advocate for the poorest and the nearly invisible. Pray that they won’t become subservient to those with money or power. Pray that they will maintain the proper balance between their own constituents and the needs of the larger society. Pray that they are persons of faith. When possible, pray for them by name.
If we would pray more consistently for our leaders and those who serve we might be surprised by the quality of our leaders and the effectiveness of our government.
Contact the Rev. Creede Hinshaw at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in Savannah at firstname.lastname@example.org.