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Prayers for Those Who Govern

It occurred to me that rather than giving those who govern a piece of my mind, I could give them something else in my prayers: compassion.

Every Sunday in church we pray for those who govern. Quite frankly it always feels formulaic and I’m not sure it does much good.

But the other day I was all riled up about stuff going on in D.C. and in my prayer time, I was praying for those who govern and telling them exactly what they should do. Giving them a piece of my mind.

What kind of prayer was that? Is it even a prayer?

In my prayers I often want to let God know how right I am and what exactly he should be doing. Nothing wrong with ranting. It’s as old as time or as old as the psalmist asking, “Why do the nations make a tumult and the peoples devise an empty scheme?”

But it occurred to me there’s a better way to pray for those who govern, something closer to Jesus’s model, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”

I could afford to be more compassionate for our leaders, both the ones I agree with and the ones who seem hopelessly wrong. Because in the end, the truth is something that defies party lines and goes much deeper than any political platform.

“I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right,” Abraham Lincoln famously said, “but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.”

Would that it were true. Amen.

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