The "Federal Executive" category of government officials to pray for, on the Monthly Schedule of Authorities, (which is on Monday, August 1), has finally been updated to reflect the main official Presidential nominees, Donald J. Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Gary Johnson, instead of, "and all candidates!", which I adopted last year because of the nineteen total Presidential candidates at that time. (There were seventeen Republicans and the two contenders for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton and Bernard Sanders.) Gary Johnson was added by the Libertarian convention in May and Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, even more recently. (I did not omit Dr. Stein because I don't want anyone to pray for her, although I think she and Johnson are wasting their time and a lot of other people's money in a futile pursuit.)
There are going to be supporters of each of the tickets who consider themselves Christians and want to pray for their candidate in particular. Again, I have my views, I have a candidate that I support, but promoting my personal views and convictions is not the focus of this website. (Some will want to point out that my choice is reflected in which ticket I put first. Of course it is. I could go a lot further than that but choose not to.) The purpose of this website is to promote prayer, as the Holy Spirit did through Paul the apostle, for ALL who are in authority.
Whatever we think of particular persons who are in office now or who are seeking office cannot be much worse than some of the Greek or Roman government officials who ruled in Paul's day. While the term "barbarian" came from what the Greeks called anyone who didn't speak their language, some Roman officials were true barbarians in any sense of the word. Paul still said to pray for them.
The reason the Monthly Schedule does not list candidates by name for Senate seats or U.S. House of Representative seats, or state legislatures, (unicameral or bicameral), is that these will be different in each of the districts of each of the fifty states. The Presidential tickets are the same for everyone in America.
This promises to be a hard-hitting, hard-fought election. Both major candidates, (Trump and Clinton), are questioning each other's fitness to be given national security briefings. If the Obama White House excludes anyone, it will not be Clinton. So I believe we need to pray that this idea is not pursued at all.
One last thing: I have referred frequently in this blog and in the main pages of this website to a promise that I have believed was contained in this passage of Scripture: being able to live peaceable and quiet lives in all godliness and reverence. I have re-examined that verse and admit that, in itself, it could refer only to the effect that a prayerful life will have upon our own behavior, that we will live peaceably and quietly. It might not be a firm promise that the government will leave us in peace. Even if that is the case, it is essential for Christians throughout America to provide a godly example and a God-honoring lifestyle to those around us and an improvement in our collective testimony would be a good thing. God is real, God is powerful, and Jesus Christ is someday coming again and people need to believe that is real. Too many Christians today are too hard to tell apart from the world around them. If that is all that the verse is promising - an improvement in us rather than in our circumstances - it is still worth pursuing. However, I'm not going back and deleting my references to this verse as a promise. As has been said many times, "Context is king," when interpreting Scripture. The immediate context about praying for people in authority, and other Scripture such as where Proverbs says, "The heart of the king is as rivers of water in the hands of the Lord," indicates to me that there is a promise there. The historical context of what had been happening in Ephesus shortly before Paul wrote to Timothy indicates the tremendous concern and interest the Ephesian believers would have had in living peacefully again. Whatever this passage is promising is something we should want.
Brent Thompson. Patrick Zamarripa. Michael Krol. Michael Smith. Lorne Ahrens. These five police officers were targeted and killed in Dallas, TX, during a supposedly peaceful protest by a former private first class in the Army Reserve who had served in Afghanistan. All were spoken well of by their fellow officers, fellow citizens, and families. We need to continue praying for their families, and for the seven other officers and two civilians who were shot and wounded. May they all acquire a deeper trust and faith in the character of God and His Son, Jesus Christ - if they haven't had it before this, then to have it now would of course be deeper than before.
A lot of things are already being said, and are going to be said, by news commentators and by politicians and by private individuals of all persuasions. I want to repeat what I have said before: not expressing views on supporting the Second Amendment or controlling guns or other political issues does not mean I don't have them, or don't have convictions in general. The purpose of this website is not to be a platform for personal views. Its purpose is to promote the fulfillment of what the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to write to Timothy in [I Timothy 2] and the Scriptural promise attached to it:
"Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
Think about the church to which Paul was expressing this urgent instruction to pray and the atmosphere in which they heard it read by their young pastor, Timotheus: not long before, their city of Ephesus had been shaken by violent riots stirred up by a silversmith named Demetrius simply because the well-publicized miracles Paul had done, and the growth of their Christian faith, threatened his lucrative business of making shrines for worship of Diana (or Artemis). A promise of increasing their ability to lead a "quiet and peaceable life" while continuing to practice their faith got their full attention, I am sure. In the wake of the violence by this one man in Dallas, (fortunately not by the protestors), it should get ours, also.
When I urge you to follow this website's idea of pursuing Paul's admonition to pray in an organized, structured fashion, I am not trying to lay any spiritual obligation on people. I am not trying to create a big complicated burden. I know that we all have our days when our prayers are preoccupied with our own needs or those of our families. We have days when our thoughts are preoccupied and we don't pray at all. The idea is to keep at it, as individuals, and to spread and to share the idea so that statistically someone is praying for somebody all the time. The more we keep at it and the more we promote it, the more prayer will be sheltering our police officers, or convicting or encouraging our elected officials.
Our attitude towards the persons we pray for will also be affected. I do not discount the ability of our prayers to affect those we pray for. I also believe that as we increase how often we seek the throne of God to present these prayers, we will be more affected and changed by the Holy Spirit ourselves. All of this works together to change individuals and thereby affect society whether we see it happening in our immediate area, or in our short-term time frame, or not. Scripture describes Jesus Christ as the One through whom and for whom the entire universe was created. "And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." [Colossians 1:17] The One who created and holds together the intricate atoms and molecules and all the things they make up, is quite capable of accomplishing more than one thing at a time. If He can keep track of everything in our world (and beyond) from the largest to the most microscopic level, is social complexity any problem for Him? He was able to deal with the hearts and the minds of men and women in Paul's day and he can in ours. He was able to deal with the conflict of Jews and Romans and Greeks as the Gospel uprooted and challenged the ideas they grew up with and thought essential to civilized living, and He can deal with our times, too. But He tells us to pray.
The Founding Fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence that they held certain truths to be self-evident, and the world is still listening to those words. We as Christians hold certain truths to be timeless and eternal because they are from our God who is timeless and eternal Himself. Living by Scriptural truth - including Paul's admonition to pray for all men including, but not limited, to those in authority - shows that we pay attention to it. There are too many people today who are filled with the idea that what is old is bad, that "old-fashioned" means "backwards." The idea that some things are timeless and eternal is strange to them. They need to see that these ideas are still alive in us.
We don't always know which of them may turn to us and ask - not necessarily in a friendly or polite way - why we do this. Even if we are not aggressive in sharing our faith, we are told, "always be ready to give an account of the hope which is in you." Different people respond to different things in different ways. God has a reason for putting each of us in the environment we are in, with our neighbors and co-workers that we each have. The amazing thing is that He wants to work through us to achieve His ends. One thing I have learned in my years as a Christian is that sometimes the Holy Spirit does His best work when I'm not watching closely.
We need to show our confidence that by quietly (not meaning silently) living for Christ, we can frustrate the Devil.
A Christian man living in Southeastern Pennsylvania, USA. Came under conviction in 1978 or 1979 to begin believing the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Came to saving faith in Christ in October 1982 by confessing I was a sinner by nature and only Christ could save me.