Today is a Thursday. On this website's "Monthly Schedule of Authorities" prayer calendar, prayer for our defenders of freedom in the military and the police is suggested. (This website is always a recommendation to pray, a suggestion of how to pray, not an attempt to create obligation. It will always be recommended and suggested as strongly as possible.) Because of the way it sets aside each week for a different level of government, (federal, state, county/parish, and municipal), this post could have waited two weeks, because it applies to city, township, or municipal law enforcement, but because of the fresh light shed on its subject matter today, it was best to write it now.
The information that has been revealed about Officer Joseph Gliniewicz of Fox Lake, IL, USA, that instead of being killed in the line of duty he staged suicide in the face of discovery of embezzlement, only gives us another reason to pray for men and women in law enforcement. They face temptation. They may be embroiled in one sin or another already. Or, like Gliniewicz' unknowing colleagues and admirers, they may be one inch away from feeling betrayed. With betrayal can come bitterness, anger, discouragement, cynicism, and all of these can impact how we are served by law enforcement when we meet them.
The best antidote for "new" and "shocking" revelations is meditation on how timeless and eternal Christian truth is because of the timeless and eternal love and justice of our God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. His holiness, righteousness, justice and love, kept in balance, are our basis of faith for salvation and for prayer.
What better way to remind ourselves that our need to devote prayer to those in authority, (as Paul exhorted Timothy and his church to do in I Timothy 2:1,2), is timeless, than to realize that Martin Luther, in 1535 - four hundred eighty years ago - wrote a letter to his barber, Peter, suggesting how to pray and including many guidelines to pray for religious and secular authorities. Over and over, he recommended prayer to "convict and restrain" them.
Martin Luther was known for his strong language and energetic approach. He was a product of his country and his time and, (despite equally strong and energetic opposition by it for centuries), his Church. He has been called "quintessentially Germanic." (As I sometimes have put it, being a German-American myself, two world wars should have taught people not to get Germans angry.) His "convict and restrain" language does not quite make room for the privilege we enjoy today of having some who serve us in law enforcement already being committed Christians. They need our prayer most of all.
The concept of prayer for authorities, the need for prayer for authorities, never goes away. Not in Paul's time, not in Martin Luther's time, nor in ours. Not in Ephesus, Greece; not in Wittenberg, Germany; not in Fox Lake, Illinois; nor wherever you are. As tragic and disappointing and disillusioning as the revelations about Officer Gliniewicz are, they are just one more reason to pray.
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.