I posted this on Facebook the other day. "Apostle Paul spent many years on lock down. He didn't agree with the deeds of the government officials who held him there. Still, he loved them. Prayed for them. Urged believers to do the same. And he appeared happier than many of us who, even now, possess greater freedom, yet only use it to complain. I'm not suggesting there's nothing to bark about. I've done it. But I wonder how much of our fear is wrapped around a false security that leans upon government to provide us joy. I can certainly do better. You?"
A few years ago I would have never uttered such a thing. I just didn't think that way. My prayer for what I would call an opposing politician would have went something like this, "Lord, just change their heart...please!"
That may sound great to many if not most believers. I certainly thought it was. Then I heard Kris Valloton of Bethel Church in Redding ministering on the subject. It began back when Obama was in office. Kris actually said, "I love my President". It was at that time when the phrase, "Not my President" became a thing. Democrats now do this with Trump and Republicans hate it. Have the tables have turned? I think so.
Let's be clear, Kris did not vote for Obama. He wouldn't. I did not vote for the current Illinois Governor Pritzker. I wouldn't. But he is my Governor. God is urging me to pray for him. And "Lord, just change his heart" probably does nothing in terms of moving my heart toward God and his love for the Governor any more than not praying for him at all. Truth be told, it actually hardens me more to pray that way, since I'm essentially giving God an ultimatum. "Either change him, or I won't love him until You do." Is that what God is asking of me? I don't think so.
Perhaps this is a new perspective for you. It was for me too. I take that back. We've had this perspective for quite some time. It's in the Bible. I believe the biggest road block for me is that it isn't status quo. It's popular to hate the other team - even in the Church. Or shall I say "especially"? Unfortunately, this popular ideology isn't working. It's broken. Hopefully, that's not too hard to see.
I feel the conviction for change. I feel we're going in circles with our political approach in prayer. I feel it's time to swallow my pride and just admit that I've been wrong. The status quo of good guy vs bad guy; my party can do no wrong and theirs no right, is simply... wrong. We're better than that, and better is expected of us if we sincerely want to partner with God for the "ushering in of His Kingdom". For how can we demonstrate that God is love if we're consistently complaining about the people we hate, eh em "disagree"? Has this not left us on the defense?
I'm NOT suggesting that we don't war against unjust laws or behaviors. I AM emphasizing that the Church spends far too much time on defense, constant in its ridicule/concern over what "the enemy" is doing, and not enough time on the offense, asking God to bless them. I believe we live in the eternal loop of "everybody's out to get us". We're notorious to overreacting and have become difficult to take serious.
I believe it's time to alter course. After all, when the blessings come from God, He is not going raise His hand against His own Kingdom. "Lord, I speak great joy over JB Pritzker today! Biden. Obama. Bless their families, their finances, their political careers." It may take some practice to press it off the tongue. C'mon! You can say it!