Bp Bena January 2017
ARE WE REALLY SUPPOSED TO PRAY FOR THIS INAUGURATION?
Bishop Dave Bena
Is this the worst presidential election EVER? In our day, the media wants us to think that everything is either the best EVER or the worst EVER. I personally think that 2016 was not the worst year EVER (I lived through the 60's!!!!).
But it's not really what I think; it's what we believe and do under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. And one of the most important things God the Holy Spirit stirs us to is PRAYER.
Today, with the Inauguration right around the corner, let's focus our prayers on our nation, and in particular on the Presidential Inauguration.
The Holy Spirit, through the medium of Holy Scripture, commands us as the Church and as individuals to pray for our governmental leaders. Paul's first letter to Timothy has many confusing passages needing prayerful discernment. But one passage needs no hard work to understand -
1 Timothy 2:1. "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way."
Therefore it is not surprising that every service of worship in the Anglican tradition includes prayers "for the whole state of Christ's Church and the world." We ALWAYS include prayers for our government leaders when we gather for worship. We're following Scriptural guidelines when we do so.
It follows that our own private devotions should include prayers for our Church and for the nation. Whether it be the worst election EVER or the best election EVER, we continue faithfully offering prayers to our heavenly Father "that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way."
But two warnings:
1) As we pray, let's not get sidetracked. We don't have to freak out when things in government or election results frighten us, or when we get positively tingly about what we think is going to finally get straightened out in government and our nation. Let's not go off on a tangent, but instead believe firmly that Jesus is the King and is above any elected officials or nations. We can give our first allegiance to King Jesus. It was said in the Second Century Epistle to Diognetus, "For Christians, every homeland is a foreign land and every foreign land is a homeland." Yes, we should be involved in politics and should pray for our officials in the Administrations, the Legislatures, and in the Courts. But let's remember that we have not yet arrived in our REAL homeland. Remember the words of Jesus - "All authority in heaven AND ON EARTH has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20. Let's not get sidetracked into freaking out about whether we goest. Let's just get on with the mission.
2) As we pray, let's keep the main thing the main thing. While we pray each day for our nation and for the upcoming Inauguration, let's remember our main function while we are here in this nation: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8. THAT, my brothers and sisters IS THE MAIN THING.
So in our home, Mary Ellen and I pray daily for our nation. This month we are praying:
a. For a smooth transition from President Obama to President Trump.
b. For a renewed recognition of the Constitutional principle of freedom of (not from) religion.
c. For a return to the acceptance of biblical values as our national norm.
d. For a nation where all people are respected and have due process.
e. For Jesus to be seen more and more as the center of our life.
Will you join me (or continue) in prayer for our nation?
"See you in church!"