North Santa Rosa

Living with Purpose

     Two great minds from America’s past had takes on the U.S. Congress and those that represent our interests in Washington: “The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”—Will Rogers; “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”—Mark Twain.

     Americans like to vent about politics. We find talk radio ranging from informative and entertaining to exaggerated and sarcastic. If you follow politics with any degree of interest, it can raise your blood pressure, especially when outrageous acts are committed by an elected official. Some officials we elect, are actually noble and seek the good of their constituents. Some let power increase their arrogance. Some are criminals who get indicted and are sent to prison because of corruption or fraud. As American citizens, we are justified to be angry at evil and wrong-doing.

     Even if elected officials do something illegal; even if they’re self-serving; even if you can’t wait to vote them out, there’s a Scripture we must be reminded of. I Timothy 2:1 says, “…I ask you to pray much for all men and women and give thanks for them.” The Bible specifically tells us to pray for our leaders. It’s true we get to collectively hire and fire them at the ballot box. But that doesn’t disqualify us from the responsibility to intercede for them. If you can ever get past the conscious thought of praying for someone you don’t like, then you’ve reached a self-less spiritual maturity that doesn’t happen by accident. Your prayers for those you didn’t vote for is good for you and for them. Genuine prayer for someone is the most personal thing you can do for anyone. If you pray for an enemy or someone you don’t particularly like, it doesn’t mean you condone their behavior or actions. It doesn’t even mean you have to like them. However, it does mean you know God will handle that person’s so-called imperfections. The Bible says, “…Love your enemies…and love those who hate you. Respect and give thanks for those who say bad things to you. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who do bad things to you and who make it hard for you. Then you may be the children of God…” (Matt. 43-48).

     It may seem to you that the government and those in leadership positions are not acting in your best interests. But try thinking on a different level. Wouldn’t it be great if leaders, who weren’t Christians, found Jesus as a result of your prayers and the prayers of others? Pray for that. This is what you can do. The prayer given in faith and belief can “move mountains” and “breakdown strongholds”. Write your Congressman, email them, or even call if need be, but even greater is to pray wisdom for them. Pray they will tell the truth, make right decisions, take the long view, and put the national interests above self-interests.

     Venting and robust debate about politics can be healthy at times. But venting and complaining are a poor substitute for prayer. Let the five (5) dynamics of prayer guide you in praying for your leaders. First, the WHO? Don’t depend on hate speech or derogatory name calling to make your views known. But call upon the name of God and put your ultimate trust in God. Pray to Him. Depend on Him. God never fails to hear the pleas of His children. Second, the WHAT? Many people think God is only interested in the big things and they neglect praying for the small matters. “It’s the little foxes, that spoil the vines” (Song of Solomon 2:15). Pray for everything; all things great and small. Leaders make decisions that affect all aspects of life, so pray for everything that affects you and others. God answers the prayers of faith (Matt. 21:22). Third, the WHEN? Luke 18:1 says, “…people should always pray and not give up.” Don’t wait to pray until trouble strikes. The person that prays in a “hit-or-miss” fashion will have a weak prayer life. And those that pray only when they’re emotionally moved, tend to pray selfishly. When you pray for your government leaders you positively affect them. Do this for everyone by continuing in a spirit of prayer moment by moment. Fourth, the WHERE? Don’t think you have to be in church to get your prayers heard by God, although praying in God’s house can give you great inspiration. God isn’t limited to places or distances. Pray at home, at school, at work, at play—pray everywhere you feel the urge. Fifth, the WHY? When Christians “call upon God”, “in everything”, “always”, “everywhere”, they obtain mercy, experience peace, enjoy inspiration, and find grace to help in times of need. For He tells us “…He will help us wherever we need it” (Heb. 4:16).

     Your opinion does matter, and you have a 1st Amendment right to criticize politicians. But understand you have a great responsibility and a divine call to pray for your leaders. Accept this call, perform your duty, and trust God to right the wrongs in His perfect time.

      This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Oct 20 2013. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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