God-fearing Christians or Quiet Politicians

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“Trump is asking all Christians to pray as he goes before the Supreme Court.”
Have you seen any announcements like this? Maybe a friend posted it on WhatsApp or sent it via text. Maybe some friends were talking about it at church or work. How should a Christian respond to a request like this?
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer 17:9) It wasn’t until results were coming in for the current election that I realized just how deceitful my heart was. I claim to be a Christian and say that I don’t take part in the world’s political affairs. Imagine how startling it was to discover that in my mind, I had picked the presidential candidate for the US, and I was starting to worry because the other one was getting ahead! I suddenly realized that although I don’t put out a sign, donate to a campaign, or vote; I was just as much a Republican as those who did!
Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (1Jo 3:15) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matt 5:28). Since God views hatred as murder and lust as adultery, it is clear that God is concerned about what happens in our hearts before those thoughts become actions. While the act of voting is not on the same moral plane as hatred or lust, God does take note of the thoughts and intents of our hearts. Is mentally deciding who I think should be president any different from actually voting? Can I be a Christian and a citizen of heaven while in my heart I am a “Republican or Democrat”?
And that brings us back to where we started. Should we be praying for the success of a particular political candidate? Surely it is all right to pray that Mr. A gets in and not Mr. B, right? After all, doesn’t the Bible command us to pray for our leaders?
First, if I have decided who I think should be the next leader, haven’t I just voted in my heart? If I have decided who is best qualified, I have taken sides with a political party. Can I then say that I have no part in the kingdoms of this world if I am taking sides with them? If I have taken sides, am I any different than my neighbor who has a political sign in his yard?
Second, what does the Bible say about praying for our leaders? I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (1Ti 2:1,2). As far as I can tell, the Bible does not tell us to pray about who should be the next leader, but only to pray for those who are our leaders. Additionally, Paul’s writing to Timothy gives the reason we should be praying for those in authority. It is not that our political candidate gets in, but that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
Third, if we believe God knows best and is in control, should we pray for a specific man to be the next leader? For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another (Psa 75:6,7). Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: (Dan 2:20,21). Was God in control when the Pharaoh “that knew not Joseph” came into power? From an earthly standpoint, he was a terrible leader for the country of Egypt! After losing both livestock and agricultural development, they also lost their military power because of their leader’s hard heart. Would that be called a successful reign? Was God in control? What about when Herod killed all the babies two years and younger? Can you imagine the impact that had? Did God know that would happen when He put Herod into power? What about…? You can fill in the blank with the name of any leader you want, either “good” or “bad.” Was God in control? Did He accomplish His purpose? Is He in control today?
Lastly, what is the problem if I am more worried about which of two sinful men will become the next leader than I am about God’s will being done? Am I afraid that Biden will be too powerful for God to control? Am I scared that Trump may be too immoral for God to use? The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will (Pro 21:1). And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm (Mat 8:26). If Jesus can calm a physical storm that threatened His disciples’ lives, can He not also calm the storm of political uncertainty in the hearts of His children? Until my fear of God is greater than my fears of the uncertainty of my immediate future, there will be unrest.
Since God is in control, we can rest assured that He will put in place the leader of His choice. Accusatory or actual foul play and corruption makes no difference to God. He can just as easily use foul play to put in the man He wants as He can use fair dealings. He can use it all for His glory and to accomplish His plan. Only when we can say “Thy will be done” and mean it from the heart, will we be able to find peace in the midst of political turmoil.