Prayer in the Midst of a Bar Fight
“I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,
for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-7
Timothy’s admonition seems particularly timely. Thus far, the presidential campaign has been about as godly and dignified as a bar fight.
During such a time we may dive into rancorous debates about issues or express our utter distaste for one candidate or another. We have come to expect that. After all, as they say, politics ain’t beanbag.
In the midst of this time, however, over the din, Timothy urges us to do something else—pray and, specifically, to pray for kings and others in high positions. We are to pray for all leaders, even those whose names we cannot pronounce without shuddering. This should not be surprising. Timothy is a follower of the one who told us to pray for our enemies. Especially them.
But notice: We pray for our leaders because, like it or not, like them or not, we need them to lead wisely and well, so that “we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.”
Those words remind us of qualities that are precious, rare, and endangered in this political season. Quiet. Peaceable. Godliness. Dignity.
Just uttering these words seems like a kind of prayer. And an urgent one at that.
God, we join our brother Timothy in praying for all who are in high positions, that they might be given wisdom and strength and that we might lead peaceable lives.
Martin B. Copenhaver is President of Andover Newton Theological School. His newest book is Room to Grow: Meditations on Trying to Live as a Christian.