Prayers for Presidential Candidates

"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 2:1-3
            Timothy's admonition seems particularly timely in this election season.  "The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know," is how The Message translates that first verse.  A colleague of mine commented recently that he thought the presidential campaign thus far has been about as godly and dignified as a bar fight. Who knows what's to come in the remaining weeks? Whoever is chosen, it will be an unusually historic election.
            I'd like to invite Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to stop by Saint Paul for a visit, not at the same Sunday morning service mind you, just to greet us--nothing too political. I trust that we are diverse enough as a congregation that there would be some who would love to meet and hear from each of them. And I know there would be lively debates among ourselves, expressing admiration and good will, distaste and even contempt for one candidate or another.
            If they stayed for the whole service they might notice that we often pray for rulers and those in high positions, but not often by name. Perhaps the names are left out because if we get too specific we cannot pronounce them without some of us shuddering. But our leaders all have names. I remember that the writer of First Timothy is a follower of the one who told us to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Both candidates deserve prayers from friend and foe alike.  
            We pray for our leaders and future 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.
            P.S.  Our prayers are often at the intersection of religion and public life. We wonder anew what churches can and cannot do or say in the political arena. What does the first amendment say and how did in get included? What is the balance in living our faith and being patriotic? On Monday September 26 at 7pm you are invited to join a webinar sponsored by our church on the topic of Religion and the Constitution led by Thomas Cunniff, Assoc. General Counsel for our denomination.  Log in at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/176762941

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