When I tell my colleague bishops about our plan for the synod to host “God in your Mercy, Hear our Prayer: An Election Year Worship Service,” they have two immediate responses: “What a great idea. What an impossible task.” The consensus is that, yes, we should pray for elections and governmental leaders AND, no, it won’t be easy to lead such corporate prayer without appearing biased or partisan.
But that is our goal. The Bible calls us to pray for our leaders. (From 1 Timothy 2:1-2: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for rulers and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. And from Jeremiah 29:7: Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.)
I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for rulers and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
Martin Luther, in his Small Catechism, reminds us that we pray for the governing authorities whenever we pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” In the Large Catechism, Luther writes that it is God at work in civic rulers as they provide, protect, and preserve (in the “Explanation of the Fourth Commandment”).
Additionally, in his commentary on Psalm 82, Luther suggests that preachers are called to help hold civic authorities accountable and “upbraidsprinces who will not allow
WE ARE A CHURCH at prayer. In the coming weeks, we pray especially for our civic life. In a final word from Luther: “After the Gospel or the ministry, there is on earth no better jewel, no greater treasure, nor richer alms, no fairer endowment, no finer possession than a ruler who makes and preserves just laws. … It is not God’s will that [rulers] … seek only honor, power, luxury, selfish profit, and self-will. God would have them full of great, innumerable, unspeakable good works.”