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Circling the Square

Praying for our Community

Posted by Bill Lovell on

One of our church's goals is to engage our community for Christ. One way I have sought to do that is by making myself available to pray in a wide variety of public settings. Just this week, our County Commissioner, my friend J.J. Koch, asked me to pray for the Dallas County Commissioners Court in Downtown Dallas. I've been asked how I approach such opportunities. 

(1) I generally say yes. If a political leader asks me to pray, my default position is to agree to do it. I guess I can imagine a situation where I couldn't do that in good conscience, but in thirty years it's never come up. So when Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson invited me to her District Prayer Meeting, I went and prayed for her even though we don't always agree. My personal opinion of a political leader doesn't matter too much. 

(2) I avoid politics in my prayers. I do have political opinions, and if you ask me, we might even discuss them. But when I publicly pray to the all-knowing King of the Universe, I try to put my own political preferences out of the way and avoid lecturing him about outcomes. I can pray just as earnestly for leaders of all political persuasions. God will sort it out. 

(3) I always pray for pretty much the same things. I've been asked to pray many times for political groups and community organizations. I always ask for God to grant them wisdom and discernment; I always ask for God to give them humility, unity, and Christ-like love; and I always ask that God will work through the people I'm praying for in such a way that the people they serve will be blessed. 

(4) I always pray in the name of Jesus Christ. I don't pick fights in my prayers, but I am a Christian, and my only basis for talking to God is Jesus—what he has done and what he does. I try to word my prayers carefully so I don't assume that everyone is praying in Jesus' name or that everyone relates to Jesus the same way we do as Christians. But if you don't want me to pray in Jesus' name, then don't ask me to pray.

The session and I base my prayer ministry on at least two key Bible passages: 1 Timothy 2:1-3 (praying "for kings and all those in authority") and Jeremiah 29:7 (praying "for the city to which [God has] carried us"). If the apostle Paul could pray for Nero, and the prophet Jeremiah could pray for his Assyrian overlords, surely I can pray for essentially anyone.