In a matter of hours Donald J. Trump will take the oath of office and become the 45th president of the United States. It cannot be emphasized enough that leadership at every level of government matters; indeed, government is God’s instrument to maintain law and order and to carry out His purposes (Rom. 13:1-7). I voted, and I trust that you did too.
However, Scripture teaches that it is not only misguided to put too much faith in a president or in a political party, it is dangerous. On the political right, I’ve talked with those who would barely disclose that they were about to vote for Trump before the election, who now view him as the answer to all their problems—happy days are here again! For this group, prayer for the candidates was important before the election, but now prayer seems to have fallen to the wayside. Revealing, isn’t it?
On the left, Donald Trump has been treated with more vitriol than any president-elect that I’ve seen within my lifetime. Renae and I lived in the liberal stronghold of Madison, Wisconsin for nine years, so when this state held a recount, we were more than a little interested. In the end, under much scrutiny and to everyone’s surprise, Donald Trump added to his lead over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Yet, many across the nation still do not want to accept the results and are vehemently fighting against a Trump presidency, even going so far as to openly advocate impeaching Trump once he is sworn into office.
Why are unwarranted responses across the political spectrum coming to the surface? In summary, when we replace God with a political leader, that leader becomes some sort of savior figure. When the office of the presidency has been elevated to such a lofty position, either the president must be the answer to all our nation’s problems, or he must be removed at all costs.
But our president is merely a man. If we place our confidence in a man, then we are destined for disappointment. Too often we forget the bigger picture: “He who comes from heaven is above all” (John 3:31). Jesus alongside our heavenly Father created everything including us (Col. 1:16), and God is the One who moves the heart of the king like channels of water (Prov. 21:1). This is why Paul directed believers to pray for “all those in authority” (I Tim. 2:1-4). It is in prayer that we keep the Divine and earthly governments in proper relationship and can see eternally significant things happen. Also, it is in prayer and Bible reading that we meet with the living God and find His perspective in a chaotic world.
Do you believe that God answers the prayers of His people? Since the election have you been seeking God for the good of our nation? Have you continued to pray for the leadership and the future of our nation with the same fervency?
I believe our nation will face various crises over the next four years. I do not have a crystal ball and, therefore, cannot speak to their severity or frequency, but if ever there was a time for the body of Christ to lean into the Lord through prayer on behalf of our nation, it is now. Do not relax your prayers! As I have said time and again, our nation is overdue for a shaking—that is, overdue for a massive humbling that will come through divine judgment. Whatever lays before us, our nation is in need of your faith-filled prayers today as prayer touches, and at time relents, the heart of our God.
With this in mind, below is the first of two prayers that I believe can help us seek the Lord on behalf of our nation in 2017. This first prayer emphasizes God as preeminent over the affairs of men and recognizes that our government is an instrument in His hands. I will post the second prayer next week, which will focus on “we the people.” Let’s pray:
Heavenly Father, we declare that your Son, Jesus Christ, is the King of kings. He rules and reigns over the universe and for the good of all nations. We ask that our 45th president, Donald Trump, will understand this reality and walk in humility before You. We ask that he will become a man of prayer and that he will lead our nation with biblical values in his heart. We ask that our government representatives will make decisions that please You. By your grace, use this man, his cabinet, and the legislative and judicial branches to help us become a nation which repents of sin, promotes righteousness, is fiscally responsible, and is wise and measured in confronting our enemies. Last, as a wayward nation culpable before You in so many ways, we ask that even in Your wrath that You extend mercy (Hab. 3:2). Please give our national, state, and local leadership wisdom from above on a daily basis and in the midst of each crisis that we face. Amen.