This week’s Presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden signalled a new nadir in public discourse. Like so many others, I literally switched off after approximately twenty-minutes. I just couldn’t take any more. In a sign of how crazy things have become, the following headline from The Simpsons summed up the event perfectly:
Jeremy Slater summed up the feelings of most when he tweeted:
That was the worst thing I’ve ever seen, and I wrote FANTASTIC FOUR.
— Jeremy Slater (@jerslater) September 30, 2020
And in response to his tweet, the following exchange occurred:
Hopefully, Vice-President Mike Pence and Kamala Harris will restore some sense of decorum when they debate one another on October 7. Surely their exchange will be more edifying — modelling respect and reason — than that of their leaders?
But as Christians, this sorry fiasco is a timely reminder as to why it’s so important that we re-commit ourselves to prayer. As the apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:1-2:
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
How different the world is because of the prayers of God’s saints! Mary Queen of Scots is famously reported to have said that she feared the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe. Through the eyes of faith, we see how true this statement is.
When we come to God in prayer we know that He — the King of kings and Lord of lords — holds everything in His hands. And that He even directs the heart of the king wherever He pleases, just as He would a watercourse. As we read in Proverbs 21:1:
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD;
he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.”
I’ll never forget seeing this particular verse — with a photo of Ronald Reagan underneath it — on the fridge of a Christian friend in the United States. Below were a number of dot points about what they were especially praying for. I had never seen anything like that before. And I quickly realised that this was something that they were personally committed too.
Let’s resist the temptation to criticise or complain, and instead, recommit ourselves into spending more time in interceding for those whom God has placed in authority over us (see Romans 13:1). It will not only help our own mental well-being, but it is the most powerful and effective thing of all we can do.
This world might seem like it is out of control, but it’s not. It might appear that the rulers of this world do whatever they desire, but they don’t. The Bible tells us that the LORD is sovereign over everything that happens. Because through prayer, the world will be a different place!