I was caught by surprise today. I was listening to the radio while I was driving, and I happened to catch an interview with Max Lucado, the very popular author and pastor whom I respect greatly. The interview was focused on his most recent blog post where he shared his concerns with Donald Trump. Max's concerns were specifically with the fact that Trump claims to be a Christian but has not represented himself, or Christ, with decency. You can read Lucado's blog here.
I thought Max did a good job with the interview. He handled himself well and pointed to the core truths of the Gospel. What surprised me about this interview was that it took place on NPR's program, "All Things Considered." I guess I never thought I'd hear an interview with Max Lucado talking about what it means to represent Christ and His Church on NPR. It really caught me off guard.
While I was listening to the interview, I found myself agreeing with so much of what Lucado was saying. But then in the middle of it I realized something that convicted me deeply. It was as if the Holy Spirit was speaking right to my heart. The question that came to my mind was, "When is the last time you prayed for any of the presidential candidates on the ballot for this year's election?"
The honest answer to this question is, I haven't. I haven't spent one moment of my time praying for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, or any other potential candidate. Believe it or not, the Bible actually teaches us to pray for our leaders. Paul writes in 1 Timothy, "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:1-4)
We are instructed to pray and intercede on behalf of all people, specifically for kings and those in authority. Paul tells us that it pleases God when we do this. Yet I haven't done it at all. The truth is, for a lot of us, we could easily pray for half of the candidates, that is the half we agree with. Most of us would have a really hard time praying for the ones we oppose, unless of course our prayer was that God would prevent them from winning the election. But what would it be like for you and me to really commit to pray for each one of these candidates? To pray for their hearts, to pray for their salvation, to pray for them to come to a deep knowledge of the truth of the Gospel?
Can you imagine what would happen if Donald Trump had a "Paul-like" encounter with Christ that completely changed his life? Can you imagine what it would be like if this happened to all of the presidential candidates? Can you imagine the impact it would have on our country and our world?
I am firmly convinced that the second most important thing any of us can do this election season is vote. I believe voting is incredibly important. In our wonderful country, voting is one of the best ways for us to do what we can to make a difference. But it is not THE most important thing we can do. The most important thing you and I can do is pray for each one of these candidates by name, every day. That's because prayer goes beyond what you and I can do into what only God can do. Dave Hood, a pastor and a friend of mine always says, "Prayer isn't the least you can do. It's the most you can do."
My hope is that you will join me in prayer throughout the rest of this election season for each one of the candidates, that they would come to know the grace, the love, and the truth of the Gospel, and that as a result they would be changed and transformed into the leaders God created them to be.