I recently had the privilege of visiting the Indiana Statehouse with several friends in ministry. Our mission was to interview leaders of a ministry called Public Servants’ Prayer. Founded in 2004 by Chaplain Matthew Barnes, Public Servants’ Prayer (PSP) was established to share the hope of the Gospel with our political leaders and to form a network of praying servants to faithfully minister to our elected officials.
When we arrived at the State Capitol, we were met by the Associate Director of PSP, Pastor Tim Overton. Pastor Tim gave us a brief tour of the Capitol building and then we sat down in the “Meditation Room,” (the chapel), to talk about what God has been doing in the ministry.
Over the past 14 years, PSP has had the privilege of leading Bible studies, organizing events, and providing pastoral counsel to our state’s political leaders. I was impressed at how much has been accomplished on a meager budget that relies on donations and gifts only. Why is PSP doing what it does? People need the love of the Gospel, and politicians are people, too.
In Acts Chapter 9, as Saul (Paul) was being called to ministry, the Lord told Ananias to go and pray for him, “For he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel,” (Acts 9:15). Notice that Paul was being commissioned by God to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Jews, non-Jews and to “kings,” which in today’s vernacular would mean “political leaders.” The world of politics is fraught with division, subterfuge, and evil intentions. If ever there was a people and place that needed prayer, our political leaders and capitol buildings should be a primary target. We should pray for them not only for their sake, but for the sake of the nation as well.
It is evident from Scripture that God judged Israel based on how its leadership ruled. He said to the prophet Micah,
“Now hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity…her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money…because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mount of the temple like the bare hills of the forest,” (Micah 3:9-12).
Should we expect anything less if our leaders abhor justice and pervert equity?
We in the United States have the privilege of being governed by a system designed to maintain religious freedom. President Lincoln stated in his famous Gettysburg Address during the Civil War, “That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The key phrase in that iconic quote from Lincoln, a president, is, “under God.” We who choose to live under God and be ruled under God must be busy about praying for our leaders and actively engaging in our political process to ensure that the next generation of leaders believe in and abide by the self-evident truths laid out by our founding fathers; “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Determine to pray for your city, state, and national leaders (even if you don’t agree with them). Join with Public Servants’ Prayer to “Bear My name before…kings;” for “He [leader, ruler] is God’s minister to you for good,” (Romans 13:4). To find out more, visit the Public Servants’ Prayer website.
Dr. Mike Hohenstein is a pastor serving at First Baptist Church in Covington, Indiana. An Ohio native, Mike moved to Indiana in 1994 where he met and married his wife Stephanie. They have three children and live in Veedersburg, Indiana where Mike also works part-time as a veterinarian.