And here it is – election season.
If presidential elections weren’t tumultuous enough, now we have the added benefit of hearing everyone’s political opinion broadcast over social media. I remember being taught that there were two topics people never discussed – religion and politics. How things have changed! My grandmother might be rolling in her grave because today I’m going to talk about those two topics – but not in the way you might expect. Hold on, Grandma.
I know many people who are incredibly disheartened about this year’s election. They are struggling with getting behind either of the front running candidates. It feels like they are picking the lesser of two evils. Whether you feel that way, or whether you feel like your particular candidate is the best thing to ever happen to America, I want to invite you to do something with me – pray for the Nehemiahs.
I make it a habit to pray for President Obama. I pray for him personally, for his family, and one day as I was praying, God told me to “pray for the Nehemiahs”. The funny thing about that instruction? My father-in-law and brother-in-law are both named Nehemiah. But God brought to mind the story of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. If you’re not familiar with the story, Nehemiah, a Jewish man, served as the cup bearer to Artaxerxes, the King of Persia, following the Babylonian Exile. As cup bearer, Nehemiah had access to the King in ways that others did not. God began to stir in Nehemiah’s heart a desire to see the wall of Jerusalem rebuilt. In fact, Scripture tells us that when Nehemiah heard that the wall was broken down, and its gates burned with fire, he sat down and wept. He mourned. He fasted. He prayed. He knew he had to do something.
Because he regularly spent time in the King’s presence, the King noticed something had been troubling Nehemiah and asked him about it. Nehemiah had the opportunity to share his heart with the King, though he admitted being “very much afraid.” The King asked him, “What is it you want?” Nehemiah prayed and then asked the King to send him to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. The King didn’t just agree to send him there – he sent letters with him that would ensure Nehemiah’s safe travel, along with the materials he would need to rebuild the wall.
What does this have to do with our current political season?
Those with political titles are not the only ones with political influence. Yes, we should be praying for the presidential candidates and those who serve as our elected officials. Absolutely. But don’t stop there. Pray for the modern day “cup bearers” as well.
When God prompted my heart to pray for the Nehemiahs, I started praying for the Obamas’ maid. For the President’s driver. For the one who brings their meals. I don’t know their names – but God does. And just like Nehemiah, He may have strategically placed them not in positions of political authority, but of personal influence.
When you find yourself growing frustrated about this election season, pray for those who will serve our newly elected president in those ways. Pray that God would put people like Nehemiah in those positions that have influence on our elected officials every day. And pray that when given the opportunity, God would direct their words to provide wisdom, insight and discernment to those who are in authority.
Should we pray for our elected officials? Absolutely. Should we pray for those who are pursing the office of the presidency? Without a doubt. But I want to ask you to take it one step further – pray for the Nehemiahs.