The Citizen

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” 1 Timothy 2: 1-2
Paul urged Timothy to pray for leaders who exercised authority and jurisdiction over early believers. At first glance it seems to be a noble concept, and worthy of honor. CAUTION: It is not a platitude fit for a throw pillow. It was meant to be an established priority. This call to prayer is the obligation of Christian citizens, but it may be the least obeyed passage of Scripture in the Bible.
Christian citizens in this nation still have the freedom to identify with a political party. It does not relieve them from the obligation to pray for those of the other party. The priority of Scripture is not placed on removing tyrants, by replacing them with Christians. Scripture challenges Christians to intercede for those who are already in authority over them, regardless of how they got there.
Intercession requires regular investments be made into it, before a dividend is received from it. One does not come without the other. Rejecting the priority of the former won’t lead to receiving the benefit of the latter. “…So that we can lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”
“The end justifies the means” is the tyrant’s mantra. It is not the mission statement of a child of God. When fighting tyrants, the Christian citizen is often tempted to compromise their convictions, and “fight fire with fire.” Carrying a torch against a political enemy does not always lead to the shedding of light, but if mishandled it can lead to scorched earth. Christian citizens pray for those in authority, if for no other reason, to avoid becoming like them, or screaming at the TV because of them. Lead a tranquil and quiet life, indeed.
The early church was given little or no choice in the matter of selecting the leaders who reigned over them. Their opinions were considered inconsequential to the monarchs and authorities of their day. Still, they were urged to make intercession for them, not criticism of them, a personal and corporate priority.  That is hard for American Christians to believe, but it must have been even more difficult for those early Christians to do. Mere Christianity always takes sheer courage.
Of Paul’s three Pastoral Epistles, I & II Timothy and Titus, his letter to Titus is his only prayerless one. His words to Timothy are carried over to Titus.
“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.” Titus 3:1-2
Paul’s reminder to Titus did not mention the priority of prayer, but Christian consideration has never been an option for true believers. It is unlikely that Christian consideration will be found in prayerless Christians. Prayer is essential to their strength of character. They were to be subject to and show consideration for their leaders, and for all men.  
It is one thing to endure injustice with a tight-lipped, burning resentment. It is quite another thing to go through it with a prayer on your lips. Pray for leaders who burn you. It enables you to go through the painful experience without letting it turn your soul into scorched earth. It leaves your hands free to strike a match in the darkness, and it keeps your lips free to call on God to bring about the change only He can bring, a Great Awakening.
In spite of their prayers, the early church was not immune from persecution. They were still accused of treasonous behavior by various Roman emperors. When it pleased their constituency to do so, local politicians persecuted Christians to secure their base. Some things never change.
From its first day of birth to the latest breaking news, the church has faced death, mayhem, and destruction. Rather than snuffing out the light of The Father’s love in the world, it has fanned the flame of His love in the hearts of His children.
Christian citizens of the world don’t share the same type of government. They do not live under the same constitutional manuscript, but they all fall under the same divine mandate.
They are first of all and above all, to pray for all those who are in authority, and to give consideration to all men.
The Founders of the American nation broke with a tyrannical king, after years of tedious and fruitless negotiations. After engaging in an armed struggle that lasted seven years, and experimenting with a failed political system for nine years more, the remaining founders established a new governing document. The Constitution elevated the language of liberty and provided an instrument by which the people of this nation could establish a more perfect union.
NOTE TO SELF: Use The Constitution wisely. Protect it as a gift of God. As precious as your nation is to you, your obedience to The Father should never be set aside to participate in the process of exercising your rights as an American citizen. You will find yourself tempted to malign people in authority who have used or abused the powers of their office. Both parties do it. Pray for both, but don’t let either one of them get away with tyranny.  
The Constitution gives you a means to remove tyrants and incompetents. It does not require you become like them. Register to vote, and vote them out of office. Praying for your leaders is at the very least an expression of Christian consideration. It may not do much for them, but it will do wonders for you. Pray for those who are in authority. They need it and you need the practice. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!