The Desire

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers and petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:1-4
I tend to lose my grip on this verse of Scripture when reading Facebook posts of my Christian friends, and listening to the talking heads on TV. While they attempt to boost ratings to keep their jobs, they raise my blood pressure, and make me want to drive my car into a tree.
Apparently, some things never change. The following words are a blast from the past, but they are as accurate as the latest Tweet.
“National leaders, particularly in these critical days, need to be upheld by our prayers. Paul never forgot that he was a citizen of the world, and that citizenship, like every other privilege, imposed responsibilities. The scope of intercession is universal. References like Ezra 6:10 and Jeremiah 29:7 are associated with prayers for heathen rulers. How much more should we pray for nominal or actual Christian rulers.” Dr. Herbert Lockyer, 1886-1984, English preacher, and author who pastored in England, Scotland and the United States
My wife, Dana, and I selected the passage listed above as our Verse for The Year in 2011. I should have held onto it a lot longer. Every year, I seem to need it more than ever before. Can I get a witness?
This nation’s never-ending political trauma and drama, and the international persecution of Christians have brought me back to it. I admit and repent of the sin of prayerlessness on behalf of my national leaders and my fellow international believers. I may not be alone, but I only speak for myself. I have wronged them, and sinned against God. I am forgiven and driven to intercede for them.
Prayer, as Jesus expressed it, was a yielding of His will to The Father’s will.  He prayed honestly enough to express His desire, but long enough for His desire to become aligned with The Desire of His Father. I can pray no better, and I should pray no less.
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me, yet not My will, but yours be done.” Jesus – Luke 22:42
Recently, I heard a friend of mine describe a powerful moment he experienced while sharing a meal in the home of Romanian Christians. They offered him an opportunity to drink from “The Martyr’s Cup.” It was a teacup once held in the hands of a fellow believer shortly before he was martyred for his faith, at the hands of the Communist government. They had given the cup a place of honor in their home. They only took it down to use it on special occasions. My friend described a sacred and symbolic moment when he was honored and humbled to be invited to touch the cup, and to drink from it.  
Removal of corrupt leaders from office is not always the remedy The Father has in mind when He hears the prayers of His children. The early church survived the Roman emperors not by voting them out of office, but by dying in front of them in the coliseums. God’s remedy was not a relief from persecution, but a platform for their witness of Christ’ love.
Eventually the word for witness became synonymous with the word for martyr. Scripture says, “God desires for all men to be saved.” The Father’s strategy for world evangelization includes a martyr’s cup and is often hard to swallow. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid of  easy believe-ism and cheap grace.
Buying into The Desire for people to be saved comes with a price. God’s value system is not the same as mine. Some things are worse than death. Dying with a living faith is worthy of His honor. Living with a dead faith, is worthy of His judgment. God places a high value on praying for leaders to have a change of heart. Don’t change the price tags. Start praying for change.
Some Christians speak of their leaders, both pastoral and political as if they think the Bible says, “God desires for all men to be scathed, not saved.”  But I digress.
The Desire of God is for people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. His plan for seeing this accomplished involves calling His people to pray for their leaders. People who refuse to pray for their leaders are not likely to lead a peaceful and tranquil life.
Note to Self: Dismissing The Desire of God doesn’t lead you anywhere you want to go. There is a difference between praying for your leaders and scathing them. When you don’t pray for them, you betray God, not them. God has placed them in your path, and in authority. You don’t have to vote for them. You just have to pray for them. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!