I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, - 1Timothy 2: 1-3 (NLT) Barack Obama was sworn in yesterday for his second term and President of the United States of America. One of the most polarizing things for our society has always been politics. Nothing divides people quicker and sets them against each other with more anger and derision. Ironically, the other thing that the world says makes for bad conversation is religion. It is no wonder then that politics within the arena of religion has proven even more divisive than nearly any other topic. The greatest problem within this division is the assumption of righteousness within a carnal argument. When we seek righteousness within the systems of this world we will always be left disappointed. There are however guidelines God has left us within His Word for what our proper role is as believers in Christ. It always starts with the understanding that nothing catches God by surprise and God will use all things and all people for His glory. He said, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. – Daniel 2: 20-21 (NLT) So this may come as unwanted news but the truth is that God controls all world events and sets up who He wishes to be in power. Thus the fact is that President Obama is God’s choice at this time, as were President Bush before him and Clinton before that. Please note that this does not mean that those elected will carry out the will of God but rather that God will use who He places in power to carry out His plan. The second and more crucial understanding we need to grasp today is that the battle we engage in is not carnal in nature at all – that is for the world. Our battle is in the spiritual realm. It is within the spiritual realm that Christians need to be working for the will of God to be carried out. We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. – 2Corinthians 2: 3-4 (NLT) The church too often is trying to wield carnal weapons in a spiritual war. The key verses today spell out very clearly for us what our role and responsibility is. That responsibility starts with and ends with – prayer. It is interesting that the Apostle Paul starts by saying we are supposed to be praying for all people. Now I do not know if he literally meant every person on the planet as much as he meant that there is no person that is beyond the needs of our prayer. I remember when President Obama was first elected. One of the more hardcore Christians I knew literally said that he would not pray for him and I thought that was odd since the above verses make it clear we are to pray for him! The panic some Christians express when their candidate does not get into office is often mind-blowing to me. It is as if they are saying that the person elected is somehow beyond the power of God! Beloved, no one is beyond the power of God or the power of prayer. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. – James 5: 16 (NLT) Next in the key verses we see Paul say that we should pray that God helps them! Look, God understands that not everyone is on the right page. Not this president, not the last president, and not the next president. Not me – not you – not the person next to you. We all have fallen short. We all can use the help of God in our lives. God is teaching us here to be intercessors in our prayer life. Modern prayer has devolved into a whine list of personal needs because that is what we are taught within the “bless me” theologies that permeate the modern church. When you are constantly taught that God wants to bless you and that you deserved to be blessed, it is no wonder that when it comes to prayer we will find ourselves at the center of attention too often. God is saying here that we ought to be praying for others and even more than praying – praying while giving thanks for them! The sad truth is we do not appreciate the people God puts in our lives enough. Thanking God for them adds value to them in our hearts. So God has given us the outline now. We are to pray, for everyone, that God will help them, and with thanksgiving for them. Now Paul says apply that outline first to all those in positions of authority. This is not about praying for the agenda of the president to be successful. This is not even about trying to evaluate if his agenda has any righteousness at all. It is about praying that God’s agenda is accomplished through the people that are placed over us in authority. Why? Besides the fact that it is good and pleases God – He gives is the specifics as well. This outline for prayer is how we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. Not necessarily that the leaders will all of a sudden do the righteous thing. No beloved, the point is that we will not find ourselves in the middle of contentious and pointless arguments about our leaders if we instead are operating in the spirit realm on their behalf. While others are shouting at each other, our lives will be marked by peace and quiet. It is our faith that understands that no leader is beyond God. The Nebuchadnezzars of time are mere footnotes in the grand story God is writing. We will not find ourselves losing our dignity while others squabble over carnal arguments while grasping for a thread of righteousness that is simply not there. Pray for President Obama. Pray for his family. Pray that God accomplishes His will through him. Intercede for him. Give thanks for him. The same goes for our leaders in Congress and local politicians as well. It also goes for anyone in any position of authority. I remember at work years ago I had someone from the government who I simply was not getting along with. It was not until I started to pray for her that I saw things change. They changed first in me. I started to look at her as someone I needed to intercede for, not as an enemy. Eventually, God removed her entirely from my sphere of contact. The battles we face are not in the world; they are in the spirit realm. They can only be won in the spirit realm. Amen. Rev. Anthony.