As two recent articles in this newspaper reported, the United States government, in both executive and legislative branches, has been rocked by scandal, charges, countercharges, and more than the whiff of bribery, while the Canadian government has just fallen to a no-confidence vote brought about by similar charges of corruption ("Ethics cloud grows wider over GOP," and "Canadians face bitter vote," Nov. 30).
It's normal for citizens to expect honesty, faithfulness, and credibility in their governments, yet too often elected officials succumb to the temptations of greed and fail in their trust. We don't have to wait for investigative reporters or the political opposition to root out and expose corruption, however. Prayer can help.
The prayer of affirmation of God's continuing presence and guidance in our lives is not partisan; it doesn't support one political ideology over another. Rather, it affirms that God is in control and guides our leaders. This prayer isn't conservative or liberal, Republican or Democratic. It embraces all in the conscious understanding that God's government includes all of us.
In thinking about the current media reports in the US of the uncovering of corruption, and charges that wrongdoing may be found extending to high levels of government, I found counsel in a short work by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper. At the time of the Spanish-American War, she wrote, "Pray that the divine presence may still guide and bless our chief magistrate, those associated with his executive trust, and our national judiciary; give to our congress wisdom, and uphold our nation with the right arm of His righteousness" ("Christian Science versus Pantheism," p. 14).
This prayer is universal. It isn't specifically pro-administration or confined exclusively to the US. It can be applied to developed and developing countries alike. Whether we are affiliated with the ruling political party or not, we can pray that our political leaders and elected officials be guided and blessed.
Even if we consider ourselves part of the political opposition, this prayer lifts us from partisan politics to supporting the greater good. It allows for, and encourages, the natural exposure and denunciation of wrongdoing. It can also help contribute to the general moral climate of a nation, so that a weak individual can find the moral fiber to do right, and that as citizens we don't become apathetic.
This activity is our response to the Christ coming to our thinking, as it so naturally does, lifting our thoughts from the cynical - and as a resident of Washington, D.C., I certainly know about cynicism.
The Christ is that divine activity that shakes us, sometimes to the core, with the truth that God made us perfect and pronounced us "very good," as the first chapter of Genesis says. It's inevitable that we respond to the touch of the Christ, Truth.
We might be led to pray to see more evidence of God's government, or we may be led into some inspired activism in our community. This prayer establishes that God speaks to receptive hearts across the political spectrum, and that we are neither overly concerned with nor overly gloating about the uncovering of corruption, but rejoicing that we are in fact witnessing God's establishment of a righteous government, little by little.
I exhort therefore, that, first
of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
I Timothy 2:1, 2