“Righteousness exalts a nation,” says Solomon (Proverbs 14:34). Christians serve as salt for the nation by praying for peace and justice. Of prime concern is that all repent of sin and trust in Christ for forgiveness and salvation. But we also pray for morality. We pray for good order and for qualified leadership. Paul urges prayers for “kings and all in authority” so that in a peaceful society there is free access for the preaching of the gospel (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Could a reason we deal almost daily with added assaults on the morality and teachings of the Bible be a lack of prayers? Are the general prayers in our services seen as a valuable arsenal, or as a traditional time-filler? Imagine what happens when Christians across our country use the mighty power of prayer and seek God’s blessings for our nation, for its officials, and for our own neighbors!
Dr. Luther addressed the subject of good works for Christians in society. He wrote in 1520: “We must take to heart the need of all men, and pray for them in real sympathy and in true faith and trust. . . The Christian church on earth has no greater power or work against everything that may oppose it than common prayer. . . If (the devil) noticed that we wished to practice this prayer, even if it were under a straw roof or pigsty, he would not tolerate it for an instant. He would fear such a pigsty far more than all the high, great, and lovely churches, towers, and bells that ever were, if such prayer were not in them” (LW 44:65-66).
So, we now offer up another petition from our poor pen. We have learned that a judge in the state of Wyoming has been accused of judicial misconduct for stating her religious beliefs. The judicial responsibilities of Judge Ruth Neely, who is an LCMS member in Pinedale, Wyoming, do not allow her to solemnize marriages. Her additional duties as a part-time magistrate do include the ability to solemnize marriages. Even though she has never been asked to perform a same-sex wedding, Neely, a 21-year municipal judge, has let it be known that she cannot perform them because of her Christian belief that marriage is defined by God as between one man one woman. A case has been filed against the judge, pitting the aggressive LGBT advocates against those contending for religious freedom.
Do any who desire to hold public office need to scrap their religious beliefs, particularly when such beliefs are in line with their own state’s constitution, yet deemed unconstitutional on the national level? The LCMS and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty have each filed an amicus brief this past month supporting Judge Neely (lcms.org/board/amicusbriefs). Please pray for Judge Neely. Pray also that hearts are turned to repentance and faith in the One who has given us His own definition of marriage and has even redeemed us with his blood.
A pigsty prayer? Who can know all the power it packs?
J. A. Moldstad