Each week, we turn our focus to praying for a specific person or group of people.
If you missed the original post on effective prayer, read it here.
Effective prayer is a learned habit requiring discipline and diligence. To that end, I am encouraging you to write down the people you are praying for. Part of building and maintaining habits is to have reminders and tracking tools. Making a list isn’t self-righteous or sacreligious. It is a tool. We devote time to counting calories, monitoring money, checking Facebook, making to-do lists–is prayer of lesser importance?
For other posts regarding prayer, click on “prayer” in the categories tab.
Focus for this week: Law Enforcement Officers
Over the past few weeks, we have been praying for specific people in our church, but today I’d like to focus on a group of people—law enforcement officers.
I have heard people pray for the government and “those in power,” but they are typically referring to the law makers. Most people do not pray for law enforcers. The irony is that the politicians have very little to do with the laws once they are made. They make them up and then expect someone else to carry it out. The ones who enforce justice, who carry the “sword” and strike terror into the lawless are the ones we grumble at every day. They are the sheriff deputies, highway patrol officers, local police, border patrol, and NCIS. They are entrusted with authority by the government. Do we pray for them?
The news media has been all over cops lately. They are working to turn society against the very people who are there to protect us. Are all law enforcement officers good? Are all clergy good? Are all business people good? No. In every group on earth, there’s bound to be a bad apple or three. The law enforcement officers are under greater scrutiny, because if they violate the law, then the consequences to the innocent are far more dire.
All the more reason to pray for them.
Read what Paul wrote to the Romans:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
~Romans 13:1-7 ESV
I had planned to do an effective prayer post for our leaders, and I will soon, God permitting. However, in light of the events of the last 12 months, I thought that our law enforcement officers were in the greatest need of prayer. Less than a week ago, two officers were shot in the line of duty. Some officers have made poor choices, others are prosecuted simply for doing their job. Christians should have some sympathy for these people—no matter what they do, someone will say they did it wrong. People are always lying in wait for them to mess up. Sound familiar?
So, what should we ask in our prayers for them?
Pray for them to carry out justice.
“Rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.” Without justice, a society will be overrun with evil. Benjamin Franklin said, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” Justice isn’t always pleasant, but it is necessary to keep order in society. God tells us:
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Pray for them to exercise mercy.
Notice that in Micah 6:8, it says “do justice, love kindness.” The New King James Version uses the word “mercy.” When a cop pulls you over for going 90 mph in a 65 mph zone and lets you off with a warning, that person is showing you mercy. You did wrong, you deserve punishment and you received mercy. Law Enforcement officers have to make those judgements daily. Pray for them to know how to balance justice and mercy.
Pray for them to have integrity.
If all law enforcement officers lacked integrity—as many seem to think—our society would be one huge disaster. We are fortunate that there are still men and women working the beats and borders that have integrity. Mixed in are some who don’t have integrity and they make the rest look bad. The odds of a dishonest person meting out justice and mercy proportionately are slim. It can happen… but do you want to take your chances?
Pray for their protection.
It is not justice to murder one man for the actions of another. Since last year, we’ve seen at least four police officers killed because someone “felt” they were executing justice for the actions of another officer. That isn’t justice, it’s murder. Pray that our law enforcement officers will be protected from mob “justice” and from the dangers that surround them so they can continue to protect the innocent.
Pray for their families.
Cops are people too. It breaks my heart when I see the pictures of weeping spouses, fatherless (or motherless) children, and bereaved parents. It’s a grim reality that the families face every time their husband/wife/father/mother puts on the uniform. They never know when or if they’ll get the call that their loved one has been killed in the line of duty. They never know if their loved one will find themselves in prison for carrying out their duty. The constant threat of death, prison and job loss hang over them and many families crumble under the strain of it. Pray that they will be supportive, loving and faithful and that the Lord will comfort them during the dark times.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2.1-4
Let us pray together to great effect for these men and women so that we may live in peace and dignity.