When we have a good and well-balanced understanding of authority, we can actually empower those who occupy a position of authority to function better. For example, as Christians, we are taught to honour our fathers and mothers that it may go well with us (Ex. 20:12). In other words, there are potentials of God’s blessings through obedience to the legitimate authorities in our lives.
A key word for any communications with those in a position of authority, is honour. We are to honour and respect the position they hold and to do our best to honour the person. We need to communicate with these individuals in a friendly and hospitable manner, even if we ardently disagree with some of their policies.
Pursuing God-given opportunities to these leaders is so important. In our experience in Ottawa, we have had many MP’s tell us that it is very seldom that they ever receive a card or email of encouragement.
When you are able to meet with a local politician, be content with whatever time designation they give. Remember that these individuals usually have extremely busy lives and we must respect this. One man, whom I walk with, asks to meet with the mayor every quarter, which I feel is an excellent example.
Shining a searchlight on our reasons in trying to cultivate communication with a local politician is important. Are our motives pure? No one likes an opportunist and too often leaders are faced with people who are trying to use them for personal gain or recognition.
- Are my motives personal?
- Is there anything in me that craves attention or the praise of man? (Matt. 6:1)
- How do I react to a person of influence? Are there any negative reactions in me?
- Am I willing to be one who does not mind being in the background?
All of the above will have a direct affect in how you relate to those in a position of authority. An experienced leader will discern the genuine over the artificial and the false. We cannot properly receive from a leader, if we are drawn to that person’s power, or we are in competition or envy of their position, (see James 3:13-16).
Your example of being a servant will help to empower leaders to serve, which is the main reason God has put them in leadership. (see Rom. 13:4. “servant”) As they serve, a leader builds influence in the community which can become an important example to his or her peers who are also in a position of authority. Therefore, it is not good enough to say that you’ll pray for a leader and leave it at that. Our willingness to pray should be backed up by being available to serve. James tells us that faith without works is a dead faith and therefore, if we want to truly have a voice in the community, then we must be prepared to earn that right through actively serving. (See Jam. 2:14-17)
Practical steps to consider:
- Respect a leader’s time; always err on shorter appointments, (usually 15 – 20 minutes).
- During an appointment, ask how you can pray for them for any challenges they may face or needs of the community. Have a pad of paper handy and jot down any needs.
- Do not offer any suggestions unless you are directly asked. Guard your tongue and do not be aggressive in giving your opinions.
- Always emphasize your continued support.
- Be open and natural with your faith, but be wise. Don’t force an appointment to become an opportunity to evangelize. Let the leader take the initiative to ask about your faith.
- Be content with slow progress; continue to be faithful; be consistent in prayer.
Hosting an Annual Community Prayer Breakfast
This is a strategic time for clergy and local Christians to connect with local politicians, first responders, and other essential individuals in your community. Extend an invitation to your mayor, provincial MLA, and possibly your federal Member of Parliament to such an event. Over the years, we have gleaned some effective guidelines on how to host a successful prayer breakfast that we will feature in future editions.
If you would be interested in one of our team coming and sharing at an event like this, we would be more than happy to hear from you.
This may seem obvious, but it is crucial. We cannot even imagine all the reasons that God may want us to meet with a local leader or politician. 1Timothy 2:1-4 emphasizes the importance of doing so.
- Pray that they will be men and women of integrity and courage to stand up for what is right. (Proverbs 29:27)
- That they would be known for their humility, which invites God’s great grace and protects them from pride. (James 4:6)
- For wise and godly counselors to help them reach their full potential. (Proverbs 11:14)
- That the motives behind any decision would not feed selfish ambition but will be for the good of the community. (Proverbs 20:28)
- That they would be encouraged to live a lifestyle that promotes good health and endurance. (1 Corinthians 9:24)
- May they pursue meaningful time with their family, which brings stability at home and at work. (Psalm 128)
- That there would be a culture of co-operation and honour within all their colleagues. (Micah 6:8)