"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
I was deeply challenged and convicted by these verses this morning in light of many different recent circumstances, the ways my mind has been traveling lately, and the times we are living in. I had to wonder at how easy we find it to criticize those in authority over us, yet how difficult it is to truly and earnestly pray for them. Church leaders, parental authorities, those in position in government - they are most often the brunt of our sharpest scrutiny and fault finding, and at least in my life, seldom the subject of my earnest petitions.
I had to question why this was. In examining my own heart, the answers weren't pretty. Often hidden at the core of a facade of spiritual discernment is a heart that does not want to submit. It finds fault with those in authority as an excuse not to submit, and therefore provides a comfy cushion around a heart tainted in rebellion. It does not love to pray, because God's Word promises that prayer changes, and deep down inside, my heart wants it's own way. It wants to insist on what it thinks is best, and it does not want to trust that the King's heart is in the hands of the Lord.
Ouch. Sometimes answers aren't very fun. What comfort to know, though, that by God's grace, painful answers change hearts - my heart.