Do We Really Have to Pray for Democrats?

By Bunni Pounds Published on November 29, 2023

Disclaimer: At Christians Engaged, the ministry that I lead, we minister to all Americans and encourage them to get involved in all political parties. We believe the Church working in all places can change hearts, minds, and party platforms. This article is written from my point of view as someone who spent sixteen years as an activist and political consultant working for Members of Congress in the Republican Party, and how God has been breaking me free from a partisan mindset over the last four years.

Several months ago, I was on a national broadcast show which had a call-in segment at the end. To be clear, it was a Christian teaching show — not a political or conservative talk show — which deals with the news of the day from a biblical perspective.

After sharing my story of being involved in politics as a Republican political consultant for over sixteen years, and about how we at Christians Engaged educate and empower the Body of Christ to take action from a non-partisan perspective, the phone lines were opened.

Don’t Want to Pray for Biden and Pelosi? The Bible Has Something To Say About It

We received our first caller, and he was frustrated. “I’m not praying for the Schumers, Bidens, and Pelosis of the world.” He knew in his heart that he was off-base because he asked the question after a minute of ranting — “Am I alright? Am I in the right space here?”

I started in on 1 Timothy 2:1-4 — a Bible passage that I know well and teach on in some way in every speech I make.

Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The host and I laid out the fact that the apostle Paul is exhorting us in this passage to pray for all men and “kings” in authority, regardless of whether we think they are promoting good or evil.

Remember that Paul was living in a time much different to modern America. The Roman Empire had control over most of the places where he went, and they were not treating Christians particularly well.

We talked about how we are exhorted to pray for those in authority so that we “may lead a quiet and peaceable life,” and that it pleases God when we intercede for our leaders because God ultimately desires “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Bringing it back to the context of America, when freedom and prosperity are created and sustained, this leads to more propagation of the gospel around the world.

How Do We “Pray for Evil Politicians”? A Personal Story

We moved on to more callers, one of whom had a surprisingly similar sentiment — how do we “pray for evil politicians?”

At that point I shared a story from my upcoming book — Jesus and Politics — where I had to work through personal pain and perceived “injustice” following my race for Congress in 2018. After I didn’t win, I found out that my opponent’s consultants had floated all his invoices during our Republican runoff and didn’t bill him until after he won. (This allowed him to not have to spend the time raising the money during the runoff like I did, allowed more time for campaigning in the neck-and-neck race and to be floated to victory by his consultants.)

Even though I had out-raised him by over $200,000, I still couldn’t win because of this unfortunate legal tactic, which felt to me like an unjust loophole. To overcome my anger and bitterness, I had to confront it head-on over a year later.

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After many hours of prayer for my opponent and his family, I felt led by God to ask my new Member of Congress if I could host a fundraising party for him to help pay off the rest of his campaign debt from our race. That exercise of obedience — voluntarily raising $35,000 for his campaign — set my heart free.

Though I would never describe my former opponent-turned-friend as an “evil politician,” as I shared the story that day on the broadcast, the host was deeply moved. We went on to discuss how we deal with people throughout the political movements and the need to watch our hearts. There is ongoing conflict in politics. Even within the same political party there are those with similar beliefs to us, but who use different tactics. This causes conflict. And we also wonder if we have anything in common at all with those from the opposite party.

The Toxins of Politics, The Humanity of Politicians

For years I have watched the cancers of bitterness, anger, fear, and unforgiveness overtake the hearts of strong believers who get politically involved. Because politics is generally driven by fear and anger (especially within campaigns), these toxins drive a huge wedge between Americans, even neighbors and family members. Often today, we judge the motivations of others and think they are trying to “destroy America” or “destroy our children’s future.” It is subtle how these attitudes can take over our perspective and cloud our judgements.

I have heard new Republican Members of Congress comment about how surprised they are to find out that a Democrat Member who is vilified continually by the conservative press, is actually a kind and caring person with a sincere love for our nation. The new Members then conclude that, though their colleagues are sincere, from their point of view on policy positions, their opponents are sincerely wrong. A perspective shift happens when they see them as another human being and fellow leader, when they realize they are not just a caricature from a meme or a television ad. They come to realize that the Democrat Member is a person who genuinely wants to serve their nation and stand up for the things that they believe in. They come to see their humanity and they connect with them as a colleague and as a fellow parent, grandparent, or business owner.

If they are strong believers operating in government, their desire is not to oppose their colleagues on the other side of an issue personally out of bitterness, anger, fear, or unforgiveness — but instead oppose evil policies in love. Because they love people and want citizens to “rejoice” because of righteousness being upheld, not “to mourn” — they stand up for truth. (Proverbs 29:2)

Too often we see people through the anger that the news media formulates instead of through our shared humanity. God loves all our leaders whether they have an R or a D behind their names, and He finds it “good and acceptable” when we pray for all of them regardless of their political affiliation.

After my heartfelt story on the broadcast, we got a call from a lady who exhorted everyone to pray the Word of God over all our leaders. We realized that we had obviously hit a nerve in the discussion, and I was encouraged that teaching on the power of prayer had made an impact.

After a God Encounter With a High-Flying Democrat: “Is God Not Big Enough?”

I had just finished five rounds of edits to my book, which has a story in it that I had never shared previously: after a dramatic dream, I had a divine appointment with a high-profile Democrat politician who at the time was running against our Texas governor. That encounter radically changed my perspective and my life. (If you want to hear my tear-filled presentation of the story, it is at the end of my message, “Who Will Lift Up a Standard?”, or you can pre-order my book, which details it out in a chapter called “Prejudices on the Right and on the Left”).

I was meditating on how God had changed my heart through that encounter and how I could honestly now stand before people in churches around the nation and say boldly with conviction, “We need to pray continually for ALL our elected officials regardless of their political parties. It truly makes a difference. As we pray, vote, and engage in obedience, God will impact America.”

Reflecting on that encounter, but not wanting to share it publicly yet, I asked during the broadcast at some point, “Is our God not big enough?” It was a simple question that had never popped into my heart in that context before.

Is God big enough to reach the heart of an elected official that we perceive as antithetically against so much of what we believe?

Is God big enough to work through them for our good?

Is God big enough to give them wisdom for defending our nation, standing up for our allies, and providing strategies to hold us together as Americans, even if they are not from the party that we identify with?

Are we going to take the exhortation of 1 Timothy 2 and apply it to all our leaders in obedience, throwing off the shackles of bitterness, anger, fear, and unforgiveness?

That question — is God big enough? — is being presented to us all today. Do we really believe our prayers shift history?

Every prayer that we speak is heard by God and every prayer, where we partner with Him for His will, impacts the hearts of men.

The truth is that praying for both Democrats and Republicans opens the floodgates of the Holy Spirit to work in our land and our leaders. Believe me — both camps need the Lord and need His wisdom. No party or leader has the corner on truth without the Word of God.

John 16:24 — Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

Proverbs 21:1 — “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

 

Bunni Pounds is president and founder of Christians Engaged — a ministry activating the Body of Christ to pray, vote, and engage regularly. Formerly a congressional candidate and 16-year political consultant, she is a motivational speaker and Bible teacher.

Her book – Jesus and Politics: One Woman’s Walk with God in a Mudslinging Profession comes out nationally on 2/6/24. Read all the endorsements and pre-order it now.

Bunni is also the host of “Conversations With Christians Engaged,” seen here on The Stream each week — a podcast dedicated to helping believers continue walking in faith while navigating the muddy ways of politics and culture. Connect with her on Facebook @bunnipoundsTX, X — formerly known as Twitter @bunnipounds, or Instagram @bunnipounds.

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