Published January 1, 2020
The Kentucky General Assembly's regular session begins Jan. 7. With the election of a new governor and the rising awareness of legislative issues across the state, believers in Kentucky can expect to find many opportunities to pray for the session which lasts until April 15.
Amidst differing opinions, hurt feelings and confused stances, it can be difficult to know how to pray for state government at such a time. However, scripture makes clear the ways that Christ-followers are to intercede for the leaders and institutions God has placed around them.
1. Pray for those in authority
"First and foremost, Kentucky Baptists should pray for our elected officials," states Tom Troth, legislative agent for the KBC. "Paul exhorts us to 'pray … for all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity' in 1 Timothy 2:2.
"Specifically pray for Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman. Pray likewise for Attorney General Daniel Cameron, State Auditor Mike Harmon, Secretary of State Michael Adams, State Treasurer Allison Ball and Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles."
"Pray for wisdom, discernment and courage," says KBC Committee on Public Affairs Chair Jim Ewing. "We're in a culture now with such partisan divides. We want these new folks to be able to step above partisan agendas and be thinking about what's best for Kentucky."
Troth encourages Kentucky Baptists to "pray for (their) elected state representatives and state senators." Ewing added the importance of praying for their families.
If you are unsure of your state representatives or senators, log on to www.lrc.ky.gov.
With the election of a new governor, Todd Gray, Executive Director-Treasurer of the KBC, implores believers across the state to do three things: "Put our confidence where we should put our confidence, agree where we can agree and speak respectfully but clearly on areas where we disagree.
"I would encourage Kentucky Baptists to pray for wisdom (for Beshear) based on James 1:5, 'If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.'"
2. Pray for no gambling expansion
Given Kentucky Baptists' biblical convictions against gambling and the ways it harms the people, Troth encourages to pray no legislation will pass that expands gambling.
"Gambling is predatory in nature, preys on citizens of the commonwealth least likely to afford the loss of revenue and guarantees that those who gamble will lose their resources," observes Troth. "Americans were expected to lose $118 billion in 2018 to government-sanctioned gambling."
A resolution passed at the Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in November 2019 states, "We urge our leaders at all levels of government to end state-sponsored gambling, to curtail all forms of destructive gambling, and to address its harmful effects through policy and legislation." The resolution lists 38 passages of scripture as reasons to oppose gambling from a biblical perspective.
Ewing shares a story from his own ministry that made the harm of gambling even more tangible. "I had a guy stop by the church office. He wanted to talk to a minister because he had just gambled away the mortgage to his home and he was trying to figure out how to go back home and tell his family they no longer had a home.
"The tragedy (of gambling) is just underappreciated. And we usually don't find out about that until after the damage is done."
3. Pray for life
There is deep division between legislators in the state over abortion. There is little doubt legislation will be contested and brought forth on both sides of the aisle during the General Assembly.
"The sanctity of life — the abortion issue — was a very divisive issue this year, as it continues to be in most elections. But I think we need to recognize the abortion issue is not just a matter of choice; it's a matter of recognizing God's position as the Authority over life, as the Creator of life. Whenever we're talking about life, we're talking about beings created in His image," reminds Ewing.
"My daily prayer is for abortion to end, and we should believe that is possible. I pray there is a day when society can look back on abortion as an atrocity," says Gray.
Troth echoes that sentiment. "Pray that the governor and the state senators and representatives will continue to promote a culture of life in General Assembly and the Governor's Office. Great strides have been made in protecting the lives of the unborn. Pray that those efforts continue."
Promoting foster care and adoption are also important aspects of lobbying for life. "Since 2016, the Kentucky General Assembly has made great legislative strides in streamlining the foster care/adoption process in the commonwealth. Many of these legislative initiatives have become national models for other states to emulate.
"Pray that the governor and the General Assembly will continue to strive to make Kentucky the most child-friendly state in the nation when it comes to foster care/adoption," implores Troth.
4. Pray for the budget
Setting an appropriate and working budget is no easy task, notes Troth. "Please pray that the legislators exercise godly wisdom in crafting a budget that will meet the needs of the all the citizens in Kentucky and will utilize the commonwealth's resources in a manner that will allow its citizens to flourish."
Pray for wisdom in being good stewards of state tax dollars while finding realistic solutions to its pension crisis.
Stay informed and engaged in the bigger picture
As you pray through these issues facing the state, it is critical to stay informed, Troth explains. An effective way to do that is through the KBC's online news source, Kentucky Today.
"Kentucky Today allows every Kentucky Baptist to make themselves aware of what's happening in Frankfort and will prepare them to engage, when interests that affect them are coming before the Kentucky General Assembly," adds Troth.
"I am honored to be serving Kentucky Baptists at the General Assembly in Frankfort and would be happy to answer any questions about legislation that is pending before the General Assembly," says Troth.
Ewing encourages Kentucky Baptists to remember the source of their hope. "We need to pray for ourselves and remind ourselves that our welfare and security isn't found in political leaders. Their ideas are good, but we need to remember that it's God that brings people up and sets them down."
Marina Shelton reports for the Western Recorder. She is associate for web and social media communications for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
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