A Prayer for Cultural Engagement and Doing Good
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 Pet. 2:13-17
Dear Lord Jesus, what but power of grace can explain the change in Peter’s life? The same disciple who frantically tried to protect you from being arrested by severing the ear of the high priest’s servant (John 18:10-11); the same disciple who then fled into the night and denied you three times out of fear—this same disciple exhorts us to fear only God, and to live as model citizens in our broken world filled with broken kings, governors, and authorities. What but the gospel can explain his movement from fear and frenzy, to faith and freedom?
And who but you, Jesus, who reattached Malchus’s ear to his head (Luke 22:51); who but you, who could’ve dispatched “more than twelve legions of angels” (Matt. 26:53); who but you can give us the freedom and courage we need to “silence the ignorance of foolish people” (1 Pet. 2:15) as we live to your glory in our cities?
Though your kingdom is “not of this world” (John 18:36), your kingdom reign has been inaugurated in this world and one day will utterly transform this very world (Rev. 21:1-5). It’s not “all gonna to burn” it’s all going to be purified and made new. Because this is true, Lord Jesus, keep me free from both cultural disengagement and naïve absorption in the culture.
Very practically, show me what “obeying God and not men” looks like, when the claims of your kingdom clash with the values of this world. How do I submit to the authorities for your sake, while primarily only bowing my knee and heart to you as my King?
Please, Lord Jesus, may I only suffer for doing good—not for being fearful, obnoxious, or paranoid. May I be busy with your kingdom and not simply be a busybody (2 Thess. 3:11). Keep changing me the way you changed Peter. So very Amen I pray, in your most glorious and loving name.