As new members of the U.S. Congress step into roles as policy makers, advocates, and national leaders, it is important to take a look at their faith and pray for them in these new positions. It matters who governs. As Christians, we cannot take lightly our call to pray for them.
According to the Pew Research Center, those who affiliate or identify with the Christian faith compose 88.2% of Congress in 2019-2020. This number has dropped from the 115th congress, which was reportedly 91% Christian, but 88% is still an overwhelming majority.
The national media has focused on the record amount of diversity in Congress, and this diversity is truly encouraging. There are more women and minorities in Congress than ever before, reflecting the nation’s changing demographics. But when it comes to religion, those who identify as Christians remain a majority (another Pew study on religious landscape found that America is still around 70% Christian).
Pew headlined the data, “Christians Overrepresented in Congress,” which implies that this is a problem to be fixed. But as Christians, the greatest thing we can hope for is that our law and policy makers know Jesus Christ and use their position to glorify Him and do good in the world. America needs leaders who follow the humble example of Christ, know that they are saved by grace (Ephesians 2) and obey the call to do justly and love mercy (Micah 6:8). The fact that there are so many Christians who are elected to Congress reveals how a majority of Americans trust these representatives to live out Christian values and practices in their roles in government.
There is no doubt that these Members of Congress will be challenged greatly in the next two years. The current partisanship and bitter passions that people show towards the other party are brutal. Not a day goes by where people are not criticizing one another and attacking each other’s ideas.
We should pray that Christian leaders stand firm in the face of opposition. Author and Pastor John Piper writes about leadership, “There will be many days when the temptation is very strong to quit because of unappreciative people. Criticism is one of Satan’s favorite weapons to try to get effective Christian leaders to throw in the towel.” Americans can be especially hostile and untrusting towards those in government positions, no matter the political affiliation. But these men and women play an incredibly important role in our lives. According to Romans 13, they are God’s servants for our good (Romans 13:4) and we should be encouraged by the number of people who have chosen not to give up on the opportunity to serve in our government.
One of the beauties of the Christian faith is that we know the Lord is sovereign. We trust the Lord with those who are in Congress and believe that He is at work through them. Again, Romans 13:1 reminds us that “there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Christians can rest in the sovereignty of God over all circumstances, even in those who are elected to government positions. We can pray that these Christian congressional leaders are “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord [their] labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
As politics changes and new faces enter the government and others leave, I hope that as Christians, we will pray for members of Congress to be not only the leaders of our society, but also gentle and humble spiritual leaders as well.
Christ remains at work in our nation and in our government. As 535 men and women begin a new term, pray that the policies enacted by the 116th congress will truly glorify the Lord and make his name known in our country and in the world at large.