By Bill Muehlenberg, Australian Commentator, Apologist and Ethicist.

Having had a breakfast with a terrific Christian politician this morning, I was reminded once again of several truths. One, we need to keep these warriors in our prayers. Two, we need to regularly encourage them. Three, we should build relationships with our local members, be they Christian or not. The small but important group of Christian MPs and politicians who serve in state and federal parliaments and assemblies are doing a terrific job, and certainly find themselves up against it. In many ways they have been thrown in the lions’ den, and they are certainly not having things easy there.

To the extent that they are bold about their convictions and forthright about their faith, they receive heaps of flak. They often meet with hostile colleagues, a hostile media, and hostile members of the electorate. They can so easily be discouraged and bummed out. Yet as I find time and time again when I meet with these Christian politicians, they seldom hear from other Christians. And they seldom receive any praise and encouragement from Christians. If they do hear from fellow Christians at all, it is only to get blasted and criticised about something.

Given how hard their job is, and given how little affirmation and positive feedback they get from churches and other believers, no wonder so many are overwhelmed, discouraged, and ready to give it up. Indeed, many do quit, since they never hear anything but complaints, and are left with the strong impression that they are really just wasting their time. So if you are a believer, and if you have a Christian politician representing you in your electorate, or know of other Christian MPs elsewhere, please, I beg of you, keep them in your prayers. They so very much need it. It most certainly is a case of heavy duty spiritual warfare going on there, and they really need your prayer cover.

And please get in touch with them as well. Send them an email, give them a phone call, or write them a letter, and tell them you are praying for them and that you do indeed support them. Better yet, make an appointment with them. They don’t like being stuck in their stuffy offices all day. So offer to take them out for a cup of coffee or something similar. Give them a nice 15-minute break, some nice coffee, and a few words of encouragement and support. Pray beforehand about a passage of Scripture you might share with them. Offer to pray for them then and there if they are willing. I have done this a number of times over the years, even in crowded cafes or restaurants.

And guess what, you can even ask non-Christian MPs if there is anything you can pray for them about. I have yet to have even non-Christian politicians refuse an offer of prayer. And it need not be prayer about their political life; maybe they have some issues in their personal life or home life that needs prayer. And all Christians should make such contact with their local representatives, whether believers or not. They are after all there to represent you. That is what they are getting paid for – and with your tax dollars. So make a point of getting to know those who are politicians in your electorate.

Take them out for a coffee for the simple reason of getting to know them. Later meetings with them can be used to encourage them to vote the right way on various issues. But just getting to know them and establish a relationship with them is a good place to start.  All politicians can live lonely and discouraging lives, so simply befriending a few and letting them know you are thinking of them and praying for them can be a real boost. Many politicians simply quit in despair and frustration, and some may even seek to take their own life. So whatever their faith commitment, you as a believer can have a real positive and valuable ministry in just befriending them and keeping in touch with them.

And of course to help them to represent your values and principles when bills are being voted on or legislation is being debated is important as well. The truth is, those on the other side of the political fence are doing this all the time. They are visiting MPs, lobbying them, sending them material, and urging them to vote their way. Why in the world are Christians not doing this? Why are they not taking their concerns to their MPs as well? We have as much right as anyone else to share our concerns, promote our values, and seek for legislation which promotes our beliefs and interests. We dare not leave such concerns to the handful of religious lobby groups which are out there.

We all have a role to play here. After all, we are all in electorates, we all have political representatives, and we all have a biblical mandate to be salt and light, and to work for righteousness in the public arena. So please, stop thinking someone else can or should do this. You need to do it. So if you do not know who your local members are in both the state and federal parliaments, find out now, and start praying for them. Then make an appointment with them, and have a friendly chat with them over a coffee or dessert. Get to know them, establish a relationship with them, and let them know you think about them and pray for them.

And especially if your member is a believer, you need to encourage them, bless them and uplift them in prayer. You may never know how important this is and how beneficial this will be. Christian politicians are starving for support, encouragement, prayer, and Christian concern. Will you be the means by which they are reinvigorated and emboldened to continue in their good work? Or will your apathy, indifference and lack of biblical stewardship here result in them simply giving up, becoming another casualty of the system, or of in fact defecting to the other side?  The choice is yours my friend.

Source: Bill Muehlenberg – Culture Watch