(Editor's Note: This blog was first posted in June of this year. The continuing deterioration of relations with and attacks upon those in law enforcement in many cities and communities prompted the author to add additional information and suggestions about how Christians can help.)
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience (Romans 13:1–5).
One of the toughest jobs in the world is the job of being a police officer or being in law enforcement. It’s a job that requires very skilled and serious training, often involves a lot of danger, and typically does not pay a lot.
On top of all of that, the mental, emotional, and physical requirements of the work, can be very taxing. Their spouses and children often experience extraordinary pressure out of concern for their loved ones on the job.
Police and law enforcement officers are public servants. Yes, of course they are employees but they are also servants. They have to be. There are so many outstanding people – both men and women - who serve in our cities and communities in the field of law enforcement.
Sadly, in our country and current culture, it seems to be a very unpopular line of work to be in the eyes of many people. Too many in our nation seem to feel that they have valid reasons to oppose people in law enforcement.
Those in law enforcement need much prayer today.
We, the church, need to pray fervently for policemen and women and others in law enforcement. They are in great need of prayer and spiritual support all the time, but especially right now. Their jobs are to protect people and often they have to deal with some of the most difficult people in society.
They have to deal with angry people, disturbed people, and people with mental challenges. Often they have to interact with or arrest people who are drunk, high on drugs, depressed, suicidal, and other states of mind that cause people not to be their normal selves.
How do we expect the police to deal with all of that kind of pressure – every day?
They are public servants and serve a vital role in our world. They also serve in a God-ordained position of authority (see the passage above). They are peace officers, and part of their responsibility is to help to keep the peace in society. Tragically, we see the kingdom of darkness vigorously attacking these outstanding people who are truly public servants.
Obviously, you will have some persons in this field who should not be there and whose actions throw a negative shadow on all the others. And yes, there are times in which those in law enforcement do wrong. But by and large, some of the greatest people in the world serve as law enforcement officers. Many of them live every single day sacrificially doing their job and serving the public.
I recall reading not long ago about a police officer who had stopped a young African American man with a child in his car without a child car seat. The man he stopped said he couldn’t afford a car seat right now. The officer, instead of ticketing the man, took him and the child to a local Walmart and bought the man a car seat – out of his own pocket.
This kind of action on the part of law enforcement officers is much more common than most of us realize.
We should always remember that on September 11, 2001, many heroic acts took place. And many of the heroes of that day were police officers, along with firemen and other public servants. Many a police officer ran into the Twin Towers on that historic day who never came back out – alive.
There were great acts of heroism on the part of policemen and women, as well as many others. Yet, dealing with tragedies large and small in our society is part of the job.
Today, there are many voices calling for the elimination of the police. And the reality is that those same people who are calling out for this the loudest probably would not hesitate to call the police if they felt the least bit threatened or in danger in their own neighborhood.
The very idea of eliminating the police is a crazy thought. It’s actually a demonic thought. Yet, it should be expected from the Devil and the kingdom of darkness. Satan would love to eliminate this God-ordained authority that we call law enforcement. If ever this was to happen, he knows exactly the kind of chaos that would quickly follow.
Not only should law enforcement not be eliminated, but they should also receive raises and generally much more support than they presently receive from government and our culture.
The church needs to pray fervently and faithfully for our policemen and women and all others who serve in law enforcement. They are in great need of grace, wisdom, guidance, and protection that only God our heavenly Father can provide for them.
Let’s make it a priority to pray for them every day.
A Prayer for Police and people in Law Enforcement
“Our Father, thank you for the men and women who serve as police officers and in law enforcement. Pour out your grace, mercy, and peace upon those men and women who serve in this role in our community, our city, our state, our nation and in our world.
Give them wisdom, discernment, patience and grace as they work with people, many of whom can so often be difficult to deal with.
Keep them safe from danger, evil and harm. Give them supernatural grace, wisdom, and insight to do their job with excellence, understanding, and efficiency. And give them supernatural protection daily wherever they go.
Thank you Lord, for all of these public servants. In Jesus’s name, Amen.”
How should the church and the community show support for police and persons in law enforcement?
The church of Jesus Christ should take strong, bold leadership in addressing the matter of offering prayer, support, and appreciation of police and others in law enforcement. Again, as alluded to in Romans 13, people in law enforcement hold a God-ordained position of authority in our world. The responsibilities they carry are of tremendous importance to us all.
Here are some suggestions of ways we can support, bless, and encourage people in law enforcement:
- Pray for them every day. Individual believers should make it a priority to pray daily for them to have wisdom, understanding, and skill as they do their work. Pray daily for their protection as they do their job.
- Pray daily for the families of persons in law enforcement.
- Send copies of Psalm 91 prayers to local law enforcement offices.
- Churches could set up a Police and Law enforcement support committee. They could commit to calling the local police and sheriff’s departments and ask for prayer requests weekly.
- Have donuts, cookies, or periodic meals bought and delivered to local police or sheriff’s headquarters weekly. Let them know that churches and people in the community do this to express appreciation for the work that they do.
- Have persons, adults, and youth, to send letters or notes of appreciation to your local police and or sheriff’s headquarters.
- Specifically ask about ways or things churches could do to be more supportive of law enforcement in your community.
- Teach believers to pray for the situation whenever they hear a siren.