I pray for the economy at all times, not just times of crisis, because as Christians we are to wish for and seek the welfare of others. There are few things that have more impact on the welfare of large groups of people, in the physical sense, than the state of the economy. Therefore, I believe that the command to “love your neighbor” implies that we desire, seek, and pray for the welfare of the economy.
A healthy economy serves people in multiple ways. Here are two.
First, it is better for people to be able to work for their living than to have to depend upon others to provide for their needs. For example, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to work with their hands so that they “will not be dependent upon anyone” (1 Thessalonians 4:12; see also 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12).
In addition to this, as Wayne Grudem has pointed out in his book Business to the Glory of God , economic productivity is the only long-term solution to global poverty. We have seen this manifestly demonstrated over the last several hundred years as economic freedom has, through God’s grace, lifted millions out of poverty, and it remains true for the future.
Second, a healthy economy more effectively allows for the wide-scale implementation of proactive initiatives for the good of others. This is where I want to spend my time—focusing on things that do good for people on a large scale, both physically and spiritually. The multi-faceted creative initiatives that are enabled by a healthy economy include both the initiatives of for-profit businesses as well as the social and spiritual good that non-profit organizations are able to do.
It is absolutely true that God does good through times of hardship and not just health. This is not just true, but glorious. Yet this does not give us reason as Christians to be nonchalant about whether hardship comes. We are to guide our actions and desires by God’s will of command, which is to seek our nation’s (and the world’s) welfare, just as God commanded Jeremiah: “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare (Jeremiah 29:7).
Our leaders need extraordinary wisdom as they determine the most effective way to deal with the current tumultuous situation in the financial markets. This weekend is especially significant as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and congress flesh out the details of the bold plan that is needed to end this situation.
Join with me in praying that the Lord would grant accurate and profound wisdom to our leaders to do this successfully—and join with me in continuing to do this at all times no matter what the situation.
I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings [make sure not to forget that!] be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (1 Timothy 2:1-2).