In 1 Timothy 2:1, Paul instructed Timothy
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings 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. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,
On Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. ET, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two very important cases involving religious liberty and the freedom of conscience. Before the Court are Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.
We are inviting you to join other organizations and churches to encourage people to pray for the Hobby Lobby Case on Tuesday. You can help us spread the word by changing the avatar on your social media accounts and posting with the hashtag #PrayForHobbyLobby.
The owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties believe their religious liberty has been infringed due to the federal government’s “HHS Mandate,” a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires all businesses to provide their employees with access to insurance plans that include contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization.
These requirements conflict with the religious beliefs of many business and organizations, whether for-profit or non-profit, such that they feel they cannot—in good conscience—comply with government law. What’s really at stake is whether an individual can run his or her business according to the principles of their faith.
As Christians who live all of life under the lordship of Jesus Christ, we are compelled to bring our vocations under the direction of our faith. The owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga are making their complaint under the umbrella of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bipartisan law designed to provide extra layers of protection for citizens who believe their religious liberty has been infringed.
This is a supremely important case, and will likely set a precedent for how religious liberty is thought of and prioritized for decades to come. Because religious liberty is a bedrock constitutional principle found in the First Amendment, the integrity of this “first freedom” isn’t limited just to Christians, but to Americans of all faiths.
For that reason, Christians should pray that the outcome of these cases would result favorably toward those who wish to exercise their constitutional right to religious liberty. How should Christians pray? Here is a sample prayer guide:
- God wants people to be free to seek him and to serve him (Acts 17:24-28). Pray for a favorable outcome. The cherished principle of religious freedom should receive the strongest constitutional protection it deserves.
- God is Lord of the conscience, not government (Acts 5:29). Pray that the justices of the Supreme Court will understand the importance of the separation of the state from the church.
- God can give understanding to make sound decisions (Prov. 2:6-8). Pray for those who disagree with us, that God would help them understand and respect the consciences of people of faith.
- God can turn the hearts and minds of the justices to do his will (Prov. 21:1). Pray for the Supreme Court justices, that they would be receptive to the arguments being made passionately before them.
- God can guide the mind and speech (Exod. 4:11-12). Pray for lead attorney, Paul Clement, who will be arguing on behalf of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. Ask God to give him clarity and wisdom, for his arguments to be persuasive, and for God to give him favor before the justices.
Here are some excellent resources:
- Russell Moore's call to pray for Hobby Lobby
- A speech by Russell Moore to the Oklahoma Council of Policy Affairs
- ERLC’s Friend of the Court Brief on Behalf of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood
- The Becket Fund’s “HHS Information Central”
- Russell Moore’s helpful explanation of in a special Questions and Ethics podcast
- A recent oped in support of Hobby Lobby by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California
- LifeWay Rearch on the decline of religious liberty in the U.S.