Used at a Bible study for Houston Police Department officers and chaplains.
Talk of defunding the police is foolish in our fallen world. Law enforcement officers are essential for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities. They need our prayers and support!
Most of us are aware that the day-to-day work of law enforcement officers can be full of potential dangers. They can be injured or killed by criminals or in traffic accidents. In the current climate, they are often underappreciated and disrespected. Shift work and stress can contribute to poor sleeping habits and fatigue. Post-traumatic stress from being involved in dangerous incidents and witnessing death and destruction can lead to depression and suicide. So we need to pray for law enforcement officers. Here are some Scriptures to help us do that. These can also be used for firefighters, people in the military, and others in dangerous occupations.
Scripture: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Comments: All Christians are to be peacemakers, not troublemakers, because we serve Jesus, the Prince of Peace. One sheriff’s department in Virginia used to have part of Matthew 5:9 on decals on their patrol cars, but legal concerns caused these to be removed. So Scripture says: “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”1
Law enforcement officers are responsible for stopping conflict and keeping the peace, often at great personal sacrifice (physical safety, mental health, relationships) to themselves and their loved ones. Many officers view their work as a calling, not just a job.
Let’s ask the Lord to help them be faithful peacekeepers and keep them safe today. Ask God to bring wholeness, peace, and security to their families too. Ask the Lord to bring order through law to our city, state, and nation and justice with mercy. God loves cities because there are lots of people in cities and the Lord loves people. Do we reflect God’s heart for cities and our city in particular?
Scripture: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of enemies, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Comments: Officer Rich Emberlin said that courage is when you find yourself running toward trouble, knowing the risks, fearing for your life and the lives of others, and doing it anyway. That’s the job of law enforcement officers: to find the disorder and make it stop. Christ is the best source of strength and courage for officers, their families, and all of us. Jesus’ grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in our weakness. When we are weak, He is strong. So we admit our weakness, so that Christ’s power and peace may rest on us.2
Ask Jesus to be alongside our officers at every traffic stop, on every domestic call, in every split-second decision they have to make today. Ask God to give them wisdom, strength, and courage. Ask the Lord to give the same blessings to their families who carry the heavy burden and privilege of having an officer as a dad, mom, husband, or wife.
Scripture: Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge.
Comments: When the Bible says that God is the rock of refuge, safety, and protection. And He is also the rock of our salvation and Christians’ eternity is secure in Him. Jesus promised, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”3
As more citizens in Texas own and carry handguns, some law enforcement officials worry that this could increase crime and put residents and officers in greater danger. One officer said that the “war” and “battle” in Psalm 144 includes physical issues (exhaustion, age, sickness, and the physical wars and battles they are engaged in) and also spiritual issues.
Let’s ask God to support our officers: loving them, supporting them, training them, giving them all the necessary skills, and shielding them from the danger they face every day. Ask the Lord to be the solid Rock for their spouses and children too.
Scripture: When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.
Comments: God is holy, righteous, and just. It’s part of His unchanging character and He cannot be otherwise. The Bible says: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.”4 The Lord sets the standards for what is right and just and fair behavior. Through the Bible, the Lord cares for vulnerable people, widows, orphans, immigrants, and the poor and needy. He loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we.5 So should law enforcement officers especially.
Let’s ask the Lord to remind our officers that what they do matters to God greatly. In promoting justice they resemble Christ and terrify troublemakers. That is God’s intent! “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”6
Scripture: The one in authority is God’s servant for your good, benefit, and help. And for your righteousness and happiness. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for they do not bear the sword [weapon] for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Comments: This passage sums up much of what law enforcement officers do and their importance to the Lord. They are here to serve God and us, promoting the Lord’s goodness, so we should pray for them. Ask the Lord to make all our citizens honor, respect, trust, help, and cooperate with police officers. Peace in our city happens best when law enforcement and citizens have a good working relationship. Ask God to make and keep our officers trustworthy and to help our citizens trust them.
To be continued
Notes (various translations used): 1 Col 3:16. 2 2 Cor 12:9; Psalm 29:11. 3 John 10:27-28. 4 Psalm 89:14. 5 See more in “What Is Biblical Justice?” by Tim Keller, August 23, 2012, Relevant Magazine. 6 Prov 9:10.
This post is adapted and expanded from Inspiring Scriptures for Police Officers by Leah Everly. Leah has also written The Proverbs 31 Police Wife. Her website is loveandbluesblog.com.