First, it is in order to offer public prayers for "kings, and all that are in authority." The purpose of these petitions is not, however, to address particular difficulties characterizing a certain time. Rather, it is to ensure that believers "may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (1 Tim. 2:2). National turbulence and anarchy are disruptive to the community of believers, requiring more of a defensive posture. However, there is a lot of difference between praying for those in authority and investing assembly time in political issues.
Can you image Paul writing Rome, Corinth, or one of the other assemblies, about social activism? Is there a single word in any Epistle that focuses on a social issue of the day? Surely they did have grave social issues, just as surely as we. Yet, this was never the focus of Apostolic instruction. This hardly indicates that we should avoid involvement in community and national interests. It does mean that this is not to be allowed a place of dominance in our assemblies.
History will confirm that religious bodies that have made social or political change their focus have invariably degenerated. Modernism, the attempt to conform revelation to this world, will ultimately dominate when this emphasis prevails. As a result, the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, eternal glory, and holiness, assume a subordinate role. Any procedure or emphasis that tends to degenerate cannot be proper, and should be intently avoided. We are being changed by the Spirit of God "from glory to glory" (2 Cor. 3:18). Anything in our assemblies that does not contribute to this process, is potentially damaging.