Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. – Romans 13:15.
I urge, then first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. – 1 Timothy 2:1-3
It is wrong for one to rebel or refuse to obey the government’s laws or regulations unless those laws clearly require us to violate the moral standards revealed by God. Wherever we find ourselves, we must be responsible citizens, as well as responsible Christians.
Praying for those in authority over us will also mean that we will watch them closely. If we pray diligently for our leaders, we will be functioning as God’s sentinels.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO PRAY FOR OUR GOVERNMENT?
Bring up politics, and we are likely to get many opinions on topics, issues, and current situations. Turn on the news or look at social media and there are differing and sometimes heated debates over what to believe, how to vote, and who to support—even among Christians.
We are currently living in some of the most turbulent, stressful, and anxiety-filled times any of us have ever experienced. Now more than ever, people are looking for direction. Those in office are navigating situations that few of us have ever had the responsibility of carrying. The higher the tensions, the more controversy it seems there is.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO ASSIST UNITY AND SUPPORT THOSE WE ELECTED TO OFFICE?
We are called to pray for our government and nation. According to the NIV Exhaustive Concordance, variations of the word prayer is used 375 times in the Bible. When Scripture repeats itself, it is to emphasize something or remind us to do something. Prayer is one of the most important things we can do. Through prayer, we get the privilege of communing with God and seeing Him work.
In Scripture, when we are given a command, we are also given a promise. In, 1 Timothy 2:1-3 it says, “I urge, then first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Essentially, by praying for our leaders, God’s word tells us that we will live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. But why is that?
First, our leaders determine how our country will run. The officials we elect directly impact how our lives function. Their reach can stretch from our religious freedoms to our taxes. When our leaders are obeying God’s will, it is easier for us to live peaceful lives. We want our government leaders to be in tune with the Lord, so that they will make the best choices for us.
Additionally, our leaders are under tremendous amounts of pressure and stress due to the responsibility they carry. Under normal circumstances, they have to manage public criticism and crises. Now with the pandemic, everything is more complicated and confusing. They need our prayers.
Scripture tells us, in Mark 12:30-31, that out of all the commandments, there are two most important. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
When we show love to our neighbors, we then reflect the love of the Lord. It is so important that Jesus, Himself, emphasizes it.
HOW SHOULD WE PRAY FOR OUR LEADERS?
How then do we pray for our leaders, and what should we pray for them?
• Pray that if they don’t already know Jesus as their personal Saviour, that they would trust Him for their salvation. “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
• If they are a Christian, pray for them that they will follow closely after Christ, using His discernment and wisdom to guide them in their decisions. “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.” – John 14:15-16
• Ask God to use your leaders in mighty ways for Him. “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. – 1 Timothy 2;1-2
• Pray that they would be strong in adversity and ready to seek wise counsel when uncertain of the right decision. “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.” – Psalm 27:1-2
• Pray that they would have empathy and compassion for those who are hurting. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2
• Pray for their families and their health as you do your own family’s needs. “I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 1:2
• Pray for God’s will to be done through your leader. “For with God nothing [is or ever] shall be impossible.” – Luke 1:37 (AMP)
Finally, remember that prayer is our way of communicating with our Creator. He is our Father, and we are His children. He hears our cries, just like we do those of our children. As a parent, when our child cries, they immediately get our attention. As flawed, imperfect humans, we want to help. How much more then will the perfect God of the universe have compassion on us? Our helplessness reminds us that we do not have control. When we acknowledge that lack of control in prayer, we open the door to see God work!
Today, will you invite God to move in the lives of your leaders, trusting Him for the outcome?
________________________________________Pray this week:
Heavenly Father, You, alone control all things. I will trust you in all areas of my life, remembering to pray for those who you have placed in leadership over me. Amen.
Source: Culled from the book ‘Issues Facing Christians Today’ by John Scott.
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