Pray for those in authority
You may have noticed we’ve had a general election recently. Many of us will have prayed for the right outcome, and thankfully God is infinite in his power and wisdom; his ‘right outcome’ takes little account of whether we’re ardent readers of the Daily Mail or the Guardian. He has eternal purposes which far transcend party politics: and for that we can all be eternally grateful!
But God wants us to pray for our leaders. In 1 Timothy Paul urges us to make ‘petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving… for kings and all those in authority’. The reasons for doing so go beyond the obvious.
Of course we want good governance for our nation. We still enjoy amazing freedom of worship compared with so many nations, but we are all too aware of the way society is nibbling away round the edges of our freedom of belief. Man’s original sin was knowing better than God, and society, without any real understanding of the issues, tells us that some of our beliefs are outdated and no longer acceptable, that we need to adapt to the ways of 21st century society. There are no absolutes any more and for many people any sort of faith is seen as outmoded and irrelevant, overtaken by man’s knowledge and scientific discovery.
So we need Government that is tolerant of beliefs yet at the same time protective of a nation under threat from extremes of belief that are truly unacceptable. That’s a delicate line for Government to tread, especially given the turmoil of beliefs and lack of beliefs that makes up today’s society: regardless of political hue we need to pray for wisdom for the Prime Minister, his cabinet and all our MPs, opposition and Government alike.
But God actually has purposes for good in praying for our leaders even beyond giving them wisdom to govern righteously. Paul goes on to say of his urging of us to pray for our leaders: ‘…that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth’.
We can look at Christians in other lands and maybe feel guilty that we are not being persecuted in the way they are; what right do we have to ‘live peaceful and quiet lives’? Persecution is a very strange thing: down the generations it has only served to strengthen the faith that it seeks to eliminate, and the peace of God comes from acknowledgement that all is in his hands and is working together for his eternal purposes: peace isn’t just a nice, relaxing feeling of relief. But this is a wonderful promise, that by praying for our leaders, we can know peace, quietude, godliness and holiness: and not only does that benefit us, it pleases God our saviour. And through it people will come to be saved.
So regardless of whether you were disappointed or elated by the recent election result, or just totally indifferent to it, now is the time to pray for our new Government; for wisdom in all its dealings in a complex and tumultuous world, for justice in the way it implements its decision (God hates injustice, especially when applied to the most vulnerable in society) and for a spirit of goodness and righteousness to overwhelm our nation.