[1 Timothy 2:1-2] says,
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness.”
As Christians, we have a duty to pray for our nation, and for our leaders. The Bible tells us to less the, and to honour them, to pray for, make intercession, and give thanks for them. We are to submit to the authorities on earth, but also submit to and carry out the will of God. Jesus exemplified this in His life, and also told His disciples to “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” – [Luke 20:25]
How do we do this? What if the leaders of our countries do not pursue what we perceive to be the things of God? Consider the following passages:
- [Romans 13:1] – “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and he authorities that exist are appointed by God.”
- [1 Peter 2:13-14,17] – “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the King as supreme, or to governers, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers and for the praise of those who do good… Honour all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”
- [1 Peter 2:11-12] – “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honourable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
These passages show us the mindset we are to adopt as we live on earth, yet as citizens of heaven.
- God has appointed every authority on earth, and He has all authority on earth – over kingdoms, and lords, and every ruling power.
- We are to first fear God, and in obedience to His word, honour all people, honour the king (or president, or prime minister, or boss)
- Yet, we should not give in to sin. Instead, we should live in a way that bears witness of God’s glory.
Practically, this means we do as Jesus taught – to give to “Caesar” what is Caesar’s, to to God what is God’s. “Caesar” in this case, representing the leaders and authorities in our lives.
- Respect and obey our parents
- Work hard in our workplaces
- Pay the taxes that our nation requires
- Follow the laws of the nation as much as they do not compromise on God’s values
- Worship God alone, and fear Him only
- Seek first God’s kingdom, which will give us wisdom and courage to know how to live on earth
As part of this, we need to pray. Christians throughout history have faced much persecution and many have been jailed and martyred. The Roman Emperor Nero, for example, created a nation where Christians were massacred. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into a furnace for refusing to worship the king’s idol. Freedom of speech is threatened today as many Christians, standing for their faith, are unfairly persecuted. How will we lead a “quiet and peaceable life in all godliness” if our nation is so strongly against this? We pray.
We know God is over every authority, and that he hears and answers prayers. The book of Judges is all about God hearing the cries of oppressed Israel, and sending them relief from their oppressors. Acts 12 tells of how Herod persecuted and killed many Christians, and how an angel of the Lord struck him down as he did not give glory to God. King Nebuchadnezzar was removed from his throne and went through a season of wandering and humiliation until he acknowledged God, who then restored his kingdom to him. [Daniel 2:20-21] says:
“… Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.”
God is in control. God is Lord. So, let us trust Him with our nation, let us pray to God for our leaders. Here are some examples:
- Repent for the sins of the nation
[Ezra 10:1-2] – “Now while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping and bowing down before the house of the God, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gather to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly. And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, ‘We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this.”
[Nehemiah 1:5-6] – “… I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned.”
- Intercede for the people
[Daniel 9:15-16, 19] – “And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day – we have sinned, we have done wickedly! O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us … O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”
- Ask for answers
[Daniel 2:16-18] – “So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”
[Esther 4:17] – “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will do to the king which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
- Give thanks to God
[Ezra 7:27-28] – “Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who has put such as thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counsellors, and before all the king’s mighty princes…”
[Daniel 4:34-35] – “… I blessed the Most High and praised and honoured Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, ‘What have you done?'”
One more word of hope, a glimpse of the future from [Revelation 11:15]
“Then the seventh angel sound: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'”