Yesterday, we focused on increasing our circle of prayer to include our neighbors, the ones who live next door and down our street, and those we may encounter throughout our day. But the Bible also asks us to pray for the broader community around us. Those who live in our orbit but we may not ever meet or talk to in person. This is where the prayers may seem a bit more impersonal but don’t mistake that for them being unimportant.
In his letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul writes:
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. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)
Notice the importance that the Apostle Paul places on praying for those in authority over people. When is the last time you prayed for the Mayor, the Governor, or the President? Is your city council on your prayer list? How about state and congressional office holders? I know, there is a quick objection: “What if I didn’t vote for them?” or “What if I don’t like them?”. I would like to remind you that the kings that the Apostle Paul was asking people to pray for were not even elected and a good number of them were tyrants. And yet, we are urged to petition God on their behalf, pray for them, interceding on their behalf, and GULP…give thanks for them. That may sound a bit difficult. Good. It should. Most commands, especially from God, don’t and shouldn’t come easily. If it were natural it would require the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit of God in your life.
So, how can we pay for our community, state, and nation? It is laid out in the verses above.
- Pray that they would know and love God (because that is what God wants).
- Pray for truth to be evident.
- Pray for peace and quiet!
- Pray for wisdom.
- Pray that policies will align with truth, wisdom, and God.
- Pray for their protection.
Christians, especially in this day of political and social division, do not take this passage of scripture to heart as we should. We complain about the symptoms but we do not pray about the cure. If we made a rule that nobody could post anything negative about a politician until they prayed for them, I think social media might just wither and die altogether.
I don’t always agree with the leaders in positions of authority. My agreement has no bearing on this command. My likes and dislikes don’t either. I am a servant of God, and His word commands me to pray for those in authority. I have a choice. Be a bad citizen of my community, state, and nation along with being a bad citizen of the Kingdom of God or choose to be a good citizen in both. I am challenged to be the latter.
How’s that for a devotional thought a few weeks before an election?