Praying For Governments

(1 Timothy 2:1-4 NRSV) First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, {2} for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. {3} This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, {4} who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

[IMAGE] There are five reasons given here for praying for governments:
  1. That Christians may lead a quiet and peaceable life.
  2. That Christians may be able to have godliness and dignity
  3. It is right and acceptable in God's eyes.
  4. That people may be able to be saved.
  5. That people may be able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

When governments are favourable to Christianity as they are in the Pacific Island nations of Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, and Papua New Guinea the Christians are able to live quite and peaceable lives, their pursuit of godliness is respected and they are not humiliated in anyway for their faith. They can have dignity. God sees this as good and acceptable.. In these countries it is easy to spread the gospel and for people to come to know the truth about God, themselves and the world around them. Substantial nation-wide or city-wide revivals are reasonably common.

In contrast Albania was, for many years, the most atheistic and anti-Christian country on earth. Christians were actively persecuted and humiliated, they could not pursue godliness, live in dignity or spread the gospel. Albanians did not come to a knowledge of the truth about God themselves or the world around them. This situation is not God's will. A whole generation of Albanians did not receive salvation as a result. The country is now as economically bankrupt as it was spiritually bankrupt.

The difference between Albania and Tonga is the difference that intercessory prayer can make to a nation. The Pacific Island nations were founded on missionary effort and have active prayer groups praying for their government. In Papua New Guinea "Operation Brukim Skru" (Operation Bended Knee) has 100,000 people praying for the PNG government (out of a population of only 3.5 million). Wherever you are in the world you can transform your nation through prayer.

How To Pray For Your Government

Lets look at David's prayer for the government of his newly crowned son - Solomon.

  • (Psalms 72 NRSV) Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king's son. {2} May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. Pray that the government will be just and that it will be given discernment of right and wrong that comes from God.
  • {3} May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness. Pray that the government may have a prosperity that reaches "the people" not just the leadership.
  • {4} May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor. Pray that the government defends the just cause of the needy. Pray that it has the moral fortitude to crush the oppressor and stand up to the powerful who are wicked. Pray that it will support programs that bring deliverance to the needy.
  • {5} May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. Pray for the personal health and prosperity of those in government.
  • {6} May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. Pray that the government is refreshing to the people and a source of goodness, blessing and growth.
  • {7} In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more. Pray for enduring peace and stability and a well-founded and lasting moral order.
  • {8} May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. {9} May his foes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust. {10} May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts. {11} May all kings fall down before him, all nations give him service. Pray that it may be a powerful and well honoured government because it has served God well. Pray that it may not be humiliated by powerful nations but instead may be honoured by all.
  • {12} For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. {13} He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. {14} From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight. Pray that the government may consider every human life to be precious and have the needy "on their agenda". Pray that it may be the helper of the helpless. That the government may consider itself a servant of the needs of the people and despise no-one.
  • {15} Long may he live! May gold of Sheba be given to him. May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all day long. Pray for the spiritual protection and blessing of the government - that "prayer may be made for him continually". Pray for the personal salvation and continuing sanctification of those in power. Pray for their protection from the snares of the Devil - especially greed, sexual temptation and pride.
  • {16} May there be abundance of grain in the land; may it wave on the tops of the mountains; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field. For an abundance of basic necessities and food. For people to "blossom" and grow, for the nation to experience God's "shalom" - blessedness and prosperity.
  • {17} May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun. May all nations be blessed in him; may they pronounce him happy. For a good international reputation.
  • {18} Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. {19} Blessed be his glorious name forever; may his glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen. {20} The prayers of David son of Jesse are ended. Praise God who alone does wondrous things for the transformation that He can work in your nation. Pray on the basis of God's glory being enhanced through godly governments. Claim the promise that His glory will fill the earth and this includes your nation and every city, state and county within it.

    Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, and Thanksgivings

    (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NRSV) First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, {2} for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. Supplication indicates an earnest heartfelt prayer for God's extra-ordinary authority to be used in a particular matter. It is asking for an extraordinary move of God. Something "outside the normal channels". It is "special pleading". This may include asking God to send a revival, stop the passage of ungodly legislation , protection from invasion or war, or to act in a mighty way for the good of His gospel. Prayers is the normal word for petitions and includes the everyday requests for the health, prosperity and wisdom of the government. "Intercessions" comes from the Greek "deesis" meaning "to chance upon" or "to have an audience with a king". Hence "to have the good fortune to have an audience with a King", in this case it is the King of Kings. We are to take the kings to their King!

    Thanksgivings.....woops! Grumblers against governments take heed! We are to give thanks for them because they uphold justice and stop the world descending inti anarchy and chaos. (Romans 13:1-7) We also need to give thanks for governments as we are to give thanks for in things.(1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV) in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. If we appreciate a good government and its good actions they are likely to be repeated and become strongholds of goodness and prosperity. Thank God today for what He is doing through your government - feeding the hungry, healing the sick, punishing the wicked, setting standards for housing and infrastructure, building highways and communication networks, administering justice, educating your children, defending your liberty.

    What To Do About Discouragement

    There are two things to do about discouragement 1. Start believing in a God who can do all things. 2. Get together with other positive like-minded Christians to pray for your government. When we try and tackle national level change alone we can end up like Elijah fleeing to a cave and crying out "I alone am left...". Companionship such as he later experienced with Elisha and the school of the prophets got things going again.

    Do not give in. Praying for governments opens the doorway for revival and for the continued proclamation of the gospel. Praying for governments will mean that not just this year but for years to come you will be able to live a godly life in quietness and peace. Finally lets give it Paul's priority..."first of all" (1 Timothy 2:1).

    ęCopyright John Edmiston, Eternity Online Magazine 1997. May be freely photcopied for non-profit ministry purposes.

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