Readings for the Day
2 Kings 4-5, Psalms 83, 1 Timothy 2
Verses for the Day
I urge then first of all that all petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
As Paul instructs his protege Timothy, he gives these guidelines for worship. At the top of the list is public prayer. And he adds that these prayers should be offered for all people, especially kings and those in authority. The National Day of Prayer is not the first call to praying for our leaders. In fact there are 3 other verses in the bible that specifically teach this.
For instance, God told the Israelites in exile to pray for Babylon: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).
Romans 13:1 says, “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.”
Paul requested prayer “for all the Lord’s people” and for himself that he would speak the gospel boldly (Ephesians 2:18–20).
And it makes sense doesn't it to pray for those who have influence through their influence in the world. We can see right now in the world the difference between godly and ungodly leadership. Leaders who seek God's wisdom and guidance will make better decisions that bring prosperity for their people. We have seen in history what can happen to people in the hands of a despot. This is also as why we watch the news.
Karl Barth, Swiss theologian, taught young pastors in seminary that they should, "preach with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.” He later made clear the former always interprets the ladder. What does this mean for us?
It means that Christians should not seek to avoid being in the world, or praying for situations affecting our world. We should pray for worldly leaders that they would be guided by God's wisdom found in the bible. For leaders we know are not Christian, we should pray that God limits their influence and/or that they would lead them to Christ. As we watch the news we don't remark, "ain't it awful out there", but, "God how can bring the light of Christ into the world."
So the next time you pray remember to pray for leaders, and all those in authority including: law enforcement, teachers, judges, pastors and anyone else who has influence in the world. And when you read the news or watch CNN, ask God how you can pray for the world we live in. By having this attitude, we reflect God's heart which is that "all people be saved." This happens through the church as it shines its light in the world.