Are we praying for governmental officials?

Posted: October 19, 2010 in Ministry

As I briefly mentioned in my previous blog post, we, as believers, ought to be praying for our governmental officials…when we agree with them, and more importantly, when we disagree with them.  Whether they are the candidate that you voted for, or the one that you don’t understand how they ever got elected, we as believers in Christ need to be lifting them up before the Throne of Grace.  As I was processing this thought, I was reminded of 1 Tim. 2:1-4 and thought it would be good to look at what one faithful expositor of days-gone-by said about these verses…

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty [1 Tim. 2:1–2].

Paul says that Christians are to pray for public officials, and I take it that he meant that the prayers were to be made in the church. To bring this up-to-date, he is saying the Democrats ought to pray for the Republicans, and the Republicans ought to pray for the Democrats. Many years ago a famous chaplain of the Senate was asked by a visitor, “Do you pray for the senators?” He replied, “No, I look at the senators, and then I pray for the country!” That is exactly what Paul says we need to do. We need to pray for our country, and we need to pray for those who have authority over us. If you are a Republican and a Democrat is in office, pray for him. If you are a Democrat and a Republican is in office, pray for him.

“For kings.” Paul says we are to pray for the kings who rule. You may ask, “Yes, but are we to pray when the government is a corrupt one?” Paul is saying we are to pray even if it’s a corrupt government. We are to pray for whoever is in power. Remember that the man who was in power in Rome when Paul wrote was bloody Nero, yet he says we are to pray for kings, whoever they are.

“That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” Any government is better than no government. Some people may question that, but an evil, corrupt government, if it really governs, is better than anarchy. I agree with those who argue that politics is crooked—man has certainly corrupted and misused political power—but there does remain a semblance of law and order. Civil government is a gift from God, and we ought to give thanks for it and pray for it. Many of us fall short of praying for our government in order that we might continue to live quietly and peaceably.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth [1 Tim. 2:3–4].

A second reason we should pray for government is in order that the gospel might continue to go out to the lost. I believe that we are actually going to see the persecution of Christians in this country in the future. I do not mean the persecution of church members—the liberal church is so compromised today that they will go along with whatever comes along. I am saying that genuine believers in Christ may encounter persecution. Paul was beginning to experience persecution himself, and he said the believers were to pray for the leaders who were responsible for it. It was “good and acceptable in the sight of God” to pray for these men. Why? Because it is God’s will that all men might be saved.

It is not important for you and me to get a certain man elected to office. I have never in my ministry recommended a candidate for office. I am not called to do that, and I don’t believe any minister is. I am to pray for our leaders regardless of who they are in order that the gospel can go out. I want a man in office who is going to make it possible for the Word of God to continue to be given to the lost. This should be our concern and our prayer.(1)

There it is.   A simple, clear explanation of these verses…which touched the days of J. Vernon McGee, today, and the days to come.  So, what is our response to this?  I agree with the writer – I am to pray for our leaders regardless of who they are in order that the gospel can go out. I want a man in office who is going to make it possible for the Word of God to continue to be given to the lost. This should be our concern and our prayer. I am going to be praying in this way especially with the upcoming elections.  I know that in some instances that I will not want to pray for that elected official, but I need to allow the admonition of the Word of God to be my guide.  In following through in obedience, I am sure that I will see the Lord’s hand move…in my life and in our great country called the United States of America.

Right now my heart cries out…God, bless America!

What are your thoughts?  I would love to hear from you!  Take a moment or two and share with me your two-cents below in the comment section.

Because of Calvary,

Drew

(1)McGee, J. V. (1997). Thru the Bible commentary (electronic ed.) (1 Ti 1:20–2:4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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