Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 23 August 21:
1 Timothy 2:1-2, 8 — First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way…. I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.
Today’s political scene is full of passion and protests, but far too little prayer, which Paul says is priority number one. Paul, who was persecuted, imprisoned, and executed for his faith, said we should not only pray for leaders and people in high positions, we should offer “intercessions (pleading to God on their behalf) and thanksgivings” for them. As political debate seems to grow increasingly meanspirited, Paul urges us to remain “dignified in every way…. lifting up holy hands without anger or quarreling.” Are you a ‘political activist’ like Paul who seeks to change the political landscape through intercessory prayer, thanksgiving, and shocking displays of the love of Christ? Wouldn’t that be revolutionary?
As Paul points out, praying for the salvation of our political leaders should be a top priority for Christians – “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made… for kings and all who are in high positions…. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4) Like everyone else, political leaders need forgiveness and a new life in Christ. (Acts 4:10-12; Romans 10:9) Don’t sin by failing to pray for them from a genuine heart of love which eagerly desires their reconciliation.
- James 4:17 — So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
- 1 Samuel 12:23 — Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you….
- Matthew 5:44 — But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you….
- James 2:9 — But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
We should also pray that God would move the hearts of our leaders to make wise decisions aligned with God’s ethics and principles. God is in control of the political situation and all the people involved. There are many amazing examples in the Bible of how God used unbelieving leaders to accomplish His purposes and benefit His people. For example, in Ezra 1, we read how God moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to support the return of Jews to the Homeland to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem. God inspired Pharaoh to make Joseph second-in-command (Genesis 41:41-46); God inspired the king of Persia to allow the Jews to defend themselves against slaughter and to make Mordecai prime minister of Persia (Esther 3-7); and God inspired king Nebuchadnezzar to appoint Daniel as ruler of the province of Babylon (Daniel 2:48). The most powerful thing you can do to influence the political scene is to pray.
- Daniel 2:21 — He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding….
- 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 — For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
- Proverbs 21:1 — The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
- Jeremiah 29:4-7 — Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 August 21: Dedicate earnest prayers today for leaders and people in high positions. Pray that God will give you a genuine heart for those for whom you feel less inclined to pray, for those from whom you sinfully desire to withhold grace.