Sunday, October 30, 2011

Praying and Governments

I recently noticed this comment in a Christian periodical:

"I urge . . . that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (1 Timothy 2:1, 2). Do we pray for our government leaders—even those with whom we disagree?

This oft-made comment seems to miss the point here.  In fact, even in this short quotation, this is rather obvious.

Paul is not telling us to ask God to help government officials lead easier lives, or anything like that at all.  And our agreement or disagreement with such officials has nothing to do with what Paul is talking about.

Paul very straightforwardly tells us that we should pray for governing officials so that we may live in peace.  Paul knew that the default would tend toward governing officials behaving in ways that would not allow people, especially Christians, to live in peace.  That would require divine intervention.

When governing officials do the job that Paul describes elsewhere (Rom. 13:1-7) they help make a peaceful life possible for those who wish to follow the ways of peace.  But as history has repeatedly shown, the power bestowed on governing officials tends to be misused.

So we need to pray for God, via His providence, to control governing officials.  In fact, God seems to be the only one who can control an out-of-control government.

Have you seen any of those around lately?  It’s not too late for some prayer time.

No comments: