1 Tim 2:1-2 I urge, then, first of all, 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.
Reading this I immediately had an image of having to interpret for someone preaching on this passage, and the massive headache that would be, because the Japanese has “kings and all those in authority” as part of verse 1, and some preachers repeatedly refer to specific verse numbers in their sermons. Even that’s not quite as bad as something else I’ve experienced, which is an American preacher focusing his whole message on a particular word in the English version he was using, when that word didn’t appear in the Japanese at all! All that aside, this is a good passage at any time, but it seems particularly appropriate right now. The current American government could be called a clown show if the consequences weren’t so real, and I won’t even go into what’s going on in Australia. And of course, that doesn’t touch the situation in countries like Afghanistan. The goal of praying for leaders as expressed in verse two (in both languages) seems like a distant dream at times! Paul was writing at a time when despotism was the rule in every country and democracy wasn’t even considered, so we have no excuse not to take this passage seriously. We at least theoretically have a voice in our government, and America is in the middle of a major test of that. Believers need to stand up and make their voices heard, in public petition and discussion as well as at the ballot box, but before and above and through all of that, there needs to be prayer. Paul wrote to the Romans that “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1) Unrighteous leaders love to quote that, even while they ignore the rest of the Bible. However, it has reasonably been said that in a democracy, people get the leaders they deserve. When we have corrupt, incompetent (or any other unflattering adjective) leaders, the first step is probably repentance! We then need to pray God’s mercy on the leaders and on the nation, that the leaders may either be brought to repentance or removed and replaced by people who will seek God. Jesus said clearly that we are to evaluate people by the fruit of their lives, (Matthew 7:20) and politicians are certainly no exception. People will say almost anything, so what we need to look for is what they do. The same may be said about us! (James 1:22)
I am on the mailing list for Intercessors For America. (I tried to join, but their system isn’t set up for addresses in other countries.) I get calls for prayer for various issues daily, and they are all valid. As I say frequently, there is more to pray for than any individual could handle, even praying 24/7. I need to let the Holy Spirit guide me as to the specific issues I am to pray for, and how, and be faithful in that. Since I am registered to vote absentee in Virginia, I’m definitely praying about the election there coming up in a few days, even though I can only vote in national elections. One thing that is actually good about the current mess is that all sorts of corruption has been exposed to anyone with eyes to see. I need to pray that people would open their eyes to see it and then act appropriately to correct and prevent such corruption. As it says so clearly in Proverbs, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34) I need to pray that America move toward righteousness, starting with the Church and including me.
Father, this subject is obviously very much on my heart these days. Help me speak and act as You desire, not giving in to my own understanding, (Proverbs 3:5-6) so that Your name may be acknowledged as holy and Your rule and reign established in the earth as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!