A prayer for our rulers
‘I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.’ (1 Timothy 2:1-4, NIV)
‘The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD;
he turns it wherever he will.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
but the LORD weighs the heart.
To do righteousness and justice
is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.’ (Proverbs 21:1-3, ESV)
‘For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.’ (Isaiah 9:6-7, NIV)
Scripture teaches us to pray for those in authority over us, irrespective of whether we voted for them, or agree with them. This can be a challenge to do, but it is a good discipline. It reminds us that rulers are human and fallible, and just as much in need of the mercy of God as we are. It also reminds us that ultimately all kings will answer to the King of Kings, and it is in him and his unshakeable Kingdom that we put our trust.
Prayerfully reflect on some of these questions, and write down any thought that come to mind, prompted by the Holy Spirit:
- Do I find it easy or hard to pray for those in authority over me? Why is that?
- Do I find it easy or difficult to be in community with those who see things differently to me?
- Are there any ways in which I am in danger of assuming my views are correct, without properly examining my own heart for prejudice or bias?
- If I were in a position of ruling or governing, how would I want others to pray for me?
- How can I draw comfort from the fact that Christ’s Kingdom will never end, and his rule and reign will be just and righteous?
Who created the seas with a word,
And parted them with His breath,
To lead His people to liberty:
If you can conquer the oceans with such ease,
How much more can you channel
The hearts of those in authority?
They are but a stream in your hand.
Would you direct them
To bring refreshment to our land.
God of Wisdom,
I do not presume to know fully what is right,
But I humbly stand before the One who does,
And I pray for my leaders,
That they may also look to you for wisdom,
And lead in a way that reflects your heart,
For justice, integrity, and peace.
Would you help me, your servant,
And us, your church,
To resist the pull of cynicism, divisiveness,
Despair or partisanship.
Empower us to proclaim your Kingdom,
In word and deed,
Until the day you return
to make all things new.
This week, why not do one or more of the following, to help you share your reflections with friends around you, and turn some of your thoughts into action:
- Do you have a friend who works in local or national government, or who is involved in advising, policy-making, or lobbying? Why not get in touch with them this week and ask if there is anything in particular they would like you to pray for?
- Talk to other Christians who live near you, perhaps those in your Connect Group, and set yourself a challenge of praying for your local political and council leaders every day this week.
- Speak to a trusted Christian who you know holds different political opinions to you, and ask them to talk to you about their views. Listen to them, with the goal of understanding them better. Resist the urge to debate and defend your view. Then try praying this set prayer together.