Without fail, most Christian groups, when they meet together for worship, have one major sinful, failing. It is a (grievous) sin of omission. This serious neglect is common to all religious persuasions. It is that God’s people neglect His Call [exhortation] to pray for government.
Why it is imperative for God’s people to pray for government?
It is imperative to be “tuned in” to God’s Will and perfect purposes. If Christians either don’t know, or, don’t care to please the God who created them, they have no basis to pray for and encourage [good] government authority to lead them.
How did our country arrive at its present crisis where people have been awarded for non productivity? Why has government allowed certain people to buy houses with little or no money down on the public taxpayer’s till? Why is it that there is the massive and detrimental redistribution of wealth that is laying waste to personal family finances? Certainly, Christ’s parable of the talents teaches us that productivity is to be encouraged and rewarded while sloth and incompetence is to be discouraged, demoted – and, even punished. [Matthew 25:14-30] But, when Christian voters are not grounded in Scriptural principles, they do themselves a huge disfavor when they consider their voting choices.
I cannot help but think that our nation arrived at its destructive juncture because people of religious practice, and especially Christians, did not involve themselves in the area of politics. For my own part, I come from a family and church tradition of individuals who went out of their way not to be involved in politics – and, especially not to speak out or run for public office. “Politics” was always considered a dirty and sinful “business” – almost, on the parallel of gambling.
But, what is “politics?” Is it intrinsically, bad or evil? And those who “indulge” in the practice of politics – do those individuals have to be bad or evil people?
If I remember (a definition) correctly, “Politics” is something positive, not negative. Its practice is supposed to be for the common [public] good. Politics is supposed to keep, maintain and promote proper moral behavior for the advancement of the particular culture. Following, is the original [Webster’s] definition:
POL'ITICS, n. "The science of government; that part of ethics which consists in the regulation and government of a nation or state, for the preservation of its safety, peace and prosperity; comprehending the defense of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest, the augmentation of its strength and resources, and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement of their morals. Politics, as a science or an art, is a subject of vast extent and importance." [mshaffer.com]
When Christians disobey the exhortations of Scripture to pray the best, for government –- it is ludicrous for them to be involved in influential leadership positions of that [same] government for the benefit and peaceful existence of the culture. If Christians can’t make it the Biblical priority it is, to pray for government, then why would they make it a priority to seek public office? Thus, (by and large), as a result, unregenerate sinners control the (political) leadership roles of society. Consequently (it follows) that their rule of politics fashions bad laws to the detriment and destruction of not only a peaceful existence, but of proper law and order. When bad government is in control, God’s purposes for the saving of human souls is drastically, thwarted. That's the import of the Scriptural exhortation to pray for [good] government:
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time….." 1 Timothy 2:1-6
Here is what one Biblical scholar had to say about the 1 Timothy 2: 1-6 Scripture:
…that while all people should be the subjects of prayer, those should be particularly remembered before the throne of grace who are in authority. The reason is, that so much depends on their character and plans; that the security of life, liberty, and property, depends so much on them.
God’s gives specific instructions on how His people are to pray for government
Note: Please read again, the aforementioned 1 Timothy 2:1-6 Scripture.
I would venture to say that most Christians first pray for themselves. And, most of their prayers are of a material or physical nature. Their private prayers seldom go beyond immediate family. Very often neglected in Christians’ personal prayers, are praise and thanks to the Triune God for their spiritual and physical well-being.
What’s most neglectful and sinful with Christian prayer is the omission of prayer for government authority of all levels – community, city, county, state and federal governments. When Christians meet at their various churches of worship, very rarely is there the priority of prayer for government on all levels. There is little consistency, and prayer for government is very general, only reserved before election times or the calendar's patriotic holidays. Individual churches, on the other hand, make it a priority to pray for their own welfare and its greater hierarchal church body, be it their collective "conference" or "synod."
Scripture's directive to pray for government, implies a priority of 1st order – every time Christians meet for worship
How often have you attended divine worship [“services”] and experienced just about everything prayed for, but, [good] government? Pastors of all Christian religious persuasions will make excuses why they can’t follow the Scriptural exhortation directive. Church members will not make it a priority in their family and personal prayers. The excuses abound, while the "prayer sin of omission" is continually committed. And then, Christians wonder why they have to suffer bad government, at the hands of irresponsible and evil political leaders.
Essentially, God allows [for] what Christians don’t pray [for]. Christians, don’t have anyone to blame, but themselves, for their lack of diligence to God’s directives. What Christians don't pray for, reflects their inexcusable apathy. Perhaps, this clearly explains (for the most part) why Christians by and large eschew the arena of politics. It simply does not rate on their priority scale. Hence, they are blind to recognize the "connection" to good government and the command by the Lord to pray accordingly. 1 Timothy 2:1-6
I sadly ask: “How often in Christian circles, whether be it church or home worship gatherings, is this Scriptural command [to pray for government] being dutifully practiced?” I dare say that its practice is as scare as hen's teeth. May our Triune God impress upon His people a resurgence of responsible priorities to that of Biblical proportions!
Note: A Short Listing of the Christian's Responsibility to political leaders and to "Secular" goverment:
Note: A Short Listing of the Christian's Responsibility to political leaders and to "Secular" goverment:
- Pray for good government and political leaders. Pray for their conversion, and / or that their governing reflect divine principles.
- Utilize the right and privileges of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, afforded to USA citizens to oppose ungodly governering agendas, policies and actions. Participate in government to make it better and more moral.
- Render to the governing authorities their just due -- as Christ stated when He said: "Render to Caesar that which is Caesar's and to God, that which is God's." [Matthew 22:21]
- "Exposing the deeds of darkness" [Ephesians 5:11] is appropriate for Christians in reference to the corruptions of political leaders.
- Suspend obedience to government when that obedience conflicts with submission to God. Acts 5:29
The Great Reformer's thoughts about praying for "temporal authority and government:"
I can't help but think that Luther was (apparently) thinking along the same type of 1 Timothy 2:1-5 lines, when he wrote his explanation for the petition, "give us this day our daily bread." As the Apostle Paul (under inspiration of the Holy Spirit) understood the priority importance of prayer for temporal authority and government, regarding the spiritual - the furtherance of the spreading of the Gospel, Luther also understood the priority importance of prayer for temporal authority and government regarding the physical sustenance of God's people:
".........And there is, indeed, the greatest need to pray for temporal authority and government, as that by which most of all God preserves to us our daily bread and all the comforts of this life. For though we have received of God all good things in abundance, we are not able to retain any of them or use them in security and happiness, if He did not give us a permanent and peaceful government. For where there are dissension, strife, and war, there the daily bread is already taken away, or at least checked......."
Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:
Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats: The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins
The Christian’s Responsibility to the governing authorities:
1 Timothy 2:1-6 -- Christians commanded to pray for government
Titus 3:1 – Christians are to be submissive to government
1 Peter 2:13-17 – Christians are to be subject to every “’human’ institution”
Attitude, submission and obedience to government:
“Submission is absolute, but obedience is relative. Submission is a matter of attitude, while obedience is a matter of conduct…….”
[Watchman Nee – Christian martyr]
Exodus 1:17 – The midwives disobeyed Pharaoh’s dastardly decree.
Please note: "Disobedient Midwives" - icr.org
Exodus 2:1-10 -- The godly action of Moses' mother of disregarding [disobeying] Pharoah's ungodly command.
Joshua 2:1f -- Rahab's deceptive actions and words. Please note: Scripture's commendation of her faith and behavior -- Hebrews 11:30-31 ; James 2:25
Daniel 3:1f – The 3 Jewish believers,Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to worship the King’s golden image.
Daniel 6:1f – Daniel disregarded the King’s decree and, instead worshipped the true God
Matthew 2:14 – The step father of the infant Christ avoided King Herod’s murderous decree by fleeing with the child and his mother. Also, the Wise Men disregarded King Herrod's directive to supply him with information about the Christ child.
Acts 5:29 – The early Christians regard to proclaim the Gospel despite the governing authorities’ censor of it
Acts 8:1-4 -- The early Christians were scattered abroad because of persecution. Were those who left their homes for fear of being cast into prison not being subserviant to the ruling authorities? Are Christians to actively pursue martyrdom?
Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- an in-depth view of Isaiah 53:1-12 and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. Note for further reference and understanding:
The Christian Faith -- Parts 1-3:
1) What is meant by “Believing” and / or, being, “Saved?”
2) How the saving (believing) process of the Christian Faith takes place
3) What are the tell-tale signs that a person has been “Saved” [is a Christian believer]?
Please note: Topical Messages, by subject
Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel