Does It Really Say That?
“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. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” – 1st Timothy 2:1-3
Once George Washington’s Birthday celebration, and then combined with Abraham Lincoln’s, Presidents’ Day now celebrates all US Presidents on the third Monday of February. The Bible has something to say about respect for leaders such as US Presidents.
A vocal and sometimes violent large number of protestors of the most recent presidential election are often shouting, “Not my president!” Despite their passionate and angry feelings, 1st Timothy and Romans have much to say about all rulers like presidents. What is more, this was written when some pretty wicked rulers governed the populated world, known as Caesars. You could not get much more evil rulers than some of the particular Caesars.
The Apostle Paul urges Christians to pray “with supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings 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. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” The current behavior of many in our country is contrary to Paul’s admonition. Some may even well consider themselves to be Christian, but obviously, by their personal behavior and thought, do not count the Scriptures to be sufficient authority to advise them.
In another of his epistles, Romans, Paul writes, “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Apparently, God “instituted” (installed, raised up) the last President as well as the current one. Paul declares that “whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” Those are pretty forceful and clear warnings. Of course, the word “resist” must be understood as to exactly what such resistance entails from those righteous followers in God’s eyes. However, it is very clear you are to pray earnestly, genuinely, and respectfully for such leaders even if you are at odds with their policies, demeanor, or governance. Do I understand this? Not entirely. But am I called to obey the Sovereign God of all creation? Yes.
So we think to ourselves as we read these Scriptures, “Does it really say this?” Yes, it does. And these Scriptures are written for your edification and obedience, upon the warning of judgment if they be ignored or disobeyed. It calls us to review our thoughts and behavior in regards to the current President, and to review our prayer habits. How frequently do we pray for the President and for our leaders, and for what do we pray for them and for ourselves under their leadership? Will praying for him and them sanctify your perspective? I dare say it will. You will have to determine the effect of your earnest prayer life on your own perspectives.
Let me suggest the line of your prayer requests: pray for the President’s salvation; you may not know his true spiritual condition. Pray that his salvation may be borne out in the lives of all citizens under him (“that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way”). Pray that he may have reasonable, spiritual, and physical success in governing. Pray this for other pertinent and relevant leaders as well. Pray this for judges, especially Supreme Court Justices, who determine life and death issues.
God calls us, of the highest priority, to be prayer warriors; that his kingdom come, that his will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Call yourself to prayer, as God calls you to prayer. Pray regularly, pray passionately, pray with believing faith. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man, avails much. Your prayers do not fall on deaf ears.
“Thou art coming to a King, large petitions with thee bring; for his grace and power are such, none can ever ask too much, none can ever ask too much.”
(2nd verse of John Newton’s hymn, “Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare,” 1779)
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