Daily D – 1 Timothy 2:1-4
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 1 TIMOTHY 2:1-4 (NLT)
Years ago, I heard someone ask God to give us the leaders we need, not the leaders we deserve. This is my daily prayer during election year.
Consider the time when the Apostle Paul wrote these words to Timothy. Rome was no friend to Christians. The Republic and then the Empire brought order and increasing safety to the Mediterranean world. The more successful the government was in these matters, the better it was for commercial trade and for the spread of the gospel.
Of course, the more centralized the government became, the more the government spent on itself, the more it began to fall apart. That, however, belongs to history books which people all too readily ignore.
The good news about Jesus flourished because of what government infrastructure made possible. Soon enough in historical terms, the government that worshiped itself bent its knee to Jesus. To this day, when a person thinks of Rome, one of the first things that comes to mind is that it is the home of the Pope and the center of the Catholic Church.
How should we pray about the election season we are in now? Paul gives us helpful guidance.
First, pray for all people. The Message paraphrases this verse by saying, “Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.” Some believers are more Republican or Democrat than they are Christian. Seeing the world through political party eyes makes a person swallow camels and strain at gnats. Ask our Father in heaven to help all of us see individuals and people groups from his perspective instead.
Remember that every person is made in the image of God. Every life is sacred. This is true from the womb to the tomb. God loves every person and so should we. He seeks every person’s highest and best. Let us join him in that concern. Let us do so with gratitude that we get to work with God to bring a little more heaven to earth (Matt. 6:10).
Second, pray for all of those in positions of authority. My commute takes me from Northeast Tarrant County through downtown Fort Worth to our office on the south side of the city. There is an overpass on this route where the whole city and practically the whole county are visible.
It is my habit to pray for our leaders as I drive toward downtown. This includes the mayor and city council, the county judge and commissioners, the city manager and his staff, the district attorney and her staff, the fire and police chiefs, the superintendents of schools and their staffs, educators at every level, and business and community leaders.
I ask our Father in heaven to provide us with leaders who will build healthy, wholesome, life-affirming communities. I ask God to provide us with leaders, staff, and advisors who know Jesus Christ as savior and lord and who seek to honor him and serve others. I ask for good working relationships among different community leaders.
As rotten as government and other leaders can be, we can follow God’s instruction through Jeremiah in his well-known letter to those living in exile in Babylon:
And work for the peace and prosperity of Babylon. Pray to the LORD for that city where you are held captive, for if Babylon has peace, so will you.
Notice Paul’s bottom line when it comes to praying for people groups and government leaders: “This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.”
Even if you are quarantined at home or limited in your ability to influence anyone in any way, you can pray. These are prayers our Father in heaven loves to hear and answer better than we pray them. It pleases him. My number one goal in life is to please God. Knowing it pleases him for me to pray for our leaders, I will make it a daily habit. Will you join me?
I will pray daily for individuals, people groups, and government officials.
Our Father, please bless us with the leaders we need, not the leaders we deserve. Provide us with leaders of integrity and character. Surround them with wise advisors who understand the times and who know what to do. Bless us with the right leaders in the right positions who will seek to honor you and to serve others. Amen.
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Jeremiah 18:1-4 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Philippians 1:4-6 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Jeremiah 17:7, 8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. (NIV)