Praying for Those in Authority
with James W. Goll
Primary Verse: I Timothy 2:1-4
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 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.
THE FOUNDATION OF AUTHORITY
Early National American Foundations
A review of the Christian influence in the development of our constitutional form of government shows that the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut was the first written constitution known in history which created a government, and from which the government of the United States is in lineal descent. It was inspired by and had its origin in a sermon preached by Rev. Thomas Hooker in Hartford on May 31, 1638. Rev. Hooker took as his sermon text Deuteronomy 1:13-15 - Take your wise men, and men of understanding, known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you ... captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds ... over fifties ... over tens, etc. From this biblical injunction, Rev. Hooker reasoned that:
The choice of public magistrates belongs unto the people by God’s own allowance.
The privilege of election, which belongs unto the people, therefore must not be exercised according to their humors, but according to the blessed law of God.
They who have power to anoint officers and magistrates, it is their power, also, to set the bounds of the power and the place unto which they call them.
Thomas Hooker’s concluding exhortation in his sermon was, “As God hath spared our lives, and given us them in liberty, so to seek the guidance of God, and to choose in God and for God.” Along with Thomas Hooker, I believe we should use our God-given liberty to choose carefully and prayerfully those men who are to make the laws by which we must abide.
"If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering ... but if we neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all of our glory in profound obscurity."
Key Scriptures of God’s View of Authority
Rom. 13:1-7 - Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very t hing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
1 Pet. 2:17 - Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
Prov. 24:21 - My son, fear the Lord and the king; do not associate with those who are given to change ....
Is. 40:15-17 - Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.
Prov. 29:2 - When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, people groan.
Prov. 14:34 - Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
Prov. 29:14 - If a king judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever.
Ps. 33:12 - Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.
OUR BIBLICAL RESPONSE TO THOSE IN AUTHORITY
Andrew Murray’s Response to 1 Timothy 2:1-2
“What a faith in the power of prayer! A few feeble and despised Christians are to influence the mighty Roman emperors, and help in securing peace and quietness. Let us believe that prayer is a power that is taken up by God in His rule of the world. Let us pray for our country and its rulers, for all the rulers of the world; for rulers in cities or districts in which we are interested. When God’s people unite in this, they may count upon their prayers effecting in the unseen world more than they know. Let faith hold this fast.”
Dick Eastman - Director of Every Home For Christ
Dick Eastman gives three key scriptures for our understanding on this subject.
Proverbs 28:2 - prayer for knowledge and understanding.
2 Kings 19:27-28 - A biblical perspective on dealing with tyrant kings.
Micah 6:8 - Micah Plan - claim the leader will govern.
Honestly - To do justly.
Humbly - To love mercy.
In meekness - To walk humbly (be a servant rather than a master).
Jack W. Hayford – Former Sr. Pastor of Church On The Way
“You and I can help decide whether ... blessing or curse ... happens on earth. We will determine whether God’s goodness is released toward specific situations or whether the power of sin and Satan is permitted to prevail. Prayer is the determining factor.”
Derek Prince – Late International Bible Teacher on 1 Timothy 2:1-4
If you bypass prayer, you can have all sorts of plans, systems, and programs, but you do not have the power to operate them. It is like having a building wired for electricity, but not connected to the generator. Nothing is going to work. The wires may be in good order and the light fixtures may be wonderful, but you are not going to get results because there is no power! The powerhouse of the Christian Church is prayer, and Paul very logically says, First of all prayer!
Prayer is the priority.
Who for? Men, kings, all in authority.
What topic? Good government.
So that we may have peace and order.
For the propagation of the Gospel
Because God desires all men to be saved.
Prov. 21:1 - The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Prov. 29:14 - If a king judges the poor with truth, his throne will be established forever.
Prov. 25:5 - As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable. Take away the dross from the silver, and there comes out a vessel for the smith; take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.
Isa. 40:23 - He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
Psa. 119:126 - It is time for the Lord to act, For they have broken Thy law.
2 Chr. 7:14 - And My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Just Do It!
It now becomes time not just to listen to the wisdom of scriptures and church fathers. Now is the time to pause and pray for those in authority. The future of your city and or nation might just depend on it. Pause right now and just do it!
I trust this outline is helpful and will guide believers across the U. S. and in other countries in a scriptural basis of the important of praying for our leaders. Pass this on to others and urge them to pray with understanding for All Those in Authority.
Dr. James W. Goll