We live in a world of unprecedented dissension. In the natural world, political world, relational world—every area of life—so much is happening. Change is, as they say, the only sure thing.
What should my response be to all that is happening in our world?
Post my opinion on Facebook? Nope.
Tweet my frustrations? Nah.
Instagram my ideas? Not helpful.
PRAY? Yes! That is one powerful option available to me. Spouting my opinion generally adds to the unrest and confusion. But prayer is God’s way to move the world.
In a time that was as least as rough as anything happening anywhere in our world, Paul instructed Timothy to urge people to pray for all who are in authority. Paul did this during the reign of Nero—who was slaughtering Christians and eventually would behead Paul himself.
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 Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-3 NIV
Bottom Line: Paul asks, “You want to know what is good and pleases God? Pray for those in authority.” Who is in authority over you? It may be a parent, boss, mayor, governor, senator, president, etc. You understand who it is. What are we to do? God says, “Pray. It’s as simple as that.”
So if you want to do what is good and pleases God, now you know: Pray! This needs to be our unquestioned top priority since we know the truth: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians6:12 NIV
“We are locked in a battle. This is not a friendly gentlemen's discussion. It is a life and death conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ. It is a conflict on the level of ideas between two fundamentally opposed views of truth and reality. It is a conflict on the level of actions between a complete moral perversion and chaos and God's absolutes. But do we really believe that we are in a life and death battle?” – Francis Schaeffer
The enemy is not a person or a group. When you think that, you play right into the hands of the deceiver, the enemy. He knows that it is the only way he has a chance to divide, damage, and destroy the thing God has given the potential to bring about good and fulfill His purpose.
We need a sense of priority and urgency in our prayer life. The evil one is powerfully at work in world affairs, and prayer is the great battlefield, especially as we intercede for those in leadership.
Proverbs 21:1 tells us,“The king’s heart is like streams of water. Both are under the Lord’s control. He turns them in any direction he chooses.” This means that an all-powerful, all-knowing God can turn the heart of a king (a leader) at any time and in any way. If there are policies, plans, and platforms that don’t conform to God’s Word and standard, the prayers of a Christ follower can be used in a mighty, transforming way.
James5:16 assures us, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” A righteous person is one who is in right relationship with others and God.
It has been said that if we would pray as much as we worried, we would have a lot less to worry about. Paul addressed this in another one of his letters: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
Don’t you sense the anxiety around us? There are so many anxious and worried people, and so many who don’t have peace but seem to be very angry. It’s a pretty clear sign that Paul’s command is not being heeded.
What would America look like if people were not anxious and had peace of mind? What if our first reaction to the chaos around us and the authorities over us was to pray?
I would say a lot different than we are experiencing today. I’m going to pray.