We are to pray a lot for governing officials, commands Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
Anyone who has some say in whether or not we can lead a quiet life should be prayed for. It is important to remember in prayer – dead obvious point, but worth reminding ourselves – that there are three parties to the prayer: ourselves, doing the praying; the object of the prayer – governing officials, in this case; and God – the recipient of the prayer. We pray to God for them because they are controlled by Him (Prov. 21:1).
We pray for this goal: that they would do that which would lead to a life that is
- Peaceful. Unwarring, consistent stability.
- Quiet. Do not put us in positions where we must cry out and protest, out of sheer exhaustion or frustration.
- Godly. Keep us out of impossible situations, where the only choices are between Sin A and Sin B.
- Dignified. Do not allow yourself, or anyone else, to deface the royal humanity that God has clothed us with (as much as we are prone to do that to ourselves, sometimes).
But notice these are not ends. Paul does not want us to pray for the sake of these; they are means to another end.
Not the flourishing of our country, or your prosperity, or the American ideal, or the sanctity of the family, or the environment . . . No, as important as any of those are, Paul is angling for a bigger fish:
3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Paul desires people to be saved, because God does, by coming to a knowledge of the truth. It’s a lot harder to share that truth, and to hear it and absorb it, when the above four conditions are not met.
I wonder if God sometimes takes away one or more of the above four conditions, when His people forget God’s desires, and therefore how to pray towards this end. To begin again to pray this way leads us to pray for ourselves, that we would see afresh that the gospel is the highest and best way to bless our country.
Please pray today for our local police and sheriff departments. And as you have time, send them a note, or call them, letting them know that you’re praying for them.