Give Thanks for All Who Are in Authority

In 1 Timothy 2: 1- 4, Paul wrote, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For 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.”

As Christian we often use this passage to encourage one another to pray for our President and elected officials. And if ever there was a time that our President and elected officials need our prayers, it is now. Supplications and intercessions go pretty much hand-in-hand with prayers. I am quite happy, and usually diligent, to pray, intercede, and supplicate for our leaders.

Today, however, as I read this passage, the fourth command jumped out at me–‘giving of thanks.’ Now, that is a harder pill to swallow. I give thanks regularly for our President and other elected leaders with whom I agree and support. However, I can’t say that I give thanks for those who oppose the President and the important changes he is trying to implement to keep our country safe and prosperous.

When it comes to praying for those politicians that I believe are moving our nation away from God, I do pray for their salvation. I ask God to remove the blinders from their eyes so that they will see the truth and repent. I pray for revival for our nation, and particularly among those in position of authority and influence. But, I don’t give thanks for those with whom I disagree.

Paul tells us in this passage that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for ALL men, for kings and ALL who are in authority.” And the reason for these prayers, supplications, intercessions, and thanks is that we may live in peace in godliness and that people will be saved and come to know the truth.

So, starting today, I will give thanks for all men and women in positions of authority, whether I agree with their politics or not. And, I believe that by giving thanks, and interceding on behalf of all our politicians, that we will enable God to move in the hearts and minds of our politicians to work together so that we as Americans can live in peace in godliness and reverence.

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Will you join me in supplicating, praying, interceding, and giving thanks for all in authority?


Praying for the Unsaved

 

What is your motivation when you pray for the lost to be saved?  Generally I am motivated by the desire that the person I am praying for will have the best possible life on earth and a future in Heaven.  I don’t want anyone to go to hell, and I am certain the world would be a much better place if more of its inhabitants had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I read a devotional this morning by Charles Finney (Principles of Prayer, Day 6) that challenges that motivation as selfish and the wrong reason to pray for the unsaved.   Finney states that we tend to think about how our lives would be improved by the salvation of others, when we should actually focus on the glory God receives when a sinner comes to repentance and salvation. We need to pray that people come to Christ so they will stop dishonoring God through sin and so that God will be glorified by the conversion.

Perhaps you have known someone whose life was radically changed when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.  Those close to such a person can’t help but notice the difference that salvation has made, and many of the person’s acquaintances are drawn to Christ through such a conversion.  God is glorified through all conversions, and our desire should be that God receives the honor and glory due Him. Jesus told us the Heaven rejoices over every person who comes to Him.  “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10) 

Christians need to pray frequently and fervently for the lost to be saved.  If we pray with the expectation that God will be honored as sinners turn away from sinful lifestyles and that God will receive glory as the world notices the changes, I believe we will see a great move of God in our nation.  We need to pray for the salvation of not only our loved ones, but also for the salvation of persons of influence.

Can you imagine the impact on our society if many of our political leaders, celebrities, and other public figures came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and began to live according to God’s ordinance?

 

Thwarting Plans

In my devotions currently I am reading through the Psalms.  This morning I came across Psalm 33:10 – 11, “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the people.  But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. ”  I’ve read these verses before, many times, and they encourage me that God’s plans will come to fruition.  Yet today they struck me in a new way.

Christians often exhort one another to pray that God’s purposes will be fulfilled in our nation and in the lives of our family and friends.  And we should.  Our nation needs to turn our collective hearts back to serving God–the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Christians across our nation pray that our leaders will seek God’s guidance in decision-making, that our nation will repent of its sins, and that we will acknowledge our dependence on God.

Yet, Psalm 33:10 encourages us to do more.  It tells us that God will thwart the plans of those who oppose Him.  It says to me that I should pray deliberately for the plans of those who do not honor the Lord to fail.  I should pray not only for Congress to pass laws that are in keeping with God’s commands, but I should actively pray for the failure of bills that don’t agree with God’s word.  I should pray for our President to make decisions that honor God and to be dissuaded from decisions that do not honor God.

On the one hand, this differentiation might seem like mere semantics.  However, as I see it, praying for the failure of those whose who purposes are not in line with God’s will puts me on the offensive.  Many Christians in America are very passive concerning the government.  We pray as Christ taught us through the Lord’s prayer, “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,  your kingdom come, your will be done,   on earth as it is in heaven.”  (Matthew 6: 9, 10)  We feel that we have done our part by praying for God’s will to be done, and we sit  back and watch our nation move further and further from God.

The time has come for Christians to actively pray against the forces that are driving our nation from God.  We need to pray for God’s will to be done and we must pray for the plans of those whose purposes are not godly to be thwarted.   Our God is strong and mighty; He is fully capable of ‘foiling the plans of the nations’ and causing His plans and purposes to be achieved, if we ask Him.

I encourage you today to go on the offensive.  Begin to pray for God’s will to be done and for God to thwart the plans of those who oppose Him.  If Christians across this nation do so, I believe American can still be a nation under God.