Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On Praying For Our Leaders

Scripture is clear that Christians have certain obligations to the civil magistrate. Their office and authority are to be honored. "Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king" says St. Peter.

Second, we must pay our taxes (Rom. 13:6-7, Mt. 22:15-21) and obey their legitimate and lawful commands (Rom. 13:5, Titus 3:1). Finally we are to pray for our civil leadership. "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (I Tim. 2:1-2)

Over at Baptist Press, Curt Iles writes that he learned to pray for presidents and other earthly political leaders from his grandfather:

My maternal grandfather, Sidney Plott, taught me to pray for our president. In all of my years of memory -- from President Dwight Eisenhower to the end of George H.W. Bush's term -- he always prayed for the president. At every meal, he sincerely asked God's blessings and guidance on "Our President." It didn't matter who occupied the White House, "Grandpa Sid" believed Scripture mandated prayer and respect (Romans 13:1), and he faithfully prayed it until the very day of his death.

Yet this text like Romans 13 has been distorted. Here Paul is commanding believers to intercede on behalf of Caesar. It is Christians who are a royal priesthood crying out to God on behalf of The Man. In the Roman era intercession was a royal prerogative. In short the claim made by Christians was seen as sedition in the eyes of Rome.

Moreover, Paul’s intent is not that we pray "Bless the president, congress, governor, and EEOC flunky." It is typically the case that magistrates need an understanding of justice, which necessitates a right view of man, sin and God. In short, rather than some nebulous “blessing” they may very well need conversion or even judgment.


Blogger Dave said...

>In short, rather than some nebulous “blessing” they may very well need conversion or even judgment.

Interestingly, in 1645, the conversion of the Queen, a papist, was a concern of the church as was also the King's reign and the Turk (Islam).

In The Directory for the Publick Worship of God (1645) in the section entitled Of Public Prayer before the Sermon, is established the following:

After reading of the word, (and singing of the psalm) the minister who is to preach, is ...

To pray for the propagation of the gospel and kingdom of Christ to all nations; ... and the hastening of the second coming of our Lord; for the deliverance of the distressed churches abroad from the tyranny of antichristian faction, and from the cruel oppressions and blasphemies of the Turk; ...

To pray for all in authority, especially for the King's Majesty; that God would make him rich in blessings, establish his throne in religion and righteousness, save him from evil counsel, and make him a blessed and glorious instrument for the conservation and propagation of the gospel, ... for the conversion of the Queen, ....


12:16 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Let's try this:

Of Publick Prayer before the Sermon.

1:16 AM  

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