by Bishop Michael Stead, Anglican Bishop of South Sydney
It is pleasing to God when we pray for the leaders of our nation.
“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 Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”—1 Timothy 2:1-4
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2 that praying for rulers and those in authority is good and pleasing to God.
Paul wrote this a time when the rulers and authorities where not Christians. In fact, they were hostile to Christian faith and sometimes actively persecuted the Church. Nevertheless, Paul still urges us to pray for them—including to give thanks for them—in our intercessions.
Do we realise what Paul knows—that God is absolutely sovereign over every ruler? In Romans 13, he tells us that all rulers and authorities have been instituted by God (Rom 13:1), and that God has established them as his servants—even if unwittingly so—for the good of society by encouraging those who do what is right, and punishing those who do wrong (Rom 13:3-4).
Therefore, it is imperative that we pray regularly for our leaders, that “we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Tim 2:3). If we want God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, then we will want to see wars cease, and justice and equity to prevail, and truth upheld. These are matters which are in the hands of our nation’s leaders and our parliaments and our judiciary and police and so on. In particular, we should be praying for national leaders who will ensure that Australia is a place where Christians will continue to be able to live in “all godliness and holiness”, without having to compromise or hide our faith. This is good not just for us, but for the common good, for “all people”.
Praying for leaders that will maintain peace and stability for all is not an end in itself. We should be praying for these things because God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4). Peace and stability helps the spread of the gospel, as Christians are free to live godly and holy lives that adorn the teaching of Christ, and are free to proclaim the gospel message to the world. These are the things that should shape our intercessions and thanksgivings for the leaders of our nations.
In these 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, let us give ourselves to prayer that pleases God our saviour, seeking the common good of our nation through leaders who will lead us in the way of righteousness.
Heavenly Father, we give thanks for those whom you have established, and will establish, to lead and guide our nation. Give wisdom to those in authority in every land, and give to all peoples a desire for righteousness and peace, with the will to work together in trust, to seek the common good, and to share with justice the resources of the earth. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Election Prayer Points
- Pray that God would rule over this election – that righteous leaders would be elected to govern this nation in truth and justice because, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice”. Proverbs 29:2
- Pray God’s blessing upon all our current parliamentarians and leaders, including their families and all the candidates of all the parties standing for this federal election. 1 Timothy 2:1-3
- Pray for a multiplication of prayer and unity across the Body of Christ in Australia that people will wake up to the dangers facing our nation and respond in prayer. Ephesians 5:14
- Pray for a Spiritual Awakening for Australia, Revival and Transformation for our nation and the proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:16
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