by Archbishop Glenn Davies, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney
Pray to God to have mercy on this nation.
“I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.”—Daniel 9:2-5
“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favour on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.”—Daniel 9:17-18
During Daniel’s life in exile, he lived under four different foreign kings and two empires. He had grown up in Judah, under the protection of a king of David’s line, yet in the providence of God he was captured and sent to Babylon for a university education that held no place for the Creator God or an understanding of his ways. Yet, by God’s grace, Daniel’s faith and witness enabled his wisdom to outshine all the other wise men of Babylon and he came to the attention of the kings, such that he was given great responsibility under their successive governments.
Prayer was a constant feature of Daniel’s life. Even when the threat of death might have persuaded him to desist, he would pray and offer thanks to God (Daniel 6:10).
Daniel 9 one of my favourite parts of the Old Testament. It begins with Daniel reading the prophet Jeremiah and recognising that God’s time of judgement in the nation is at an end. In response, Daniel does what Jeremiah predicted the Exiles would do: he prays (Jeremiah 29:12-14; Daniel 9:3). He prays for God to forgive Israel her sins and to fulfil his promises to his people. The chapter concludes with a stunning response from God, sent by his angel Gabriel, announcing the fulfilment of his promises—on perhaps a grander scale than Daniel had ever expected—culminating in the coming of the Messiah.
As Christians, we should always pray for our nation and its leaders. Paul exhorts us to pray for rulers “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 2:1-2). It would not be surprising that Daniel prayed accordingly, as he was certainly not afraid to call kings to repentance (Daniel 4:27).
Daniel lived in challenging times. He experienced the deprivation of his freedom in many ways. Yet he was a man of faith, and by God’s grace he was able to prosper. He held firm to his beliefs. He was a man of prayer. He looked for the coming of the Messiah.
May we, who have seen the salvation that has come in Christ, be no less prayerful that God would give us good government, for the benefit of all Australians and for the glory of his name.
Heavenly Father, all governments rule under your authority. In your mercy, give us governments who work for the good of those they rule, seeking your justice and peace in every law and action. Guide our leaders with your wisdom and power, so that everyone may live in peace and mutual trust. Give the people of this land a spirit of unselfishness, compassion, and fairness in public and private life. 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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