I read the article, another political one, and closed my eyes in the car.
“I don’t even know how to pray,” I confessed to Jeff. The urge is everywhere, “Pray for our country!” But how? Everyone has their own opinion, and it can feel dizzying at times.
Then,I find myself reminded of Christ’s method:
Men were His method. That is, people. People were his plan for reaching the world.
So then, we pray not “for our country” in a vague sense, but we pray for people. Specifically 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says,
“I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
1. PRAY FOR LEADERS
Robert Coleman echoed this in His classic book, The Master’s Plan of Evangelism:
“There is no use to pray vaguely for the world. The world is lost and blind in sin. The only hope for the world is for men and women to go to them with the Gospel of Salvation, and having won them to the Savior, not to leave them, but to work with them faithfully, patiently, painstakingly, until they become fruitful Christians savoring the world around them with the Redeemer’s love.” (109)
2. PRAY FOR LABORERS
Yes. We are to pray for people. And specifically, we are to pray for leaders, and then pray that laborers will go out into the world and make disciples, that is, to bring in a harvest of souls who will know, love, and follow Jesus Christ as King. Jesus says clearly,
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).
3. PRAY FOR LIVES ROOTED IN CHRIST
Notice in the 1 Timothy 2 passage, our prayer for people (esp. leaders) is linked to a lifestyle of Christlikeness — one that is peaceful, quiet, dignified, and godly. I dare say we all could use a dose of that in today’s political climate! Henri Nouwen, writing on Christian Leadership in 1989, wrote these timely words that seem especially applicable today, in the climate of our country.
“I have the impression that many of the debates within the Church around issues such as … homosexuality, birth control, abortion, and euthanasia take place on a primarily moral level. On that level, different parties battle about right or wrong. But that battle is often removed from the experience of God’s first love which lies at the base of all human relationships. Words like right-wing, reactionary, conservative, liberal, and left-wing are used to describe people’s opinions, and many discussions then seem more like political battles for power than spiritual searches for truth.
Christian leaders cannot simply be persons who have well-informed opinions about the burning issues of our time. Their leadership must be rooted in the permanent, intimate relationship with the incarnate Word, Jesus, and they need to find there the source for their words, advice, and guidance. … Dealing with burning issues without being rooted in a deep personal relationship with God easily leads to divisiveness because, before we know it, our sense of self is caught up in our opinion about a given subject. But when we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative.” (p. 30-32)
I don’t know about you, but it’s easy to be discouraged and disheartened when we look at our world today. BUT, when we fix our eyes on Jesus and His Word and not the latest campaign speech, we are empowered to PRAY strategically and effectively for the lost, for our leaders, for laborers, and for our lifestyles, that we would walk in humility and Christlikeness, rooted deeply in His unchanging love.
Praying. Thanks for reading.
We’ve all spent enough time and energy either lamenting the fact that the American people are considering Hillary Clinton as a political option, or lamenting the fact that the American people are considering Donald Trump as a political option. Or, what seems to be most popularly, lamenting that either of these people made it to this stage of the election.
So, the only logical conclusion is to take some time and think about how awesome Abraham Lincoln was.
Lincoln seems to me not only the model president, but also would have made a pretty fine King of Israel. Throughout the books of 1st and 2nd Chronicles, we see that the nation of Israel revolves around their relationship with God as manifested in the Temple (My thoughts here). The purpose of the King is so closely tied to the Temple — their rule depends on whether or not they do a good job instigating the correct officials and musicians in the Temple. In other words, their rule depends on how well they can lead their people in worship of God. We see a great example of this in Hezekiah, who leads his people in repentance and purification in 2 Chronicles 29:3-5:
“In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary.”
Hezekiah goes on to lead the people in collective repentance before God.
In August of 1861, Lincoln issues his Proclamation of a National Fast-Day, “Reccomend(ing) a day of public humiliation, prayer and fasting, to be observed by the people of the United states with religious solemnities, and the offering of fervent supplications to the Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States; His blessings on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace.” He goes on to say that “It is particularly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation (the Civil War), and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals, to humble ourselves before Him and to pray for His mercy,”
What an amazing man of God, to be able to call his proud nation to fall to their knees in submission to the Almighty God.
Let us pray with Lincoln, then, in this election season these things.
“Pray for his mercy — to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved, that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the reestablishment of the law, order and peace, throughout the wide extent of our country; and that inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under his guidance and blessing, by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all of its original excellence.”
Whatever the outcome of this election (and by the time some of you read this you’ll already know), God is sovereign. His rule and reign will never end. We can follow Lincoln’s lead, as he intended us to, and continue to pray for our leaders, our country, in a position of humility and awe.
For those who want to know How to pray for Nigeria, this is a compilation of prayers from the pencostal fellowship of Nigeria and the prayer outline they have for our beloved country Nigeria.
It is important that we all collectively pray for this country as this is ours, this is our first home and there will be no ohter nigeri aelsewhere except here.
So, let us pray for Nigeria.
How to pray for Nigeria: Let us all take our country out of Peril!
THANKSGIVING FOR NIGERIA
- Thank God that despite all the predictions and prophecies of doom and gloom we had peaceful elections and a new government.
- Thank God for disappointing those who wished that Nigeria would be a failed state. God frustrated all their plans, plots and designs against Nigeria.
- Thank God for the smooth and peaceful transition to a new government.
- Thank God that world leaders and nations are beginning to change their attitude towards Nigeria.
PRAYER FOR THE GOVERNMENT
- Pray that this administration will govern with wisdom and discretion.
- Pray that God will help the government to establish and strengthen systems that will tackle corruption in Nigeria.
- Pray that there will be understanding and cooperation between the president and his vice to provide purposeful leadership to Nigerians.
- Pray that the Vice President, Prof Osinbajo, would be like Joseph in the courts of Pharaoh. Pray that he will continue to find favour before God and men, especially President Buhari.
- Pray that Osinbajo would not be intimidated but will be bold to defend the church.
- Pray that God will grant sound health and mind to our leaders, especially President Buhari.
- Pray that the president will lead with justice and fairness. Pray and hold him by his word that he belongs to all.
- Ask God to frustrate any plans by special interest groups to wrongly influence the president.
- Pray that the president will focus on governance and not the promotion of Islam and his tribe.
- Pray that the fight against corruption will be thorough and that there will be no sacred cows or deliberate witch-hunt of political opponents.
- Pray for harmonious working relationship between the different arms of government – executive, legislature and judiciary.
- Pray that only the right people will scale through the screening exercise by the senate. Ask that the ministers will be men and women of proven character and vision to transform our nation.
PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH
- Let’s pray that God will expose and diminish the influence of false prophets and all those who subvert the purposes of God for the church in Nigeria.
- Let’s pray that the church in Nigeria will be awakened and embrace her missionary calling to the nations of the world.
- Let’s ask that God will provide the resources and that Christian leaders will judiciously apply them for the work of the kingdom.
- Let’s pray that God will uncover and frustrate any plans by the new government to hinder the church from fulfilling her ministry.
- Pray that church leaders will not be intimidated but will speak out boldly about the issues in our nation.
- Pray against deception and false doctrines that are rampant in some churches.
- Pray that God will stir up the heart of church leaders to be relentless in their pursuit of revival for the land.
- Pray that God will open the eyes of this government and cause them to see the persecution of Christians in the North. Pray that churches that were destroyed would be rebuilt and that the promises made to those who suffered losses will be honoured.
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How do we pray for our country and its leaders, current and future? Does our vote really matter? And for whom do we vote? Can we or our prayers help turn the tide of our nation? If you’re seeking answers for any of these questions, here’s a prayer that might help!
Lord God, we desperately need your wisdom. You have given us a great country, founded on principles and truths from Your Word. We need men and women who will honor You, trust You, and lead us once again back to You. We pray for servant leaders who love the things You love and who care more about others than themselves.
Give us leaders with discerning hearts, bold faith, and wise minds that model Your character. Teach them—and us—not just what is good, but what is best. Guide them in the way our country should go. Give them purity in their intentions, and godliness in their convictions. Energize their spirits and bodies physically and spiritually, and keep them emotionally secure in the knowledge of who You are—and whose they are. Help them to be bighearted and sincere, energetic in goodness, and courteous in their manners.
Raise up leaders with the greatest potential of godly leadership, those who can ease confusion, expose illusion, and heal delusion. You alone hold the power to turn the hearts of leaders, but You listen and use our prayers to move them into right action. Help us to be faithful to care and to pursue Your heart in prayer.
SEE ALSO: A Prayer for Peace Within
Help our leaders to be quick to admit failure, but ready to rebound in persistent resilience. Encourage them to choose wisely, and when they don’t know what to do, help them keep their eyes on You. Let them take a firm stand on issues that truly matter to You, regardless of the consequences or approval ratings. Make them God-pleasers, not puppets; leaders filled with conviction, not corruption.
As a nation, God, help us to desire righteousness more than rights, and to mirror sacrifice more than selfishness. You know us well, and You understand our flaws. Turn those weaknesses into strengths; bathe us with Your grace and mercy, though none of us deserve it. Fill us with the boldness to choose the kind of freedom that will benefit all, rather than a few. Open our eyes to see others as You do—with godly potential and value. But help us, too, to recognize our own pride in trying to elevate ourselves and others above You and Your purpose for our lives.
We need, You, God. Oh, how we need You! You have exercised nothing but faithfulness and fairness in Your treatment of our country, even when we’ve turned our back on You and forgotten Your goodness to us. Your discipline at times is hard, but You are just. Your purpose is always to draw us close to You, to bless us, and to make us a great nation who honors You. You are a good, good, Father—and Your love for us has a proven track record.
Forgive us for wanting our own way and making our own paths—often the ones paved with least resistance. Forgive us for fence-walking, or for ignoring completely the truths that can so easily set us free. Deliver us from mindless quarrels and destinations that lead us nowhere, but away from You. Free us from divisiveness, and melt our hardened hearts to love, not hate, and to heal, not debate.
SEE ALSO: A Prayer for When Things Seem Hopeless & Chaotic
Our history has cried for king-like leaders who will solve our problems and meet our needs. But there is only one King, and that is You, Lord. We have blindly sought answers from others to life’s unresolved questions through the years, but You are the only wise Counselor. We have longed for peace, but You are the only Peacemaker, and the only Prince of Peace. We’ve clung to our weapons of warfare, not as measures of defense, but as strongholds of selfish pride. We look at outward appearances; You see the heart. With You, nothing formed against us can prosper. Without You, we are nothing.
Make us a great nation, yes. But more than that, make us good, Lord, with a heartbeat that wants every person of every creed and color to know Your love, Your goodness, and Your worth. Make us wise as serpents, but gentle as doves. Turn our fears to faith, as we look to You and You alone for the future of our country. Give us God-confidence that no matter what happens, we will believe You are not only in control, but that You know exactly what is needed to accomplish Your purpose. Help us not to second-guess Your moves, but to move at Your command, always without hesitation.
We look to You and to You, only, Lord. Help us make wise decisions that move our country in the right direction. Help us to do our part in praying and in staying with what we know is right according to the truth of Your Word. Teach us to make our actions count and our words matter, and line them both up to Your sense of rightness, not ours. Guide us with Your eye; grip us with Your strong arm; teach us what we need to know to make our lives—and our nation—count for you. We pray for our leaders, but we ask You to make us both leaders and followers: leading in the way of Truth, and following those who honor You.
In the precious and powerful name of Jesus,
SEE ALSO: Prayers for Strength
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is an inspirational author, speaker, and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to encourage others heart to heart. She has written 11 books and over 1700 other articles, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. Her daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
Publication date: February 2, 2016
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
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