How to Pray for Our Government
The Book of Acts – Part 80
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church – March 29, 2015
*Church: We need to pray for our government. We need to pray for our leaders. That’s what the Apostle Paul urges us to do 1 Timothy 2:1-6. There, Paul said:
1. Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,
2. for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
3. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
4. who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
5. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
6. who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
*When we think about our great history, we can be sure that God’s people were praying. When we think about the Biblical principles upon which our nation was founded, and the godly men who led us so well, we can be sure God’s people were praying. And when we think about the soldiers who served and sacrificed for our freedom, we can be sure God’s people were praying.
*Now we should be praying for our country, and tonight’s Scripture shows us how to pray.
1. First: Pray for a government that protects the innocent.
*In these verses Paul was an innocent man very much in need of protection. And he got that protection from the soldiers of Rome.
*Earlier in this chapter, a bloodthirsty mob of Jews quieted down long enough to listen to part of Paul’s Christian testimony. But when Paul told the crowd that God had sent him to the hated, heathen Gentiles, vs. 22-24 say:
22. . . they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!”
23. Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air,
24. the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him.
*Acts 23:10 tells us that the next day, a great disagreement arose between the Jewish religious parties. And the Roman commander “fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.”
*Good government should protect the innocent, and that’s the kind of government to pray for.
*Most of us know that during the Vietnam War, John McCain was held prisoner by an ungodly, Communist government. Here is a small part of his testimony from that time:
-“In the final years of our imprisonment, the North Vietnamese moved us from small cells with one or two prisoners to large rooms with as many as 30-40 men to a room. We preferred this situation for the companionship and strength we could draw from our fellow prisoners.
*In addition to moving us to new quarters, our captors also let us receive packages and letters from home. Many men received word from their families for the first time in several years. The improved conditions were a result of public pressure put on the North Vietnamese by the American public.
*In our cell was one Navy officer, Lt. Commander Mike Christian. Over a period of time Mike had gathered bits and pieces of red and white cloth from various packages. Using a piece of bamboo, he had fashioned into a needle, Mike sewed a United States flag on the inside of his shirt, one of the blue pajama tops we all wore.
*Every night in our cell, Mike would put his shirt on the wall, and we would say the pledge of allegiance. I know that the pledge of allegiance may not be the most important aspect of our day now. But I can tell you that at the time it was the most important aspect of our lives. This had been going on for some time until one of the guards came in as we were reciting our pledge. They ripped the flag off the wall and dragged Mike out. He was beaten for several hours and then thrown back into the cell.
*Later that night, as we were settling down to sleep on the concrete slabs that were our beds, I looked over to the spot where the guards had thrown Mike. There, under the solitary light bulb hanging from the ceiling, I saw Mike. Still bloody and his face swollen beyond recognition, Mike was gathering bits and pieces of cloth together. He was sewing a new American flag.” (1)
“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” —Psalms 11:3
I believe our nation is in trouble today, probably more than I’ve seen in my lifetime. We are contending with issues that are causing the very foundation of our country to crumble. Our moral and spiritual roots are eroding, the economy is misleading, family life is disintegrating, and political forces are at unprecedented odds. There seem to be very few leaders who will take a stand for God and for His Word.
It can be tempting to believe that America has reached a point of no return. While these factors cause despair, we are reminded in Scripture that with God, nothing is impossible. No problem is too great for Him. Seasons of distress and uncertainty and hardship call for faithful, fervent prayer by God’s people and remind us of our responsibility to humble ourselves before Almighty God. We cannot expect healing to come to our nation apart from obedience to God through His Holy Word.
God longs for His people to humble themselves and to seek forgiveness and pray for guidance. God’s Word says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). The Bible commands that we repent of our sins and turn to Almighty God. And because we are confident that we serve a God of mercy and compassion, we know that He stands ready to respond to our cries out of the abundance of His divine wisdom.
It is a crucial time for us to individually and collectively seek God’s divine intervention for the challenges facing us. We need to pray not only for our nation, but we need to pray for our leaders, for all those who govern us, that they will turn to God with humble hearts and follow Him. Our military leaders need our prayers as we have dedicated men and women serving on battlefields and sacrificing their blood to protect our nation and many innocent people around the world. God is faithful to bless those who turn to Him.
Pray that as a nation we would return to God. As we call on God, let us do so by genuine faith, believing that He hears our prayers. God can heal this great land, for which our forefathers fought and died. We need spiritual renewal, we need a revival in America, and we need each and everyone to pray. Lord, Hear Our Cry! —Franklin Graham
Table of contents
What you can do:
- Download this free prayer guide on how to pray for those in authority: 30 Ways to Pray Authority
- Download this free ELECTION PRAYER GUIDE
- Order your free 31-day prayer map/guide for the United States from Every Home for Christ
- Special thanks to our friends at Intercessors for America for the prayer guides. Learn more at ifapray.org
- Download a Family Prayer Guide
- Download a Free Curriculum from Gospel Light on Prayer
- Download a Youth Group Prayer Guide and a Prayer Guide Series from Dr. Henry Blackaby
- 30-day prayer guide covering all the spheres of leadership
- Pray for Education in America
- Pray for Media and Entertainment in America
“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 Timothy 2:1-2
“Provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers” Exodus 18:21
> GET PRAYER GUIDE: How to Pray for Government Leaders
God wants you and your loved ones to live in safety, liberty, righteousness and abundance. Based on the authority of the Word of God, Americans recognize five key leadership requirements. Leaders are to:
1. Be Christians who fear God 2. Be honest 3. Hate covetousness 4. Insist to have Christian religious liberty 5. Demand our God-given unalienable rights Exodus 18:21, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Mark 12:30, Genesis 1:27
Praying for leaders to “fear the LORD and depart from evil” as Proverbs 3:7 says, with the other points listed, is the most Biblical way to pray. Doing this gives Americans God’s protection and blessings.
We Pray for Leaders so We Can Freely Serve God
Many people quote 1 Timothy 2:1 to pray for leaders. But what is the reason that God says to pray? The main reason we pray for government is found in verse 2. Here is the full sentence:
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2
So, to help us know how to pray, we must ask what type of prayer will result in Christians having a quiet and peaceable life?
Prayer Points – What to Pray
As Christians, we want to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel. Our prayers are to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus prayed, “Your Kingdom come”. Therefore, it is the duty of the USA to do God’s will. So, the Biblical prayer for leaders is that they:
- Fear the LORD and Depart from Evil – Obey God
* “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king” Isaiah 33:22. “He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” 2 Samuel 23:3. “Fear God” Exodus 18:21.
* “Fear the LORD and depart from evil” Proverbs 3:7. To be blessed, we pray for leaders to obey God and to depart from: false gods, not recognizing God’s authority in government, homosexual sin, abortion, opposing Christian liberty, etc…
- Be Honest; Keep Their Oath to Obey the Constitution
* “Men of truth” Exodus 18:21.
- Hate Covetousness; Have the Lowest Taxes Possible
* “Hating covetousness.” Exodus 18:21.
- Insist to Have Christian Religious Liberty
* “We ought to obey God rather than men” Acts 5:29. See Mark 12:30.
* The USA stands for Christian freedom. Our Christian founders opposed “freedom of all religions,” because that provokes God to wrath and the USA could “perish” as God‘s judgment (Deuteronomy 8:19). We serve the LORD. He is the true God. That is why the founders put the Bible in school – not false gods, and Congress paid Christian chaplains to pray in Jesus’ name.
- Demand God’s Unalienable Rights for Americans
* “For conscience sake” 1 Corinthians 10:28. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him” Genesis 1:27.
> GET BROCHURE: How to Pray for Government Leaders
Where do our rights come from? Our rights come from God, not government. Man is made in the image of God and has unalienable rights to live a holy life, including life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, property and conscience. We give an account of our life to Jesus on the Judgment Day. In contrast, you may hear people mention rights to sin, such as “a woman’s right to choose abortion” and transgender rights,” but these are Satan-given rights. Our founders made laws based on the Holy Bible so God would bless the USA. See the book, SAVE AMERICA, by Steven Andrew for more information.
First Chief Justice John Jay, an upright Christian, said, “Security under our constitution is given to the rights of conscience … They are by nature subject to no control but that of Deity …”
The #1 Prayer Mistake to Avoid
It is wrong to pray for leaders that are against God to have stamina, strength or endurance, or to have protection or wisdom. Would you pray for a thief to have strength or to be protected? No. The ungodly
are in rebellion to God. That is why Proverbs 3:33 says the wicked are cursed and can’t bless us.
A wicked person doesn’t have wisdom, because “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” Proverbs 9:10. God says, “neither be partaker of other men’s sins” 1 Timothy 5:22. John Adams said, “Let the pulpits thunder against oppression .”
What About Unrepentant Leaders and Tyrants?
We want God’s favor. If a politician is in rebellion to God with false gods, abortion, homosexual or other sins, the Bible teaches to cry out to God for a Christian to replace them immediately, so God does not
judge us for their sins. Israel went into captivity for the evil kings’ sins.
“Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Therefore the wrath of the LORD is upon you.” 2 Chronicles 19:2. “From such turn away“ 2 Timothy 3:5. “When the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer… who delivered them…” Judges 3:9. See James 4:4, Romans 16:7, 1 Corinthians 5:13, Galatians 1:9 and Acts 5:29.
> GET BROCHURE: How to Pray for Government Leaders
Write the names of your representatives and pray for them to to fear God, be honest, hate covetousness, demand Christian religious liberty and to insist to have God given rights. If a leader refuses to follow God, then cry out to God for a Christian to replace them immediately, so we are not judged for their sin. We must be on God’s side (Judges 3:9, 2 Cor. 6:14-18, 2 Chronicles 7:14).
President: Donald Trump Vice-President: Mike Pence
House of Representatives: _____________________________________
Supreme Court: ______________________________________________
State Legislators: ____________________________________________
State Court: ________________________________________________
Local Court: ________________________________________________
Sheriff and Police: ___________________________________________
School Board: _______________________________________________
Military Leaders: ____________________________________________
Turn on the news and you will almost immediately hear about our government.
Decisions being made, policies being changed, leaders being fired, accusations against leaders, etc. And believers can be tempted to fear for our nation or grumble about our leaders. But I often wonder, do we pray for our leaders as much as we grumble about them? Do we pray for our nation as much as we fear for it? Here are some ways to pray for our nation.
Jesus gave us a number of instructions on how to pray. First he said:
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (MT 6.9-10)
There are various interpretations of what the kingdom is, but one thing I am sure of is that God’s kingdom is where God rules.
When I pray for God’s kingdom to come I pray for his rule to come, for salvation to come, for people to be saved. The Bible also makes it clear that God’s will is to save people (1 Ti 2:4).
So the first thing we can pray for our nation is that he would bring his rule and let his will be done and save multitudes. Pray that God will bring his kingdom rule into the lives of our leaders and save them. I regularly pray that God will save our President and his family, and that he will save every Senator, Representative and Supreme Court Justice and that he will save thousands of government workers.
And God tells us that we should pray for our leaders, whether we like them or not, that they would lead in such a way that we might enjoy peace:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings 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. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 TI 2.1-4
Why does God tell us to pray for our leaders, especially that we might have peace? Because God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
It is far easier to spread the gospel in a climate of peace than when there is war and persecution. I have read that throughout history, revivals have often ended when wars broke out. So pray for our leaders, that they will promote peace so the gospel might spread and multitudes be saved.
Pray that God will direct the hearts of our leaders.
The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes. PR 21.1 (NASB).
You may completely disagree with our leaders. They may be wicked people who do not seek the Lord. Yet God can direct their hearts as easily as a channel of water. He can turn their hearts any way he wishes.
So pray that God will move our leader’s hearts to promote righteousness and life and peace. Pray that he moves our leaders to put an end to abortion. Pray that God will give our leaders wisdom in every area.
And as Paul told Timothy, we should offer up thanksgiving regularly – for our government, for the peace he has given our nation, for his mercy and protection of us. We are so blessed to live in this nation and God has been so merciful and kind to us.
So pray for our leaders and nation regularly. Pray that God will bring his kingdom and save multitudes. Pray for God to move the hearts of our leaders so we can enjoy peace and the gospel can spread. And thank God for his kindness to us. You can pray something like this:
Father, I pray that your kingdom would come and your will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. I pray that your Name and the name of Jesus would be honored in every place. That you would fill the earth with the knowledge of your glory. That praise would ascend to your name in every place. That the gospel would go forth in power to every nation and people. Please save multitudes from every tribe and tongue.
Please save multitudes in the United States. Please work in Donald Trump and his family. Please save every one of our Senators, Representatives, Supreme Court Judges. Please place godly men and women in office. Please turn the hearts of our leaders to seek you and fear you and promote righteousness and life. Please give our leaders wisdom. Please have mercy on our nation, and rescue millions. Please protect our nation and continue to grant us peace and religious freedom. Please bring an end to abortion. Please change the hearts of multitudes regarding abortion.