As our nation finds itself in yet another highly divisive election season, our tendency can be to draw firm lines between ourselves based on which candidates we support, and that can in turn lead to personal dislike for one another, anger towards those who lead, and eventually division.
As Christians, we are to live in a fine balance; standing for that which is true while seeking unity amongst ourselves whenever possible, standing firm in the faith while showing grace to those who do not, holding our leaders accountable while praying for their wisdom and well-being.
We are to learn from the words of Ezekiel 22:30, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”
We are to be those who stand in the gap, who lift up our nation with all it favors and faults before the throne of God, and pray that He continues to work in our midst.
Scriptures to Pray For Ourselves:
I Timothy 2:1-2 – 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.
I Peter 2:17 – Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
>Romans 13:1 – Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Jeremiah 29:7 – Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
II Chronicles 7:14 – if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Scriptures to Pray for our Leaders:
>Psalms 2:10-11 – Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.
>Proverbs 11:14 – For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.
>Proverbs 21:1 – The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.
>Job 12:23-25 – He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them.
>Proverbs 2:1-8 – My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2) turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— 3) indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4) and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5) then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6) For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7) He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8) for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
May we be faithful, informed and thoughtful when praying and talking to others about our politics, and as we ask for God’s wisdom and righteousness to be evident in our nation’s policies and leaders.
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.
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.
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,
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
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Parliament is now back in session in Westminster. We’ve had the party conference season, where the Lib Dems went to Brighton, Labour went to Manchester and the Conservatives went to Birmingham. Now they’ve all made the pilgrimage back to Westminster, and have begun another season of legislating for the nation. So what should we be praying for them?
Each of the major parties has a major role to play, whether they are in Coalition or Opposition. And each of the leaders therefore needs our prayers as they seek to serve the nation.
- David Cameron: Obviously the Prime Minister carries the greatest responsibility, and therefore we have a responsibility to pray for him all the more. One of the major pieces of news from the conference season recently is that the government is not on course to meet its deficit reduction targets, and is planning to make more cuts to further balance the books, probably to the welfare budget. Pray for a sense of fairness for David Cameron in this parliament, that any cuts don’t hit those who already can’t afford all their monthly bills.
- Ed Miliband: For the Leader of the Opposition my suggested prayer is for responsibility. In Opposition it can become easy to oppose everything, and to make promises that cannot be kept. Let’s pray for responsible opposition rather than opportunism.
- Nick Clegg: The Deputy Prime Minister knows a thing or two about making promises in opposition that cannot be kept in government. My suggested prayer for him though is for courage. He and the Lib Dems will want to speak up for the poorest and marginalised in society, as the government faces having to make further cuts. Let’s pray they do speak out on behalf of the vulnerable, and those who cannot speak up for themselves. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
I think Nick Clegg has actually had a great autumn of courage so far. His apology to his party and the country for breaking his pledge on tuition fees is the sort of thing that takes immense courage, since he knew he would probably be ridiculed again for the policy change. But since we have politicians who are not perfect, then isn’t it a great thing when they do apologise for breaking a promise? I think it would be great to see more of that sort of courage in all of our politicians.
For those of you who haven’t seen the parody video of his apology, it’s so good that it’s worth taking another look at here. But then once you’ve stopped laughing, do spare a moment to pray for him, for Miliband, and for Cameron.
Mark Williamson is a founding director of One Rock International, a training organisation resourcing missionary leaders across the globe. He’s also passionate about praying for London, getting into deep conversations, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna.