Our Nation’s annual
July 4th celebration is certainly one in which
as Christians can wholeheartedly participate. No nation has
greater longstanding freedom to the Lord’s Church as the United States.
While believers around the world are suffering
persecution, while many are being put to death or thrown in
for their faith, we are free. We are presently able to read
Word, preach the Word, distribute tracts, witness and gather together
for worship without the threat of harm.
As we celebrate this
noble holiday, we must praise God for this
freedom. We must also continue to pray that our religious
will not be taken away. The Apostle Paul commands the Church to pray
for their political leaders in 1 Timothy
First of all,
then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions
and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of
all men, for kings and all who are in
authority, so that we may lead a tranquil
life in all godliness and dignity.
Most, if not all
Christians pray for their unsaved friends and family
but Paul’s instruction is for the believer to broaden his
concerns. We are to pray for all mankind, including kings,
who are in authority over us. If this command is carried out,
man is left without intercession. We cannot pray too widely.
In verse 2, Paul
explains that great spiritual benefit is gained when
pray for those who are in authority over them – “so that
may lead a tranquil life.” The word “tranquil” places the
on the absence of outside disturbances. “Quiet” puts
focus on the absence of internal disturbances.
Here Paul indicates
that we are to pray for our political leaders so
under their protection we may be spared the hostility which
is directed by fallen men against genuine Christianity. Interestingly,
Nero was the Emperor of the Roman Empire when Paul wrote this
letter to the Ephesian Church. Nero was a
of the Christian faith and the one who put both Paul
Peter to death.
We then are to pray
for our rulers no matter how unreasonable they are. Since
Christians must be subject to rulers who may persecute them,
necessary t o overrule them. In this way we may be spared troubles
any distress within.
This was the priority
of the early Christian church which faced great peril
persecution at the hand of the Roman Empire.
Tertulian, an early Church
urged the local churches to pray for:
. . .
long life, secure dominion, a
safe home, a faithful senate, a
and a world at peace. The Christian is the enemy of
man, least of all of the Emperor, for we know that, since he has
been appointed by God, it is necessary
that we should love him, and
reverence him and honor him, and desire his safety, together
with that of the whole Roman Empire.
Another Church father,
Cyprian, writing to Emperor Demetrianus,
speaks of the Christian church as “sacrificing and placating God night
and day for your peace
of the ancient church at Antioch wrote:
The honor that
I will give the Emperor is all the greater, because I will
not worship him, but I will pray for him
. . . Those give real honor to the Emperor who are well-disposed to
him, who obey him, and who pray for him.
Justin Martyr writes:
We worship God
alone, but in all other things we gladly serve you,
acknowledging kings and rulers of men,
and praying that they may be found to
have pure reason with kingly power.
corporately, we need to make prayer for our leaders a priority. A good
time to renew this commitment is the 4th of July
celebration. This is
God commands. There is a great blessing of “tranquility” and
to this command. And this was the priority for
the early Christian Church
which prayed fervently and continually even for the evil Emperors whom
God placed over them.
In closing, I quote
from John MacArthur who states:
If the church
today took the time and energy it spends on political
and lobbying and
poured them into intercessory prayer, we might
see a profound impact on our nation. We have all too
often forgotten that “the weapons of our
warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful
for the destruction of fortresses” (2 Cor
10:4). The key to changing a nation is
the salvation of sinners, and that calls for faithful prayer.