of July is a celebration of our American liberty. Of course for believers, it
is also a celebration of our religious freedom, and a good reminder to pray.
annual July 4th celebration is certainly one in which we as
Christians can wholeheartedly participate. I believe that no nation has granted
greater longstanding freedom to the Lord’s Church as the United States. While
believers around the world are suffering great persecution, while many are being
put to death or thrown in prison for their faith, we are free. We are presently
able to read the Word, preach the Word, distribute tracts, witness and gather
together for worship without the threat of harm.
celebrate this noble holiday, we must praise God for this precious freedom. We
must also continue to pray that our religious liberties will not be taken away.
The Apostle Paul commands the Church to pray for their political leaders in 1
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 members, but Paul’s
instruction is for the believer to broaden his prayer concerns. We are to pray
for all mankind, including kings, and all who are in authority over us. If this
command is carried out, no man is left without intercession. We cannot pray too
In verse 2,
Paul explains that great spiritual benefit is gained when believers pray for
those who are in authority over them – “so that we may lead a tranquil life.”
The word “tranquil” places the emphasis on the absence of outside disturbances.
“Quiet” puts the focus on the absence of internal disturbances. Here Paul
indicates that we are to pray for our political leaders so that under their
protection we may be spared the hostility which naturally 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. He was a vile persecutor of the Christian faith
and the one who put both Paul and 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, prayer is necessary to
overrule them. In this way, we may be spared troubles without any distress
was the priority of the early Christian church which faced great peril of
persecution at the hand of the Roman Empire. Tertulian, an early Church
father, urged the local
churches to pray for:
. . long life, secure dominion, a safe home, a faithful senate, a righteous
people, and a world at peace. The Christian is the enemy of no 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.
Church father, Cyprian, writing to Emperor Demetrianus, speaks of the Christian
church as “sacrificing and placating God night and day for your peace and
of the ancient church at Antioch wrote:
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.
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.
closing, I quote from John MacArthur who states:
the church today took the time and energy it spends on political maneuvering 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.
Individually, with our families, and as a Church, let’s spend time this week in
prayer for America.