In these turbulent and uncertain times of an ongoing pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and challenging economic headwinds, the importance of a good, honest, effective, and stable government cannot be overstated. In such times, it is appropriate to be reminded of Paul’s word in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 which instructs us to pray for “kings and all who are in authority.” This means praying for our Government, including the Cabinet and Parliament, Civil Service, and Judiciary. Let us look at this passage for answers to two questions:
Why should we regularly pray for the Government?
Among other reasons, 1 Timothy 2:2b explains that their decisions and policies impact our life and facilitate or hinder the pursuit of godliness. Paul also implies in 1 Timothy 2:3-4 that praying for the Government will contribute to people coming to know the truth and being saved. Therefore, we pray for the Government because doing so will help us in our pursuit of godliness and will also contribute to people being saved.
What should we pray for the Government?
Notice firstly that Paul urges that “thanksgivings” be made (1 Timothy 2:1). Truly, there’s much to thank God for concerning our Government. By and large, it has been foresighted, efficient, and effective, and has done much good for our nation over the last 5 decades. We can thank God for the honest, capable, and dedicated men and women that God has appointed to positions of leadership in the Government and for the results they have achieved. As we thank God for these leaders, it is appropriate to ask God to bless them and their families.
Secondly, Paul suggests that we should pray for the Government to govern in such a way as to promote justice, order, and peace in society while facilitating decent and godly living among its people. So, we should pray for wisdom, courage, influence, ideas, and resources for the Government to put in place policies that look after our well-being; that promote justice and order, peace and harmony, and safety and security in our nation. At the same time, these policies should not prevent us from pursuing godliness and righteousness but rather, help us do so. You can imagine how difficult it is for any government to be able to achieve these goals given the diversity of our people and their beliefs, interests, and values. This is especially true when considering the pressures and challenges we face as a small nation that is so connected to the rest of the world and so dependent on them. Hence our Government needs our prayers. Pray for the pressures and challenges that it faces and for the success in what it sets itself to do. One particular area of concern for prayer is that the Government will be able to institute and uphold regulations and policies that will uphold public morality and encourage decent and godly living that will ultimately bless our nation.
Thirdly, knowing that God’s desire is for all men “to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4), let us pray for those in Government who do not know Jesus to have opportunities to hear about Jesus and encounter Him and come to a saving knowledge of Him.
Other parts of the Bible have much to say about what else we can pray for the Government.
As we celebrate on National Day next Tuesday, will you pause to pray for the Government? When you see various Cabinet ministers and MPs at the parade, pray for them. When you watch the President inspecting the Guard of Honour, pray for the Government. At different junctures throughout the parade, pray for the Government. And after National Day, make it a personal habit to pray regularly for the Government. For a start, why not use the following verses to pray for our Government every day in the coming week?
Monday: 1 Peter 2:13-14
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
Tuesday: Psalm 72:1-2
Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s son. May he judge Your people with righteousness and Your afflicted with justice.
Wednesday: Psalm 72:12-13
For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, the afflicted also, and him who has no helper. He will have compassion on the poor and needy, and the lives of the needy he will save.
Thursday: 1 Timothy 2:3-4
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Friday: 2 Chronicles 16:9a
For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
Saturday: Psalm 33:18
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness,
Sunday: Jeremiah 29:7
Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’
All scriptures are quoted from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).
By Pastor Yong Tai Tong