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… 1 Timothy 2.1, 2
If men will swarm the throne of heaven with prayer, God may be pleased to do exceeding abundantly above all that we’ve ever dared to ask or think.
That, at least, is what Paul implies in this exhortation to the men of Ephesus – and every place – to devote themselves to all kinds of prayer. It may well have been that the men of the early Church took this instruction seriously, for, as we know, the first Christians had a powerful impact on the culture, society, and world of their day.
Unlike, as continues to be painfully obvious, the Church in our day.
Not only does Paul command the men of the Church to a disciplined life of ongoing and fervent prayer, he also instructs us concerning the focus of those prayers. Christian men must devote themselves to prayer for all people, in particular, for civil authorities and others who hold places of influence in society.
Whom might that include? Government officials at all levels, to be sure. But also pastors, school teachers, university professors, writers and pundits, leaders in the business and professional arenas, directors on boards of various kinds, heads of households, and so forth.
Paul’s vision is of a torrent of prayer, going up continuously from the men of the Church on behalf of the leaders of communities and nations. I rather suspect that we are a long way from anything like this being in place among the men in the churches today. Getting to this involves two very large challenges.
The first is getting men to pray. We’ve discussed that sufficiently, I think.
The second is knowing what to pray when men come together to pray. How do we pray for the leaders of our communities and nation?
A few suggestions:
Genesis 6.3; 2 Thessalonians 2.7; Romans 1.18-32: Pray that God, by His Spirit, will strive mightily with the people for whom we are praying. Pray that He won’t give up on trying to convict them of sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn. 16.8-11), that He will send faithful witnesses to call them to repentance (Acts 17.30), and that He will convince them, by manifestations of the love of Christ and the unity of His Body, that Jesus really has been raised from the dead (Acts 6.1-7).
Daniel 4.19-27; Matthew 14.1-4; Acts 12.20-23: Pray that God will restrain the hubris of those in high places and give them humility to look upon their position as one of serving others before themselves. Pray that the Law of God, written on their hearts (Rom. 2.14, 15), would work to restrain sinful tendencies and selfish inclinations, illuminating their sin and driving them to seek relief in Jesus (Rom. 7.7; Gal. 3.21, 22).
Psalms 19.1-4; Proverbs 25.2; 1 Corinthians 10.31: Pray that they may be often struck with a sudden awareness of the presence and glory of God, observed and experienced in everyday situations and things. Pray that the knowledge of God, which they all possess (Rom. 1.18-20), would well up within them and summon them to seek the Lord according to His will (Acts 17.26, 27).
Matthew 28.18-20; 1 Peter 3.15: Pray that the Christians who are most likely involved with them in some way would live out the hope of glory, provoking curiosity and conversations about the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom.
Psalm 68.18 (cf. Eph. 4.8); Matthew 5.43-48; Romans 13.1-5: Give thanks to God for the gifts He gives even unbelieving people, that they might use them for His good purposes and become mindful that all their abilities and accomplishments are ultimately from Him.
Psalm 72; Matthew 6.10, 33; Revelation 11.15: Pray that God’s Kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven even through the works of unbelieving leaders, and in spite of their efforts to build, not the City of God but the City of Mann.
1 Corinthians 16.9; Ephesians 6.19, 20; Ephesians 5.15-17: Pray for yourself, and all believers, that we might recognize open doors of opportunity for bearing witness to others, and that we might be bold to go through those doors, making the most of every opportunity for proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Beyond this, try contacting as many of these people as you can, tell them you pray for them regularly, and ask if they have any requests. Who knows? Such a gesture might begin in them a change of mind and heart which could have eternal as well as temporal consequences.
Would it make a difference if men in every place began to assail, assault, swarm, and barrage the throne of heaven with prayers like these, giving God no rest until He begins to answer us exceeding abundantly beyond what we’ve ever dared to ask or think (Is. 62.6, 7)?
Well, we won’t know until you, and the men you enlist to join you, begin to pray.
Related texts: Look up the texts indicated as guides to prayer, and begin praying them today.
A conversation starter: "You know, I've been convicted lately of my need to pray for the leaders of our community and nation. Would you be willing to join me in this?"
T. M. Moore, Principal