“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,” 1 Timothy 2:1
The Bible is not a recommendation but instructions for living by faith. A significant amount of our stress and unrest in life is a result of the battle between the will of our flesh and the will of the Spirit. Our human nature fights to stay in control as our re-born spirit struggles to take the lead.
Romans 12:2 informs us to “no longer conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” How we respond to those in authority must be processed through God’s word, not our experience, emotion or personal philosophies.
God’s number one priority, post-salvation, is for you to be transformed. Every promise and blessing of God come under the umbrella of obedience. The right thing can be the wrong thing if it is not done the right way. Our actions don’t justify our means. God is as concerned with the process as the outcome. He is concerned with the development of your character and spirit more than He is with you winning an argument. When we do the right thing with the wrong motive or attitude, God will pause and deal with us, so that we don’t fall back into the pattern of our old nature.
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1
While not everyone in authority is a man or woman after God’s heart, God established the offices of authority. Historically you read in the Old Testament how God often used other nations and rulers carry out His will.
Paul gives us four actions to respond to those in authority correctly. Each instruction revolves around the discipline of prayer and gives us a diverse look at prayer.
One Discipline Four Measures
The word translated as supplication derives from a Greek verb that means “to ask with urgency based on a presumed need.” This word expresses a quick response to a situation or issue.
We supplant the power of God when we choose to rant and rave and not give praise and pray to the God who can do exceedingly above and beyond what we ask or hope for.
When our words are used to judge the actions of others, we do not represent God well nor do they change the situation. Stop, drop and pray. Your sense of justice is a God-given passion designed to fuel prayer not add fuel to the fire of dissension.
The Greek word translated ‘prayers’ is the common word for prayer. This command speaks to our everyday prayer time. We are instructed to make prayers for those in authority over us, in our regular quiet times.
Pray that God would give them wisdom, strength, and courage to do what is right. Pray that they would be bold and not succumb to political pressures but to God’s voice.
If the only time we mention our leader’s name is when we are unhappy with them, our unhappiness is a result of a lack of prayer for them.
Whereas supplication is driven by the emergent need and prayer is focused on routine, intercession is focused on the person. Intercession is speaking to God on behalf of someone else.
Our leaders may not;
be praying people,
know how to pray,
know that you are praying for them;
have a relationship with God,
but intercede on their behalf.
God honors intercessory prayers.
The fourth instruction may be the most difficult for us to do.
Giving thanks is not only healthy for our emotional well-being, giving thanks shapes our attitude and heart in prayer. It’s not possible to genuinely give thanks and pray for them and then use our words to judge and criticize them. One act nullifies the other.
If your actions towards those in leadership are contrary to what the scripture teaches, repent and begin to approach those in authority from a biblical perspective. The odds for change will greatly increase when we make prayer for those in authority our response.