Many are wondering what the future holds. One notable entry I noticed on FaceBook the day after the election was a picture of blackness depicting how the person felt the day after. So no doubt feelings and disappointments for many are at an all time low. This article is written regardless of who you voted for or how you felt the day after. For I am certain that there are probably just as many who are celebrating as much as those who are feeling disappointed.
Yet either wallowing in disappointment or on the other hand riding the excitement of the election for change is not to be the main addendum to this long political campaign. As the new government gets down to setting up shop and starting the work so we too as Christians must get on our knees. We as Christians do not have the option of letting our personal disagreement with our political leaders prevent us from praying for them. As we prayed for Mr. Stephen Harper, we will also pray for Mr. Justin Trudeau. Duty demands it.
The apostle Peter wrote that believers are to “…therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man (I.e. authority) for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good…Honour all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king” (1 Peter 2:13-14, 17).
Paul wrote to Timothy, “Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
My wife graciously reminded me yesterday how difficult it must have been for Peter and for Paul to write these words. Because who was the emperor when they wrote these words? None other than one of the most notorious political leaders of history, “Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus”, known generally and horrifically as Nero.
I cannot be certain what his hair looked like…though a statue bust makes it look pretty wavey. History does record for us that Nero murdered his own mother his step brother and both of his wives. He was known for his grotesque brutality to those closest to him. And if that was how he treated his own family one can only imagine how history records how he treated those outside of his family. According to the ancient Roman historian Tacitus, in 64 AD Nero is believed to have started a fire in order to clear land for a new palace complex. Nero is infamously known as the emperor who played the fiddle while Rome was burning. Tragically the fire consumed roughly half of Rome and with his popularity suffering greatly for many different reason… So what does Nero do? He decides to blame the fire on Christians. Tacitus also records for us that, among other things, the early Roman followers of Jesus “were covered with the skins of wild animals and then torn apart by dogs, some were crucified, some were burned at torches to light as night.” (The One Year Christian History, p. 322)
Yes, we can be thankful that none of our Canadian political leaders local, provincial, federal, present day or historical can claim such infamous stories. But as leaders of our country they still have a great deal to be accountable for. Yet we, as believers, are called to pray for those who are in authority. God’s Word is clear on this principle…and we, as Christians must do it.
So how then, should we pray for Prime Minister designate Trudeau? How do we pray for those we may not agree with politically, socially or spiritually? How do we pray for those who are in authority over us? How do we truly pray for them…maybe you respect him, or maybe you don’t. Regardless, how do we pray for those who may legislate policies and decisions that we do not agree with?
- PRAY FOR HIS HEALTH & SAFETY…In Ezra 6:10, the pagan Babylonian king Darius located a letter from king Cyrus requesting God’s faithful people in Jerusalem to pray for his life and the lives of his sons. I am certain that our Prime Minister designate Mr Justin Trudeau has great security to protect him. But still…we should pray for the safety of him and his young family.
- PRAY THAT HE WOULD UPHOLD JUSTICE…The government is fundamentally given the opportunity and responsibility to honour and protect its citizens. We need to pray that they will uphold truth and justice. Likewise, they are also responsible to punish those who break the law.(See also: Romans 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:14). To than end, we should ask the Lord that those in authority at all levels of governance would fulfill them well.
- PRAY THAT HE WOULD PURSUE AND FOLLOW TRUTH…In the Old Testament account of young king Manasseh, he came to power as a twelve year old and ended up reigning 55 years. Scripture records that “he did evil in the sight of the Lord…” But finally the Lord got a hold Manasseh’s attention and in his affliction he called out to the Lord his God, and “…humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.” When a leader is not following the ways of the Lord we need to pray that they would follow the Lord’s ways and repent if they don’t. The great news about Manasseh is that he repented and ended up knowing who God was. (2 Chronicles 33:1-20) should remind Christians that for those in government leadership, personal character and political actions are entwined. Yet the account of Manasseh really should remind us that even evil men, when they repent sincerely, can be used by God to restore what they have ruined. So pray for the hearts of all our leaders to be turned toward God and His Word.
- PRAY THAT THEY WOULD GOVERN WITH WISDOM…Jeremiah sent a letter of God’s Word to the elders who had been carried away from Jerusalem to captivity in Babylon teaching them to “seek the peace (i.e. welfare)of the city” where they would be taken. “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace, you will have peace.” Jeremiah 29:7 Imagine seeking the peace/welfare of the land in which we live. Imagine what that looks like. Pray that Justin Trudeau will govern well with wisdom and integrity. Pray that our parliament would govern with wisdom for the “peace/welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7), not for personal gain nor for the advantage of a favoured few. Their concern must be for the well-being of all.
- PRAY THAT GOD WOULD ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSES THROUGH THEM…Regardless of their willingness to be used by Him. Proverbs 21:1 “…the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will.” Even those who resist Him God still fulfills His plans and purpose. In your prayers for our new Prime Minister and his government..remember Who is truly sovereign. God is, and Him alone. “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break/tear off their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords (ropes) from us.’ He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision (i.e. He ridicules them)” Psalm 2:2-4. (It should be noted that it is God who ridicules…not you and I)
“Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the islands as a very little thing. And Lebanon (i.e. all nations) is not sufficient to burn (i.e. they are as nothing), and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless…It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless (i.e. meaningless). Scarcely shall they be planted; scarcely shall they be sown; scarcely shall their stock (i.e. tree) take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble” Isaiah 40:15, 17; 22-24 (Note: bracketed are alternate translations). The terminology used in this passage makes very clear that God is not threatened at all by those who may be full of themselves, maybe drunk with power like Nero and possibly believe they can unseat His omnipotent and eternal rule. God sees them…the Nero’s, the Putin’s, the Obama’s and the Harper’s and the Trudeau’s) as nothing more than grasshoppers. So there is nothing for you and I to be overly concerned about either. But they do need us to pray for them and bring them before the mercy seat of the Most High God, who does rule in the kingdoms of man.
Daniel 4:17 “…the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowliest of men.”