First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.-1 Timothy 2:1-4
We need to pray for our nation. We always need to pray for our nation, but in an election cycle our need for prayer is more obvious—especially in the year 2020. We are facing the outbreak of COVID-19 and a highly contentious response at both the State and Federal levels, riots due to social injustice and ethnic division, massive polarization over political views and court appointments, and the normal stuff like taxes, the job market, international trade, etc. Governing well has never been easy, but in 2020 it’s virtually impossible.
Despite those obvious needs for prayer, the apostle Paul gives us two fundamental and spiritual reasons for praying for our government/ culture. These reasons remind us what’s best about a functional society, and why it’s in our best interest to live in one.
1. Pray for our nation so that we may live out God’s calling in peace. In 1 Timothy 2:1-2 Paul calls us to pray for our leaders ““…so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” Good government facilitates a peaceful environment in which we can live out God’s calling for us—loving him with all that we are and loving others as much as ourselves.
2. Pray for our nation so that we may work at disciple-making. In 1 Timothy 2:3-4 Paul emphasizes that a peaceful society is good also because living out God’s calling will result in the making of disciples of Jesus. He reminds us that God “wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” A peaceful, well-ordered society allows for the gospel to spread through the freedom of Christians to live for God’s glory.
3. This doesn’t mean God doesn’t use turbulent times for our benefit. A peaceful society is the ideal for faith-driven living and disciple making. That doesn’t mean that trials and upheaval are bad for the church. In many other passages in the Bible God makes it clear that trials are good for spiritual health of Christians. Even so, it is good for us to live in peaceful communities and therefore it is good for us to pray for our government.
I invite you to join us in praying for our nation over the next four weeks. Let’s humble ourselves before the throne of God and beg him to intercede for his glory and our greater good.