The Herald Weekly Vol XVII : 32

Pray for our Government

Complaining is a Singaporean hobby. It is something we all do. We complain about the hot weather, food, bad service, the transport system, the COEs, the education system, the CPF and the Government. As Christians, we ought to stop complaining but to pray and give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18), looking at circumstances and things in God’s perspective.

The apostle Paul had every reason to complain at the time he was writing his first letter to Timothy. He lived during a regime that hated Christ. He was unjustly put under house arrest for the gospel’s sake (Acts 24:5). Therefore, fresh in his mind was the humiliation by the Roman government which he suffered under, yet Paul knew his role as a Christian Roman citizen.

In 1 Timothy, Paul instructed Timothy who was pastoring the church at Ephesus to hold on to biblical truth and posses a clear conscience and sincere faith. Pastor Timothy was required to put the truth into practice. In relation to the government, he (with his flock) was to remember chiefly that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Paul knew that no authority was higher than God. Although the political, economic and social outlook was bleak with increasing hostility towards Christians, he knew that “the powers that be are ordained by God” (Romans 13:1). Paul had that confidence that no one can override God’s will and plan. God who sits upon His throne would sovereignly overrule. Paul regarded prayer neither as an appendix nor an afterthought in his Christian life. Prayer was an expression of his daily life.

Timothy might find it hard to swallow Paul’s words of instruction to pray for kings and those in authority because the Emperor Nero was a wicked and coldblooded emperor. He was infamous for killing his own mother, his wife Octavia and live a life of immorality and violence. He blamed the Christians for the fire that destroyed two-thirds of Rome and they were promptly arrested and used as human torches to light the night.

As Christians today, we ought to have the attitude of Paul and submit to the authority of God’s Word even though it may be difficult and seem a futile task for us to pray. We can ask ourselves, what help will it be to pray for those who are in power? Can God really overrule? We take comfort from Romans 13 and also Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

One example of this was when a concert by a Swedish satanic heavy metal rock band was scheduled to be held March in our shores this year, there was a sizable number of Christians who filed a petition against the concert. By the grace of God, it was finally cancelled by the minister of Home Affairs.

We should wrestle in prayer for our leaders and for our country especially amid global economic uncertainty, the decline of morality and the rise of terrorism. It is good and pertinent to take heed to Paul’s command to pray for our leaders and ask God to guide them so that we can live “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” Paul uses two adjectives to describe the advantages of praying for our leaders:

Quiet suggests tranquillity arising from without, that is the absence of outward disturbance.

Peaceable refers to tranquillity from within, which is the absence of inward disturbance.

The accompanying result with these two advantages is that we may live a life of godliness and honesty. The word godliness describes the reverential life towards God. Honesty speaks of the moral earnestness to please God and having that dignity before God and men.

Paul added that this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:2-3).

This peace and tranquillity is not meant for us as Christians to take a back seat, but that we may redeem the time to proclaim the gospel to the unsaved through our words and deeds. Our gracious and compassionate God would desire all men including kings and those in authority to recognize the truth of the gospel and to submit to the authority of the truth. Prayer does make a difference in national affairs and this brings about conditions that are favourable to the furtherance of the gospel.

As Singapore celebrates her 54th birthday in just a few days’ time, start praying for our nation and for our government leaders. Let us not be hearers but be doers of God’s Word. Prayers for our government has all its advantages for the church and nation and with the gospel that all men be saved. Do not let prayer be an afterthought. As Charles Spurgeon said, “Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the omnipotent muscle of God.” Can our diligent, heartfelt prayers make a difference for the future? Most certainly.

Rev Quek Keng Khwang
Life B-P Church Weekly, 4 Aug 2019

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