The General Election in the UK is just around the corner so right now many Christians will be thinking about where to put their cross on the ballot paper on 7 May.
As you seek to decide how to vote we would like to share with you some of Derek’s teaching on why and how Christians should pray for their government and political leaders.
Healing through Prayer
An extract from Praying for the Government by Derek Prince to inspire your thinking and guide your prayers prior to the General Election.
How can we bring healing? I am going to speak to you about prayer. I will base my teaching on the first four verses of 1 Timothy chapter 2:
1 “I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;2 “for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.3 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;4 “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Let us consider these words.
Paul says, “First of all, pray!” If you bypass prayer, you can have all sorts of plans, systems and programmes, but you do not have the power to operate them. It is like having a building wired for electricity, but not connected to the generator. Nothing is going to work. The wires may be in good order and the light fixtures may be wonderful, but you are not going to get results, because there is no power.
The powerhouse of the Christian church is prayer, and Paul very logically says, “First of all, pray!” Then, what does he tell us to pray for? First, “for kings and all who are in authority.”
Now my experience is that the majority of God’s professing people scarcely ever pray for those in authority, let alone praying for them first. If you are an Anglican, I will grant you that in your prayer book there is a prayer for those in authority. It is a good thing it is there.
But I will tell you something else from personal experience as an Anglican. It is one thing to say a prayer, and another thing to pray. These two things are not the same. A lot of people say things out of a prayer book and if you ask them five minutes later what they said, they cannot remember. It is simply a formality.
What is the first specific topic for prayer? “All who are in authority”: the Queen, central government, local councillors, mayors, police commissioners, all. Do you pray for them? Which did you last do—criticise or pray? If you pray for people in authority, you will have less to criticise. God did not call you to criticise, He called you to pray. If you are not praying, you are disobedient. I am British, but I pray for the President of the United States.
What are we to pray for in relation to those in authority? It is the most logical unfolding of prayer that I can find anywhere in the Bible.
In the second part of verse we are told to pray “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” In one simple phrase: “good government”. Would you not agree to that? If we are to live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence, we must have good government.
In verse 3 Paul continues, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.” To what does “this” refer? To the preceding clause, “…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence”—more briefly, “that we may have good government”.