Prayer - Authority Priority - No. 14
Financial crisis, physical threats, insecurities, in the nations and in our homes, a lack of focus and direction - these are functions of authority. Things that trouble us most rests with the people making decisions at the top. Everyone is subject to authority - no one is excluded. If that's the case, then where is the urgency to pray for those in authority. It should be the headliner of every intercessory prayer.
Honestly, praying for those in authority is usually not the first thing on our minds. In fact, it is sometimes difficult to pray for someone who might hold opposing views to our own - far easier to pray wisdom for those who agree with our own thoughts. So maybe we ought to think how their leadership impacts our lives and how desperately we need to be on our knees for righteous authority to prevail.
Specific instructions regarding worship in the church begins with prayer and the first on that list is to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Leaders establish the mission, articulate the plans and delegate tasks by discerning the ‘right people for the right job.' They oversee the progress of a work and it is their responsibility if the end result fails, even if someone else should shoulder the blame. Theirs is a lonely position that sometimes takes an unpopular stance. They will be the ones who are privy to the whole picture while the rest of us see only a portion of their perspective. The knowledge and wisdom of a leader often exceeds their own personal skill and experience. Further advice is then necessary for them to make bold and decisive moves to ensure a good end. Leaders provide the vision of unrealized dreams and many times have little historical reference to insure success. Administration is even listed among the spiritual gifts so it has to be a divine, God given ability that bears the weighty burden of leadership.
Is it little wonder that Paul places these leaders at the top of the list? What they do impacts us on every level of life.
How can we pray for them? E.M. Bounds says about the church and its leaders, " The church is divine, the treasure it encases is heavenly, but it bears the imprint of the human. The treasure is in earthen vessels, and it smacks of the vessel." But it will be these leaders (inside and outside the church) that shape the future and it will be urgent prayer that will make the difference between their righteous or regrettable authority.
I believe one of the reasons we are neglectful of praying for those in authority is because we've become so discouraged with human leadership that is more interested in the display of their own human powers than the posture of humility before an almighty Authority.
What might give us more confidence is to Whom we pray and His authority. With this perspective, your prayers for authority will make a difference. It is God who will give new vision, present truth, direct rightness, appoint gifting for the better good of the whole and not for individual glory. He need not seek the advice of others as he is the Author of all that was made and already knows the outcome. If our leaders are aligned with His Authority, we can have confidence in the future. If they have taken a path that opposes His leadership, we still have access to the power of the Holy Spirit to be our guide back to the truth.
Paramount is the fact that nothing surprises God. Certainly, we are in the midst of difficult times and leaders are being tested through devastating events. But with God as the premiere Authority, there is nothing that catches Him off guard - He is unflappable - there is no learning curve and He is already poised with His response when crisis occurs, offering His concrete hope. This is a God of love whose fierce intent is to restore us to unhindered communion and He will lead us.
What is stopping you right now to pause and pray for our leaders. Let us pray ....