How to Pray for Our Governmental Leaders

Praying Through the Bible #47 | with Daniel Whyte III

TEXT: Psalm 20

We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible”. The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the new Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have done 46 messages in this series.

This is message #47 titled “How to Pray for Our Governmental Leaders.”

The psalm that we will look at tonight is different from other psalms because it is written from a different point-of-view. So far, each of the passages from Psalms that we have studied in this series have been written from a first person singular perspective — that is the perspective of King David. However, this psalm is written from a first person plural perspective and seems to be speaking of King David. Many students of the Bible have concluded that this psalm is actually a prayer that the people of Israel offered for their King which David later wrote down. In this prayer, the people of Israel acknowledge that there will be times of trouble under David’s rule, but they also affirm that they will trust in God and give thanks to God for his deliverance of them.

Sometimes, as Christians, we wonder what kind of perspective we should have regarding our government and our government’s leaders. We ask questions like: How involved should Christians be in politics? How should I react to President Obama? I disagree with this policy or that policy, so what can I do about it? We have a direct commandment by God in the New Testament that we ought to pray for our governmental leaders in 1 Timothy 2:1-4:

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, 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. For 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.”

We can learn from the example of the children of Israel and see how we as Christians should react to our government whether we agree or disagree with what the government does:

1. First of all, we see that the children of Israel understand that there will be trouble. The first thing they pray is, “the Lord hear thee in the day of trouble.” This day can refer to a single day or a period of time. Even though David was a man after God’s own heart, even though he was a good king, there was still trouble during his reign. For example, when Absalom rebelled and seized the throne in Jerusalem causing David and those who remained loyal to him to go on the run — that was a day of trouble. The civil war that ensued was a day of trouble. Even under the best leaders, there will be days of trouble, and the people of Israel understand that.

2. Secondly, we see who the children of Israel trusted in. In verse two, the people pray, ‘may the Lord send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion.’ The children of Israel know that even if they have a good leader like King David, their trust must still be in God, not in man. It is the Lord who will send help and strengthen the king in the day of trouble. Listen to what else the children of Israel have to say: “Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed.” “The anointed” is the king. This is where we get the phrase, “God save the king.” The Lord saving the king means to give deliverance or victory to the king.

3. Third, we see that the children of Israel thank God for his deliverance. In verse five, the people pray, “we will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners.” Here, the Israelites express their confidence that God will deliver their nation from the day of trouble. According to the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, “the raising of the banners signifies God’s victory over the enemies” of that nation. Just as the people trust God for deliverance, the praise for deliverance goes to God as well.

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