Grace Extending


Praying for Our Nation and Ourselves in Light of God's Word

Heavenly Father, as our nations think and talks about election day, we come to you as a pilgrim people; as "sojourners and exiles" (I Peter 2:11) in a world that is "passing away along with its desires" (I John 2:17).

But though our "citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20), you have called us "seek the welfare of the city [of the state, of the nation] where" you have placed us as exiles, "and [to] pray to the [You] on its behalf, for in its welfare [we] will find [our] welfare." (Jeremiah 29:7). You have instructed us "that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people," and specifically, "for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." (1 Timothy 2:1–2). And so we pray, Father.

But your Son also told us that we "are the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" and that we should "let [our] light shine before others, so that they may see [our] good works and give glory to [you] Father" (Matthew 5:13-14, 16).

What is good? You have "told us what is good... and what [you] require of [us]... to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [you]" (Micah 6:8). 

And so, yes, let us pray, Lord God; but let us also serve and participate and speak "for the welfare of the city [of the state, of the nation]". But let us do so as our hearts and minds dwell regularly on "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, [anything of] excellence... anything worthy of praise..." (Philippians 4:8). 

And as we do this, Father, hear our prayers. Please bless "the governing authorities... [that] have been instituted by [you]." For they are your "servant[s] for [our] good." As we look to those who lead, because of their office, Father, because all of them are your "servants", let us pay "to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed." (Romans 13:1–7)

You tell us that a leader's "heart is a stream of water in [your] hand," and you "[turn] it wherever [you] will." (Proverbs 21:1) So we ask that you would turn the hearts of our current and future leaders to righteousness and justice.

But we also come in a spirit of confession, Father, for your word reminds us that "the appointed time has grown very short... [and that] from now on... those who deal with the world [should live] as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away." (1 Corinthians 7:29–31). 

But far too often, we have ignored this word; we have forgotten that "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh" (2 Corinthians 10:4). You have warned us, "Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation" (Psalm 146:3), but we often ignore you. Please remind us afresh that...

It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes. (Psalm 118:8–9)

May we not "be conformed to this world" in regard to its political excesses and idolatry, "but [instead] be transformed by the renewal of [our] mind[s]" (Romans 12:2), according "the living and abiding word of God" (1 Peter 1:23) and not the 24-hour news cycle or any political platform.

While many today manipulate with fear, let us cry out with the psalmist, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?" (Psalm 56:3–4)

While many stoke the fires of division, remind us of your words, Jesus, that "blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9)

While many call good evil and evil good, help us to "abstain from the passions of the flesh" and "keep [our] conduct among [unbelievers] honorable, so that when they speak against [us] as evildoers, they may see [our] good deeds and glorify [you] God on the day of visitation." (I Peter 2:11-12)

While many speak viciously against political opponents, let us "be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people." (Titus 3:1–2)

And help us, Father, to remember above all things, that "Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases" (Psalm 115:3), and that "the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales" (Isaiah 40:15); help us to remember that you are the God who "changes times and seasons; [who] removes kings and sets up kings" (Daniel 2:21); that "[your] dominion is an everlasting dominion, and [your] kingdom endures from generation to generation; [that] all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and [you do] according to [your] will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay [your] hand or say to [you], 'What have you done?'" (Daniel 4:34-35); that one day we will hear "loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)

In all this, may we "seek first [your] kingdom... and [your] righteousness" (Matthew 6:33), believing that the highest "welfare of the city" is found only in "Jesus Christ and him crucified" (I Corinthians 2:2), for while every nation and leader will perish, "of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:7). For that reason, let us "become all things to all people, that by all means [we] might save some." Let us "do it all for the sake of the gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:22–23), for "it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes", regardless of party affiliation or political opinion.

Until that day when "the leaves of the tree [of life] [are] for the healing of the nations" (Revelation 22:2), work through your pilgrim people to that end, Father. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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