The natural tendency after one’s preferred candidate loses an election is to try to undermine the new leader, looking for faults in the way he or she handles issues, and wishing them ill, just to justify our position that they shouldn’t have been elected in the first place. Such behaviour may be okay for the natural man, but, what does God expect from Christians in our relationship with our leaders? Are we to support and pray only for leaders we align with politically and philosophically? How are we to relate with leaders we don’t agree with, in policies, politics and even religious beliefs? We shall examine the Scriptures for a clear understanding of our responsibilities as Christians towards our political leaders.
1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people —
1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
1 Timothy 2:3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
1 Timothy 2:4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (NIV).
The Scripture urges us to pray for kings and all those in authority, so that we may live in peace as we carry on with our pursuits in life. It’s instructive to note that Paul was soliciting prayers for dictators, autocrats and heathen rulers here, not for democratically elected leaders. These were the same emperors, kings and governors who were the foremost and fiercest persecutors of Christians and Christianity in the time of Paul, yet he called for prayers for them to govern well, so that there would be peace and security, to enable Christians carry on with their business of worshipping God and evangelising the world. The different and divergent religious philosophies of the kings and those in authority wasn’t a hindrance to pray for peace and prosperity during their reign. Their wickedness towards Christians didn’t induce a reciprocal hatred and sabotage of their government by Christians. However evil they were, Paul still urged prayers for them and their regimes, for peace to reign. Paul’s focus was on the Great Commission, not the ideologies of those in power. Paul was more interested in the Kingdom of God and how to use every opportunity to promote it, not in the kingdoms of this world which would soon pass away.
When we pray for those in authority over us, we’re praying for our own good also. When we pray for God to give our leaders the wisdom to administer our nations well, for peace and prosperity to reign, we’ll become partakers of those benefits too. If chaos, anarchy and hardship reign in the land, we all will be affected. As Christians, we must recognise that every authority, however autocratic and despotic, operates with divine permission, for no authority rises to power without God’s permission. God appoints and removes rulers according to his will and purpose. Wicked rulers have all served God’s purpose at various times in human history, and the ultimate evil ruler who’s yet to appear on the scene (the anti-christ) will also serve God’s purpose in his time.
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
Romans 13:2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
Romans 13:4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
Romans 13:5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.
Romans 13:6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.
Romans 13:7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor (NKJV).
1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,
1 Peter 2:12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme,
1 Peter 2:14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.
1 Peter 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—
1 Peter 2:16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
1 Peter 2:17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king (NIV).
Daniel 4:28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 4:29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon.
Daniel 4:30 The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”
Daniel 4:31 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!
Daniel 4:32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” (NKJV).
Psalms 75:6 For promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
Psalms 75:7 But God is the judge: he puts down one, and sets up another (AKJV).
As Christians, we’re not supposed to get involved in politics in partisan ways, for our kingdom is not of this world. The Christian party is neither Republican, Democratic nor Socialist. In fact, there is no Christian political party, for Christianity is not a political philosophy, but a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ, the son of God. The Christian belongs to Jesus’ party, and is Christ’s ambassador here on earth. Our citizenship is in heaven, from where we wait for the Saviour to come and change our vile bodies. Here on earth, we’re just pilgrims passing through a strange land, on our way back to our heavenly home. Therefore, we’re enjoined in the Scriptures not to be entangled with the affairs of this world. Yes, we’re expected to be good citizens of the places we live in, and we’re to play our civic role in ensuring good governance, by participating in the political process. However, our participation should not be that of hyper-partisans who get so entangled with the various political parties that we lose our identity and focus as heaven’s ambassadors here on earth. As Christ’s representatives, we’re expected to be independent and neutral (like all other ambassadors are expected to be, in relation to the various groups and factions in the countries where they serve), focused completely on projecting heaven’s truths and values and reconciling men back to God. That way, we can justly condemn evil wherever it’s found in any political party, and praise any righteous/godly policies wherever they’re found. We’re to stand and defend heaven’s values, and not become the religious wing of any political party or the mega phone of any politician.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (NKJV).
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Philippians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body (NIV).
2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” (HCSB).
2 Timothy 2:4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him (ESV).
Our obligation as Christians is to pray for a conducive socio-economic environment for peaceful and godly living, and for the propagation of the gospel without hindrance. For this reason, we’re to partner with every government in power, no matter their political philosophy, to ensure law and order exist, and liberty and prosperity reign, for in the peace of our nations shall we find peace. When Israel was in captivity in Babylon (a heathen nation), God enjoined them to pray for the peace and prosperity of their place of captivity, for in the peace of that place would they find peace. The same injunction is given to the Christian today, to pray for those in authority and for the peace and prosperity of the various lands we’re sojourning in, for in the peace of these nations shall we find peace to live and preach the gospel.
Jeremiah 29:4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
Jeremiah 29:5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.
Jeremiah 29:6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.
Jeremiah 29:7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (NIV).
Finally, let’s not forget that the heart of every king and every ruler is in the hand of God. He controls them as he wills. That is why we must look up to God in prayers to effect the change we need in our nations in order for the will of God to be done. Our focus should be on the will of God being done. And, the will of God at a point in time may be to allow a wicked Pharoah to rise up so that God may display his power through him. The rise of the anti-christ and the new world order are all the will of God, to usher in the millennial reign of Christ, for without the reign of the anti-christ, there will be no millennial reign of Christ. To fight the establishment of the conditions that would lead to the reign of the anti-christ is therefore to oppose the will of God! We’re enjoined to pray for the will of God to be done, not to oppose it, however unpalatable it may appear to us. That’s the commandment of God!
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
Like the rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes (NKJV).
Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth (ESV).
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you,
2 Thessalonians 2:2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
2 Thessalonians 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
2 Thessalonians 2:5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
2 Thessalonians 2:6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
2 Thessalonians 2:12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (NKJV).
Luke 22:40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
Luke 22:41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed,
Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (NKJV).
Matthew 6:9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven (NKJV).
In conclusion, we’re enjoined in the Scriptures to pray for all our leaders, no matter their religious or political philosophies. This is to enable us live peaceful and godly lives in quietness, as we worship God and evangelise the world. We must honour and lift up every authority in prayer, because every authority comes from God, and every authority rules with God’s permission. As Christians, we’re heaven’s ambassadors on earth, and we must remain politically neutral in the various lands of our sojourn here on earth, as we try to project heaven’s values and reconcile men back to God. We must not jeopardise this ministry of reconciliation (the Great Commission) by getting politically entangled with the affairs of this world, thus becoming the religious wing of political parties. Our obligation is to pray for God’s will to be done on earth, even if it’s against our own will. It’s as we align our will with God’s will that we’ll become worthy and effective ambassadors for God here on earth. Let us then desire and embrace God’s will- nothing more, nothing less and nothing else! Let your kingdom come, Lord, and let your will be done on earth! Amen!
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