The Apostle Paul writes the following to the church at Rome, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Rom 13:1-2).
I have often wondered about these verses for some governing authorities, particularly overseas, have been down right terrible, if not altogether evil. Yet, somehow, God institutes them and does so, not necessarily for their or our material welfare, but first for His glory and the salvation of the elect and hence also for our spiritual welfare.
Sadly, that is usually not the way we think about the governments the Lord has placed over us, nor does society in general. Usually at election time, people’s voting patterns indicate concerns about their own future and how their hip pockets will be effected and not necessarily about what is going to give greater glory to God or be beneficial for extending His kingdom on earth.
It now seems from all the media reports, that there is a federal election about to occur. So before I get inundated with everyone’s preferences of who I should pray for during our worship services and which party we should be promoting as a church and denomination, allow me to nail my colours to the mast a little.
In the past people have asked me to pray for a major political party’s victory during a worship service as part of a congregational prayer. On one occasion I had two people come with a request to pray for victory for opposing political parties. And then it goes without saying that people have asked me to pray for various Christian parties, after all, who wouldn’t pray for a Christian party.
Well, let me just say where I am at with all of this ‘election’ stuff. I don’t pray for the victory of any particular party, major, minor, Christian, or otherwise, not even for independents (just in case you’re inclined that way). What I do pray for is that the Lord will bless us with good, godly government.
Over recent years I have been encouraged at the number of Christian Parliamentarians that are playing an active role in some of our major parties. I am encouraged how the Lord has used them to influence policy and new legislation. I am thankful for the Lord’s blessing on us as a nation, despite the fact many of our governing authorities do not profess Christ as Saviour. I am also thankful, that despite several Prime Ministers over recent years not being Christians, God has seen fit to use them and their government to bless this nation and continue to give us freedom of worship and not directly hindering the the gospel from going forth.
So as the time for the federal election approaches, be in prayer for the various parties and leaders. Pray that they may be godly and be able to lead this great nation in a way that is fair and compassionate to all its citizens. Pray that their policies may be of a high moral standard. Pray that any new legislation or direction introduced does not hinder the gospel going forth. Pray that God will continue to bless us, not because we are deserving, but out of his abundant grace. And finally, pray that this great nation may turn to Him in true repentance and thankfulness for all His goodness to us. JZ
Pastor John Zuidema
Since 1997 Pastor John has been ministering to Churches across Australia and New Zealand.