Some would argue that things are worse off today than they have ever been. They mention the increase of violence and murder we see in the news and online. The expansiveness of sexual perversion and confusion. The murder of children and babies. The width and depth of injustice along with political and governmental dishonestly, greed, and corruption. I’m sure you could add something here for your point of view.
On the other side some would argue that not much has changed but technology has made it possible for us to see things in almost real time from across the world. They would even say that things are not as barbaric or as violent as they once were including the children and baby that existed.
Regardless of the view you have of the days we live in, we all respond in some way. I recently watched both Terminator Genesis and a few minutes of a random SpongeBob episode; in each production there was an attempt to go back in time to change a key event that had affected the course of history. Even with time travel it was a difficult task to accomplish; and as much as we would like to go back and interrupt or stop the genesis of an event or situation, we can’t.
As followers of Christ there are many potential responses to what we see. Some would go the route of wagging their head and pointing their finger, or being a preacher of condemnation instead of Good News, or determining that nothing can be done and go underground to stay away from all negative influences. However, Biblically speaking, God has given us a position where we can stand up and stand In the gap for God’s best in our world.
There are many examples of people standing up in prayer and intercession for their people or nation with compassion, concern, and faith that God could and would turn things around even in the midst of a world gone wild.
1 Timothy 2:1-3 says, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
This passage says a lot. First our prayers are to be for ALL people, not just certain people. God desires ALL men to come into relationship with Him. It was the whole reason why Jesus came in the first place. We see Jesus telling the disciples to pray and cry out to God for those who were oppressed, harassed, and directionless because He wanted to lead and direct them into the reason why they existed. Our faith has no space for hate of any sort toward any people group, but I digress.
Secondly our prayers are to be for kings, presidents, high ranking leaders, and people who are in authority. There was a higher expectation of how believers spoke of those in authority. Instead “despising authority, and fearlessly speaking evil of dignitaries” (2 peter 2.11) they were instructed to pray for them and intercede on their behalf. Interestingly, this passage was written at a time during the reign of Nero, who was a Godless leader that was against followers of Christ, however, they were still encouraged to pray for him. One writer says, “Even when we cannot respect men or women in authority, we must respect their offices and pray for them.”
To intercede means to stand in prayer, petition, or entreaty in favor of another. It means to wait on God and learn how He would have you to pray in the situation according to His will. It also implies that we have to put down your agenda and take on God’s agenda, so that, “we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
With Random shootings at movie theaters and against our servicemen and women, crime and murders on the rise, those in authority operating out of order and in brutality, and poor governmental decisions that affect our world; all along with dire situations in Ukraine, Africa, and other parts of the world make it difficult to “live peaceably.”
We must pray and intercede for those who rule so that they do so rightly, justly, and without prejudice. We are to pray for those who put their lives on the line for our safety. We are to intercede for those who govern so that they have wisdom, insight, and direction into what is best for our country and not for other reasons. We can pray that things that have been done in darkness, come to the light so that things can be corrected.
There is far more that can be said, but the call to pray for the highest officials in our country or for rulers of other countries is not based on if we like them and their politics, it is what we are to do as followers of Christ.