The public powers are the (competent) authority, the power that reigns over us. This is theirs by right as the government of the legitimate and legally elected people. There are also dictatorships, which unfortunately are far from representing the ideal of a just government – at the service of all the people. Public powers exercise authority and power. Authority is the ability to make laws and regulations, and power is the ability to impose and enforce them. This is called law enforcement.
The highest Authority and the Sovereign one is the God of heaven, who is made known in the Bible, the Word of God. However, God does not immediately manifest Himself as the highest Lord, because He has delegated the “rule” over the planet to man. He remains the rightful King above all kings, and he holds world politics in his hand: He dismisses and He appoints kings (Dan. 2:21). Sometimes regimes go away faster than they started. God uses governments, even dictatorships – even if sometimes it seems we only perceive so little – to ultimately achieve His goal. All governments should in fact be convinced that the Ten Commandments are always “good” for any society. Christians are the salt of the earth, and “until he comes” a natural resistance in the face of widespread degradation and anarchy.
Public power is a servant of God.
In his letter to the Romans (13:1-6), Paul explains that God established higher authorities; that Christians are supposed to obey the authorities, pay their taxes, in short, be responsible citizens. “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Matt 22:21). The authorities can therefore intervene where necessary. The Word of God establishes an exception: when a Christian must obey the Word of God rather than men (Acts 4:19).
The State and the Church
The State and the Church each have their own ground and their own task: to one the civil /secular interpretation and to the other a spiritual interpretation (“My Kingdom is not of this world”, John 18:36). The State must not interfere in the (internal) affairs of the Church and the Church must not be officially engaged in earthly politics (but rather, for example, confront 2
authority with the Word of God ). The prophets in the Bible (especially the “minor prophets”) often express criticism towards kings and rulers, make protests against social injustice, the exploitation of the weak, justice that is below the mark, etc.
Call to prayer for the authorities
Paul also gives us the following assignments in 1 Tim. 2:1-2: “I urge then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives, in all godliness and holiness” (NIV). When we pray for the authorities, the blessing comes to us (as well as to the Kingdom of God). The spread of the gospel is not hindered (or less so). In addition, it is good to pray for the authorities as follows. Mainly: whether they become Christians or as Christians they do their work in good conscience. But also: that the officials (non-believers) respect God’s prescriptions. And that they follow the general “directive” of Jesus (Mk 9:35), that is to say that the one who would be the greatest is called to serve and not to dominate all others.
At that moment, we see something happening in this text: “The heart of the king (authorities) is in the hand of the Lord like streams of water. He leads him where he wants” (Prov 21,1).
How should we pray? Along the following lines:
Give thanks for:
▪ Peace in our countries, our great freedoms and rich possibilities: food, clothing and housing, religious freedom and freedom of conscience, health care, education, etc.
▪ Our authorities: the king and his family, minister-presidents, ministers and parliamentarians, burgomasters(i.e. mayors)
▪ Our historic Christian heritage in Africa: the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ, the salt which is spread throughout society.
▪ May Christians be, light and salt, examples of loyalty and have a positive, yet wisely discerning attitude towards the authorities.
▪ Christian organizations and political initiatives and related national and regional parties and movements, which always defend Christian values and norms beyond party boundaries (name them specifically).
Ask forgiveness for:
▪ Our own lukewarmness, lack of compassion and perseverance, lack of prayer for politics or commitment towards it.
▪ For the fact that our country has, to a large extent, abandoned the Lord and with Him the references that are good for us.
Pray (and plead) for:
▪ Stable governments at all levels, with as many people as possible who still take God into account.
▪ That born-again Christians be elected to the highest levels.
▪ Contacts between Christians and people within the authorities: may God open doors, so that the gospel breaks through at all levels.
▪ For justice and integrity: that corruption be tackled and a transparent policy be pursued.
▪ Authorities that take into account biblical and Christian values such as a sense of responsibility, subsidiarity, openness, solidarity, the natural family, the value of human life and respect for the order of creation.
For a broad religious freedom: that the government to value and involve the churches as co-workers (partners), and not to reject them as a threat (against secularism which wants to ban all religion from public life).
For current prophetic Christian voices to be heard more clearly in the media (not silenced).
For the federal level:
- for social justice: a fair (re) distribution between rich and poor, so that the gap does not widen further.
the natural family as the norm: supporting rather than undermining marriage.
- respect for life (unborn, elderly).
- pay attention to creation, a green environment and a healthy lifestyle.
- tackle crime firmly (pray for the police).
- For a good community solution.
Concrete prayer topics by level:
- Pray for the practical development of values: solidarity, safe neighbourhoods with opportunities for all young people, fair contracts and working conditions.
- For plans to respect nature and natural resources in order to prevent more serious disasters.
- For a genuine peace process in conflict zones, through consultations and agreements, with genuine attention to human rights. Among other things also, secure borders.
- Pray concretely for the politicians that you know and that God puts on your heart; naming them individually.
- For foresight and vision in the spiritual battle. Behind what we see, there is a “war” going on. The “mystery of iniquity” is fully at work (2 Thess. 2:7,8).
- Focus your prayer on what you know to be true, without looking for “conspiracy theories” anywhere, in random people. Of course, we see some who preach a world religion, a global economy, a world leadership.
- We also see a cultural battle “to the death” of free thought (humanism, secularism), indifference and extremism against Christian foundations… Ask God how to pray. You can possibly fast with an open Bible.