For kings… (08-05-23)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 121:5-8
The Lord watches over you, the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Bible Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-6
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.
This is good, and pleases God our Saviour,
who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.
Whether we were glued to our televisions from dawn to dusk, took part in street parties or just appreciated an extra bank holiday, the coronation of King Charles III cannot have passed by unnoticed. And a couple of days earlier, and admittedly on a different level, there were elections for local governments and mayors in much of the country.
After all the pomp and ceremony, the news bulletins and the interviews with politicians, we may wonder what difference any of this will make to our lives in the coming weeks, months and years. And yet, in his letter to Timothy, now a church leader in Ephesus, Paul urges the church to offer petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings for all people, especially mentioning kings and all in authority. The reason for this, he says, is ‘that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.’
We will all understand the value of coming to God with thanksgiving for all that is good, but we may struggle with the distinction between petitions, prayers and intercessions. It may help to see petitions as we do today, where a number of people agree together and present a petition to the government, prayers as us coming individually before God with our needs, and intercessions as us ‘interceding’ before God on behalf of someone else.
We may all have different views on the place of the monarchy in our country, and on the politics of governments local, national and international, but let us remember to thank God for the good that each of them brings to our communities, to our nation and to our world.
Let us also resolve pray, as Paul directed, for all in authority: in our homes, our communities, our workplaces, our churches, our nation and our world. Let us pray that they would govern with integrity and wisdom and that they would seek peace and justice for all so that we may live peaceful and quiet lives and that all people would be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
For kings, presidents and prime ministers, for governments local, national and international, we pray for wisdom, integrity, grace and humility in all they do and say.
Make me a channel of your peace.