January 31, 2023
Following a recent sermon about the importance of prayer and what our concern for the lost shows us about the church, a member of our church prayed this prayer:
Father God, almighty creator and ruler of the universe, we come before you this morning in humility, in love and in great thankfulness. We are thankful both for who you are and for what you have done for us. You are the maker and sustainer of all things, You are the source of all life and truth and wisdom – all that is right and good. You are far bigger, and more powerful, and more wonderful than we can imagine. And yet you have declared us to be your children, you desire a personal, intimate relationship with each one of us, and you loved us enough to send your only son to suffer and to die on a cross, in our place, that we might be freed from our sin and the punishment that we deserve for it. We thank you also for the gift of your Holy Spirit who comforts us, guides us and teaches us from your word. We thank you for the joy of serving you in living the life you have called us to, and doing the work you prepared in advance for us to do. And especially in the light of what we’ve just been hearing from 1 Timothy, we thank you so much for the immense privilege it is to be able to approach you in prayer.
It is an amazing thing that we can speak to you at any time, about any subject, and that you delight to hear us speak. So please hear us now as we bring our prayers to you this morning, and answer them according to your will for our good and for your glory.
Paul urged Timothy to pray for kings and all those in authority and so we begin by praying for King Charles. Lord God only you know where his heart is truly at in relation to you and so we pray first and foremost that he would be saved, and he would know the joy and peace of a relationship with you. Help him also to reign wisely and to fulfil his many roles with the same humility and dedication shown by his mother before him – that he would follow in her footsteps as she followed Christ, and be an example to all of faithful service.
We pray also for Rishi Sunak and for all those in government and Parliament in general. We thank you for the blessing of a well-established and relatively stable democracy in this country, and ask that you would help all those involved with the running of the country to do so in accordance with your will – that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness, as Paul says, and that would enable us to serve you and to serve others faithfully as we bring the gospel to them. Help our leaders to follow Jesus’ example of self-sacrificial service and please bless them with boldness and ingenuity to make the right decisions in difficult circumstances, and to come up with innovative and effective solutions to the many problems that we currently face. May they govern in such a way as to develop our society into one that models your love for people, that does not suppress or exclude the poor or the weak, but rather seeks to love, support and care for those who are unable to fend for themselves. And we pray ultimately Lord that they would be doing that because they love you – that you would rescue them and cause them to to live their lives in a way that reflects your work in their hearts.
As we think about those in authority in the running of this country we pray too for those in similar positions around the world. For those in the leadership of relatively peaceful countries we pray that they would have the courage to stand up for truth and justice in a hostile world. And for the more violent and oppressive rulers of this world we ask that you would show them the error of their ways and turn their hearts to you. Please be with all those in positions of power and authority over nations, that they would serve their people well, work for the benefit of all and seek to bring glory to you by ruling in humility. We ask that you would not allow them to be opposing your people or rejecting your will. Instead, please cause them to rise up in praise and worship of you, with a desire to serve and please you by helping, not hindering, the spread of the gospel, and by removing any barriers that prevent people from coming to you for salvation, or living the way that you want you want them to once they do. In particular we pray for the leaders of Russia and Ukraine, Israel and Palestine, Iran, Afghanistan, North and South Korea, China, Hong Kong and anywhere that there is hatred or discord or conflict at the national or regional level. Please give those leaders a desire for peace and a special wisdom to know how to go about achieving it. But ultimately we ask for your mercy for them, and for all world leaders, that they may be saved themselves and come to know a relationship with the man of peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that through that they would understand the true value of the life of every person – friend or foe – as a being made in your image.
Lord God, we would also like to pray for those in positions of authority that we encounter on a day-to-day basis – bosses and managers at work, teachers and headteachers at school, maybe even police officers or judges. Please help us to submit to their authority, knowing that it is you who has placed them over us, and by our submission we pray that they would see Christ in us and turn to you if they don’t know you already. We pray for their salvation, that they would know the risen Lord Jesus Christ as ruler in their hearts. And as they enforce the laws of the land, or carry out the running of the various organisations that we’re part of, we pray that you would enable them to perform the roles you have given them in ways that please you, such that it would be a joy and delight to serve under them. And we pray also for those of us here at Cornerstone who may be in positions of leadership and authority, that as we do our duty in the way that you desire, we would be a witness to those under us and demonstrate something of your rule and authority in our hearts.
Lord God, we bring before you the elders and preachers of our church, and the teachers in the youth groups and Sunday school. Although they’re not running countries or large multinational organisations, the work of preaching and teaching the gospel, and shepherding your flock, is arguably much more important. So please bless them with great wisdom and understanding, give them a love for your word and your people, and help them to preach, teach, love and lead us faithfully in your name. And as we sit under their authority we pray that you would continue to grow us both in number and in maturity of faith.
And finally Lord we ask that you would help each one of us to not be hesitant to raise our voices in prayer, to seek your will and to ask for divine intervention in the challenges of life in a fallen world, particularly in the hearts of those that we see and meet every day. And especially for us men in the church, may we be diligent in leading our households and families in these matters, and always be encouraging those whom you have entrusted to us to
persist in prayer as we lead by example. May your name be praised and glorified in all we do, and think, and say.
And now to the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.