Saturday, November 19, 2005

Praying for Kings

The scriptures tell us to pray for kings, but that does not mean they are appointed by God.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Tim 2:1,2).
The word used for authority is not the same as the word exousia that Paul used in Romans 13. The word here is “huperoch√©”, which means to be placed above. Kings have placed themselves above us, but they do not have legitimate authority in the same sense as a judge who is applying God’s law.

We pray for kings so we can live in peace and have freedom to share the gospel, not because they are God's reprentatives. Our prayers do not imply the "divine right of kings". We can pray for members of parliament, but that does not mean that they are God’s servants in the same way as excellent judges. Their authority is not authority from God.

We pray for kings because God is greater than they are. He was able to bring down Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of Babylon and one of the most powerful emperors that have ever existed (Dan 4). He was able to use Cyrus of Persia to complet his purposes. God decides the times and boundaries of the nations because he is God (Acts 17:26), but this does not mean that kings, dictators and parliaments are delegated authority by him.

Peter was always willing to challenge their authority and expose them for what they are. He said that we should submit to God rather than to man (Acts 5:29).

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