Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
Prayer – or rather, “How to Pray for Those in Authority”
1. Pray that they would have wisdom. This was Solomon’s prayer as he ruled the nation of Israel – that he would have “an understanding mind to govern the people” (1 Kings 3:9). Pray that our leaders would have wisdom to know right and the strength to do it.
2. Pray that they would have discernment. This is the ability to know right from wrong; to know God’s leading as opposed to the leading of the enemy (1 Kings 3:9). Pray that God would protect them from lies and deception.
3. Pray that they would be instruments of God. This was Paul’s instruction in Romans 13:4; that rulers, authorities, and governing bodies were actually “servants of God”. Pray that our leaders would lead a society marked by tranquility, godliness, and dignity (1 Timothy 2:2).
4. Pray for the election of such people. If it is God’s will that our society be marked by peace, dignity, and righteousness, we must pray for people who support this to be elected. Pray for God to raise these people up, and for our nation to embrace those who will promote honor, righteousness, and justice.
5. Pray with a heart of thanksgiving. This is the peace that comes down from above. When we honor God, trust Him with our daily lives and needs, and commit that to prayer, the “peace of God that passes all understanding will guard our hearts and minds” (Philippians 4:7).
6. Pray for God’s will to be done. Jesus, in His instructional prayer to the disciples, said, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). God’s governing and ruling will flows from heaven to earth. He is in complete control.