Praying for your Leaders

October 23, 2008

Every day at 10 AM, we here in the SGA office pray. We put out a Prayer and Praise item that gives things to pray for each day of the month. Today’s was to pray for our leaders in both North America and in the Commonwealth of Independent States. With the recent election here in Canada and the upcoming election in the United States, I am reminded often of the need for prayer for our leaders. It strikes me as funny, not ha-ha funny, but sad funny, why Christians who have a direct command from God to pray for their leaders, fail to do so. What does Scripture say?

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. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

Let’s unpack what Paul is saying here. First, he urges all believers to regularly pray for everyone. We know, although we do not practice this, that we as Christians must be in a constant state of prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray continually” (NIV) or “pray without ceasing” as other translations use. Now, this obviously does not mean that all we do is pray 24 hours a day. We are called to work and to serve God where He has placed us. But we are called to have an attitude of prayer, a desire for prayer, and regular times of prayer.

My wife and I have recently been burdened more for prayer. We have taken the opportunity now after dinner to spend time in the Word (of course as newlyweds we are studiyng the Song of Songs), to sing a hymn, and to pray. We pray for each other. We pray for our families. We pray for our ministry. In the morning I pray before I start my day. At night, we pray before bed. Prayer should be continual and constant. At the drop of a hat and throughout our day prayer should drip from our lips as we commune with the Triune God.

So, Paul says, knowing that we are to pray continually, calls us to pray for everyone. That is a tall order! How do we pray for everyone? Do we pray “God, be with everyone?” No. God wants us to be more specific than that. In other places He breaks that down further and gives us specific things and people we should be praying for. Paul does that here where he then tells us to pray for our leaders.

Why does Paul tell us to pray for our leaders? So we can lead peaceable and godly lives. The main purpose of praying for your leaders, for kings, and all those in authority in the secular world, is so that we are free to worship God as the Scriptures have called us. We should pray for God to work in the hearts of our leaders so that they continue to allow the freedom we enjoy (or to allow freedom in countries where that is not possible) to worship God. We pray that our leaders would come to know Christ so they can better lead our countries in a moral and God-honouring way. We pray for them, for their families, that God would use them to further His kingdom in this age. This of course does not just mean our federal leaders but our provincial (or state) leaders and our municipal leaders. Those who make laws and those who enforce them. God uses the governmental leaders for his purposes. We know the Scripture says that ultimately it is God who even chooses our governmental leaders. Daniel 2:21 says,

He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.

God, even in Scripture, shows how He uses governmental leaders to accomplish His will. In Isaiah 45:1-6, Cyrus is prophesied to come and bless God’s people. The fulfillment of that was in Ezra 1 where God moved the heart of Cyrus the King of Persia to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem. God uses governmental leaders, even those who are not believers, to accomplish His will. Thus, we should pray for our leaders!

We do this because Paul says it pleases God our saviour who desires all to come to faith. God is pleased when we pray for our leaders because prayer is the ordained means to the end of things. God uses our prayers to accomplish His will. While God has ordained those who will be saved and how they will be used, He has also ordained the means to accomplish those ends; namely prayer. Prayer is that amazing vehicle that not only allows us to commune with the true and living God but allows us the privilege to actually participate in the sovereign work of God in the universe! God uses our prayers to accomplish His will! So, God is pleased when we pray for our leaders!

So, today, take time to pray for your leaders. It pleases God when you do so. Pray for their conversion and that through them your lives may be peacable so you can live and worship as the scriptures have called you to do. Pray that God would use our leaders to accomplish God’s will. What a privilege to pray and what a privilege to pray for our leaders!

Our Heavenly Father, we thank you for the opportunity to pray! We thank you that through the death of Christ; through His atoning sacrifice, we have access to the very throne room of God to bring our thanksgiivng and petition to you! You have called us to pray and it is through prayer that we are nourished and refreshed. You are the true and living God and you seek to commune with your people. Thank you for the access we have to boldly come to you and speak with you as Moses did; face to face.

We pray today for our leaders. We pray that you would regenerate their hearts and that they would come to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray they would be baptized and be added to your church. We pray that they would seek to be used by you to accomplish your will. We pray they make and enforce laws for the good of the people; that honour you and give us the freedom to proclaim the life changing message of Jesus Christ.

We pray for Stephen Harper, our federal leader, Dalton McGinty, our provincial leader, Phil McColeman, my federal MP in Brant, Dave Levac, my provincial MPP in Brant, Ron Eddy, Mayor of Brant, and our other council members. We pray that you would turn their hearts to Christ and that they would lead and govern with an eye to honouring Christ and serving the people.

We pray for the upcoming election in the USA. We pray that people would vote intelligently and pick the best person that would serve that country and honour and glorify you. We pray that you would use them to lead and direct the people and that they would create and enforce laws that would do so and yet honour you and what you have revealed to us in your Word.

Lord, you are the great God of the universe. Not one square inch of this universe is outside of the lordship of Jesus Christ. We pray that you would work mightily in our world and accomplish your will through our leaders that you have selected. We pray that you would further the work of your kingdom through them and that you would use us, our prayers, and our service, to draw men and women in Canada and around the world to faith in Jesus Christ. We pray for revival; for a fresh outpouring of your Spirit this day and that we might have the privilege of being a part of that revival both here and abroad. Help us to yield to the Spirit and pursue holiness and to do all things to honour you, the Son, and the Spirit.

We pray all these things in the name of the great Lord of the universe, Jesus Christ. Amen.


A Reissue of the Prayer Call

July 15, 2008

Prayer is the effectual means for accomplishing the will of God in this age. What does this mean? It means that God uses our prayers as ordained means for accomplishing His end. This means that prayer is the lifeblood of the church. It is through prayer, not through marketing agendas, that God brings revival and fresh movings of the Holy Spirit. Historically this has always been the case. It was always through renewed efforts of prayer amongst the churches that God used to move the Spirit and bring revival with men and women repenting and turning to Jesus Christ.

John Sutcliff of Olney (1752-1814) was the pastof of the Baptist church in Olney, Buckinghamshire. He was a close friend of Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) and helped in the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society which sent out William Carey (1764-1831) to India. In 1784 Sutcliff recommended that the churches in the Northamptonshire Association  add to their services a monthly prayer meeting devoted to seeking revival from God. He had been influenced by the great Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) work, An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and visible Union of God’s people in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth, Pursuant to Scripture-Promises and Prophecies Concerning the Last Time (1748).

Sutcliffe called the churches to set aside the first Monday of every month to pray for God’s outpouring of His Holy Spirit and the resultant revival in Great Britain.

The prayer call was circulated to the churches in the association in the 1784 circular letter. Most likely attributed to Sutcliff, he wrote regarding the prayer call:

The grand object in prayer is to be, that the Holy Spirit may be poured down on our ministers and churches, that sinenrs may be converted, the saints edified, the interest of religion revived, and the name of God glorified. At the same time remember, we trust you will nto confine your requests to your own societies or to your own immediate connection; let the whole interest of the Redeemer be affectionately rememberd, and the spread of the gospel to the most distant parts of the habitable globe be the object of your most fervent requests. We shall rejoice if any other Christian societies of our own or other denomination will unite with us, and do now invite them most cordially to join heart and hand in the attempt.

Who can tell what the consequences of such an united effort in prayer may be! Let us plead with God the many gracious promises of His word, which relate to the future success of His gospel. He has said, “I will yet for this be inquired of by the hosue of Israel, to do it for them, I will increase them with men like a flock” (Ezekiel 36:37). Surely we have love enough for Zion to set apart one hour at a time, twelve times in a year, to seek her welfare. (The Nature, Evidences, and Advantages, of Humility [Circular Letter of the Northamptonshire Association, 1784], p. 12).

So, my call today is to recommit to prayer for the outpouring of the Spirit and the bringing of revival. I call all pastors to institute at least an hour of prayer in their churches the first Monday of every month for the purpose of revival. God can use this prayer to accomplish His will. Do you want to see revival today in North America and around the world? Then we must as a people pray! Let us come together and seek the Lord’s face! Let us ask Him to bless us and use us to bring people to Christ!

 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. (1 Tim 2:8)

Pray continually. (1 Thess 5:17)

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Eph 6:18)


John Gill (1697-1771) on Prayer

May 13, 2008

It is good for the saints to draw near to God; it is not only good because it is their duty, but because it yields their souls a spiritual pleasure; and it is also of great profit and advantage to them: It is often an ordinance of God, and which he owns for the quickening the graces of his spirit, for the restraining and subduing the corruptions of our hearts, and for the bringing of our souls into nearer communion and fellowship with himself. Satan has often felt the force and power of this piece of our spiritual armour; and it is, indeed, the last which the believer is directed to make use of. Praying souls are profitable in families, neighbourhoods, churches, and common-wealths, when prayerless ones are in a great measure useless. The believer has the utmost encouragement to this work he can desire; he may come to God, not as on a seat of justice, but as on a throne of grace. Christ is the Mediator between God and him, his way of access to God, and his Advocate with the Father; the Spirit is his Guide, Director, and Assister; he has many exceeding great and precious promises to plead with God; nor need he doubt of a kind reception, a gracious audience, and a proper answer, though never so mean and unworthy in himself; since the Lord will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise his prayer.


John Gill on Prayer

January 17, 2008

It is good for the saints to draw near to God; it is not only good because it is their duty, but because it yields their souls a spiritual pleasure; and it is also of great profit and advantage to them: It is often an ordinance of God, and which he owns for the quickening the graces of his spirit, for the restraining and subduing the corruptions of our hearts, and for the bringing of our souls into nearer communion and fellowship with himself. Satan has often felt the force and power of this piece of our spiritual armour; and it is, indeed, the last which the believer is directed to make use of. Praying souls are profitable in families, neighbourhoods, churches, and common-wealths, when prayerless ones are in a great measure useless. The believer has the utmost encouragement to this work he can desire; he may come to God, not as on a seat of justice, but as on a throne of grace. Christ is the Mediator between God and him, his way of access to God, and his Advocate with the Father; the Spirit is his Guide, Director, and Assister; he has many exceeding great and precious promises to plead with God; nor need he doubt of a kind reception, a gracious audience, and a proper answer, though never so mean and unworthy in himself; since the Lord will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise his prayer.

— John Gill (1697-1771) from “A Discourse on Prayer”


Please Pray

November 9, 2007

Please pray. I have recently realized that there are only 6 weeks until Christmas break here at TBS and thus the end of my job here. I trust the Lord will provide, but I ask you all to be praying for the Lord to open a new door for work for me especially as I am getting married next year and need to be able to take care of my family. I appreciate your care and your prayers for me. I trust the Lord has a good place for me and hope He reveals it soon!


“Listening to the Past – Lessons from Andrew Fuller” 12

March 24, 2007

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My apologies to all of you in the delay of my posting on this blog. With my recent transition to Toronto and my frequent trips back to Windsor to bring my library to Toronto it has kept me from posting. My Saturday posts on Crawford Gribben’s book Rapture Fiction and my Sunday posts on thoughts from Andrew Fuller have gone neglected. I hope to remedy one of these right now.

This past Friday we had Dr. Bingham Hunter from Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois come and lead our Day of Prayer. Dr. Hunter is a subject specialist in the area of prayer and his messages were challenging, humbling, and encouraging. His third message was on “How Can we Tell God Know Anything when He Already Knows Everything?” In my reading of Fuller I found a fitting quote that went along with this message. It is in a letter that is found in The Armies of the Lamb: The Spirituality of Andrew Fuller, pp. 88–89.

“I used to think too, that the doctrine of election was a reason why we need not pray, and I fear there are many who split upon this rock; who think it is to no purpose to pray, as things will be as they will be. But I now see that the doctrine of election is the greatest encouragement, instead of a discouragement, to prayer. He that decreed that any one should be finally saved, decreed that it should be in the way of prayer; as much as he that has decreed what we shall possess of the things of this life, has decreed that it shall be in the way of industry; and as we never think of being idle in common business, because God has decreed what we shall possess of this world’s good; so neither should we be slothful in the business of our souls, because our final state is decreed. We may be sure of this, for the Lord hath spoken it—that the wrath of God will be poured out on the families who call not on his name; while the door of mercy will be opened to all who knock at it.”