Monday, May 25, 2009

Praying for kings and rulers: civic order and the good news of Jesus

A guest post by Ruth Brigden
Ruth is a missionary working with CMS Australia and serving in Numbulwar, a remote indigenous community in the Northern Territory.

“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 Timothy 2:1-2.

This is Kathy-Anne. She is our church treasurer.
Kathy-Anne is also an elected Councillor on the Roper Gulf Shire, which oversees service provision in Numbulwar.

I was challenged by Kathy-Anne recently when she told me that she prays everyday for Numbulwar’s police, school, credit union, and her employer, the Roper Gulf Shire.

Numbulwar’s police station is only a few years old. Before it was built, intervention into domestic disputes, and fights between tribal groups was done by individuals (including Yulki, our church deacon), and they often got hurt in the process. In the event of an emergency, the nearest police came by plane from Groote Eylandt, and by the time they got here, the damage was usually done. A permanent police presence has helped Numbulwar community live more peacefully, and it has helped people like Yulki devote more time to the Ministry of the Word, rather than spending her time breaking up fights.

When Kathy-Anne prays for the police and other local institutions, she is putting 1 Timothy 2:1-2 into practice. I’m sure we can think of many good reasons why well-functioning institutions that promote public order are desirable. But it seems that from a spiritual point of view, this kind of stability is good for Christians who want to proclaim the gospel of peace.

It is in the interests of Christians to pray for “kings” and “all those in authority”, because if under God those in authority govern well, Christians will be freed-up to live out their faith before outsiders, “in all godliness and holiness”.

Living in a small community helps Kathy-Anne to see how integral institutions that maintain the good order of society really are – she has got it right in praying regularly for those in authority in Numbulwar, and she has challenged me by her example to pray more in line with 1 Timothy 2:1-2.


Mike Bull said...

Thank you Ruth. Excellent article.

Civic order makes gospel work easier, but the gospel also brings civic order. We in the west underestimate the deep culture-building influence of Christ through His people, their prayers and everyday lives.

Here is an article where this influence is even noticed by an atheist:’s-praise-of-evangelism-in-africa/

byron smith said...

Yes, that article (which I also mentioned back here) was very interesting, thanks for reminding us of it. This reverse link (the community-building effects of the gospel) is a theme in O'Donovan's work (especially the final few chapters of Desire of the Nations) and will appear in my own project (I'm going to post an outline soon).