by David Bent; Team Rector
I doubt that there has been a time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 or the nuclear stand-off between Thatcher, Reagan and the USSR in the 1980s when St Paul’s instructions to Timothy have been more relevant to us. St Paul wrote, “I urge that petitions, prayers, requests, and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people; for kings and all others who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceful life with all reverence toward God and with proper conduct.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
The list of troubled areas and tensions around the world seems to grow each day. They include Syria and the involvement of America and Russia, North Korea and the involvement of America and China, famine in Africa, terrorism in Europe and religious persecution, most recently reported in Egypt. Then there is the General Election in the UK and the following Brexit negotiations. All of this could strike fear in our hearts. Alternatively it could encourage us to put our faith in our sovereign God and to pray.
We shouldn’t actually be surprised at the situations around the world. When Jesus was asked by his disciples about his return and about the end of the world, he said this, “You are going to hear the noise of battles close by and the news of battles far away; but do not be troubled. Such things must happen, but they do not mean that the end has come.” (Matthew 24:6) Elsewhere Jesus encourages a very upbeat response to world events, “In this world you will have trouble, but cheer up! I have overcome the world”. (John 16:26)
The world has been living in the end times since Jesus ascended to heaven two thousand years ago. He will return one day. In the mean time we, the church, are called to tell others the Good News of Jesus here and around the world, and to pray, as Paul instructs, for all people and especially “for kings and all others who are in authority.”
How do we pray? There are many ways! We can simply hold individual leaders or situations before God. We could use Paul’s words, “that we may live a quiet and peaceful life with all reverence toward God and with proper conduct” or we could use words from the Old Testament such as, “Let justice flow like rivers and righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:24) or “What does the Lord require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).
However we choose to, let us pray, and let us be of good cheer!