Intercessory Prayer and Politics
John C. Rankin
The TEI is rooted in the biblical understanding of the spiritual warfare behind political conflict (see icon on the homepage, Sorcery at the Right Hand of Power). As the biblical prophets confronted political evil, they did so always with a focus on the kingdom of God, seeking to be salt and light in corrupt societies. Here are some key biblical points of conflict:
- Moses was a Hebrew raised in Egyptian royalty. Later, in the name of the true King Yahweh, he directly challenged Pharaoh, king of Egypt: “Let my people go.” Moses led the Israelites to freedom by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Samuel was the last faithful judge when Israel was a federation of twelve tribes under the liberty of the Law of Moses. He warned the people of the coming enslavement if they chose a pagan styled king, which they did. They thus suffered under Saul, and Samuel confronted him in the end after Saul resorted to consulting a medium.
- Elijah was opposed by the wife of Ahab, king of (northern) Israel – the Sidonian witch Jezebel. She was devoted to killing Yahweh’s prophets, and Elijah opposed her, all the false prophets, and as he called Ahab and the nation to repentance.
- Jeremiah confronted the final wicked and oscillating kings, and false prophets, in the remnant Judah during its final days. He repeatedly called the king and the nation to repent of sorcery, sacred prostitution and child sacrifice.
- Daniel, as a Hebrew exile and slave, rose to the stature of prime minister in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He called on the king to repent of his wickedness, and with great graciousness. When Nebuchadnezzar did not, he was judged, went into exile for seven years, and Daniel ruled in his stead.
- John the Baptist challenged the incest of King Herod the Tetrarch, and lost his life as a result.
- Jesus called King Herod a “fox” in the henhouse, in a passing reference en route to the cross and resurrection.
- The apostle Paul called for us to intercede “for kings and all those in authority” so that we might live peaceful lives and advance the Gospel (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
In a different age, here in the United States in the early 21st century, and in the same vein, we can state the following:
- We need a positive vision. Proverbs 11:14 states: “For lack of guidance a nation falls.” My best understanding of such a vision starts with the Pre-Partisan Caucus (prepartisan.org). Many other passages in Proverbs give us an ethical basis for dealing with those in political power – 14:19 (evil yields to the good), 21:23 (power of the wise man), 24:16 (the righteous will always rise again), 25:15 (the power to persuade a ruler), people rejoice when the righteous triumph, 28:16 (tyrants lack judgment), 29:18 (the need for vision), justice comes from Yahweh, not human rulers (29:26).
- Yet before any positive vision can happen, the church needs to repent of her own sins, consistent with Solomon’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 7:11-22, and Daniel’s prayer in 9:1-20.
- Then we can pray for godly political leadership to be raised up at every level, knowing the Lord is in control. Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, were under the mortal danger of political evil, so they interceded in prayer. As the answer came, securing their deliverance, Daniel proclaimed how God was in control: “He changes times and seasons, he sets up kings and deposes them” (2:21).
- Mary, called to carry the Messiah in her womb, prayed the same prophetic reality in the Magnificat: “”He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble” (Luke 1:52).
- On this basis, we can live and preach the Gospel that advances religious, political and economic liberty for all people equally.
Thus, the TEI seeks intercessors who understand these realities. Please contact the TEI: firstname.lastname@example.org.