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The Bible asks us in many places to pray for the authorities on the one hand and for the people in those authorities on the other hand.

Broadly speaking, we can find two main attitudes:

One will be made up of Christians who will pray for the people in power in their government, asking God to bless them, to give them wisdom. I have noticed that this kind of person is more often found in Anglo-Saxon influenced circles.

The other one will be made up of people who think that it is not really necessary to pray for the authorities and the people in place in those authorities. Very often these same people, even though they are Christians, think that their leaders will not change their attitudes in any case. 

If we look at what the Bible says on this subject, we can see that these two attitudes are both wrong on some points, and right on others. But neither one of them has the right approach. So what can we do? The Bible asks us to pray. In fact, this is the best way for Christians to live in peace and tranquillity. Having lived in English-speaking as well as French-speaking Christian environments, I have long wondered what the right attitude is in this regard.

Let's look at some of the texts that the Bible gives us:

Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

We are going to put things in balance with this word of Paul which is often misinterpreted. The first question we can ask ourselves would be: "To whom or to what does Paul refer when he speaks of authorities? ».  The vast majority think that in this passage the authorities are the people who are at the head of a country, whether it is democratic or, in rarer cases, even dictatorial. If this were true, then we would have a problem with what Paul said, and therefore with God as well. Paul tells us that all the authorities that exist have been instituted, that is to say, put in place by God Himself . If then we consider that the authorities are the people in place in these leadership positions, it would mean that God appointed King Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings 16:29-34), Julius Caesar in the Roman Empire, but also Caligula the third Roman emperor, and again Hitler, and we could go on and on for many more pages. It is of course a totally mistaken thought to think that God has established in their place all these leaders or dictators who have worked in most cases against God Himself and His people. So Paul is not talking about people in this passage when he uses the word "authorities", but he is talking about systems of running a country, such as a government. It is sometimes a little difficult today to distinguish between government as a political system and the people who compose it, because we use the same word to define both. We use the same word to define both. In fact, more often than not, when we use the word "government", we are talking about people rather than the system itself.  So in this passage from Romans 13 Paul is talking about systems in place, not people in office. This passage could be paraphrased as follows:

Romans 13:1 Let every person be subordinate to the systems of higher authority; for there is no system of government except from God, and the systems of government that exist were instituted of God.

Even though we have paraphrased Paul's words, there is still an idea that we need to understand.  If the authorities represent the existing systems of government, Paul nevertheless tells us to submit to the existing system with its laws. The original word translated as "submissive" that we paraphrased as "subordinate" is the word HUPOTASSO. This word certainly gives us a notion of submission in a sense of obedience. However, HUPOTASSO is also a military term that refers to troops who are divided into different divisions in the field. No one asks a soldier if he agrees to be in this or that division, he executes himself regardless of his opinion or his vision of things. A soldier can therefore subordinate himself without necessarily agreeing with the order given.

What Paul is saying here is that every Christian should subordinate himself to the systems of higher authority, not necessarily to the person who is in position. In other words, Paul is asking us to agree with the fact of having a system of government with laws that govern a country, because God approves of that. God is for order so that everyone is responsible for their attitudes. Now the way this system of government is run, and by whom it is run, is another matter that God will not necessarily approve of, and that we will not necessarily approve of in some areas either.

There is another passage, again from Paul's mouth, which explains how to act, this time it's no longer for a governmental system, but for the people who are in position. Let us note that this time the fact that it speaks of "persons" does not imply that every person at the head of a country was instituted by God. This corroborates what we have just developed above.  

1 Timothy 2:1-2 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Paul says here in other words that God wants all to be saved, and this is what he will say below in the text that follows this passage. Paul includes here the leaders of countries, or those in similar positions. He tells us that this is a good way to act in order to live in peace and tranquillity. As we said above, God did not necessarily appoint all the heads of states, all the kings and queens Himself where they are in their positions. Some do not advocate the values of the Bible, others sometimes even go against what the Bible teaches. We cannot therefore say that the leaders in place have all been chosen by God, that would be a serious mistake. Some Christians who have not properly understood how to pray for the authorities, and who think that God has placed all the leaders in their place in the world, will never be able to pray effectively. In the extreme case where one has to use one's spiritual authority to change a leader, if one thinks that God has put him in his place, then how can one pray against that? It would be nonsense that would prevent us from activating an ounce of our faith.  

This is where you can find out that you can be in a country with a team or a few leaders who are not at all in agreement with what the Bible teaches.  In this case there can be two options. We can pray for the person(s) who is in charge of making decisions on any subject, so that this person will make good decisions, according to what God says. The Bible also shows us that both Christians and non-Christians are subject to receiving demonic thoughts, in order to make them carry out demonic plans. In the same way even high-ranking people can also be subject to such thoughts. Therefore, it is quite possible that praying for a leader will help him make a good and wise decision. But it is also possible that sometimes the same person refuses to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to him.  In that case, you will have to pray differently. 

I have often heard Christians praying to God for people in positions of authority. Many times we hear phrases such as: "Lord, I pray to you for such a person, fill him with wisdom, give him the opportunity to make the right decisions, reveal yourself to him, etc.". This kind of prayer is not bad, but in some cases it will be useless. Why is that? Quite simply because we see many more people in high positions in countries sticking to decisions that do not conform to what the Bible says, than the opposite. I am not saying that sometimes there are not good decisions that conform to what the Bible says, but simply that these are rare cases in the world within different governments. 

There is also the fact that everywhere we see born-again people supporting politicians with radically different ideas. Yet there is only one truth, God has only one opinion about the situations on earth. That is why when we find Christians with very different opinions in terms of political persons, we can wonder whether some of them bother to know what ideas some candidates advocate. In such cases it is easy to understand that some born-again people are wrong in their choice of political representatives. It is our responsibility to inquire about the ideas of the people we vote for during elections (if there are any in the country we live in), in order to get the right person. Then, as we say above, a high-ranking person for whom we have prayed may sometimes not feel like changing his or her mind. Sometimes there may be an urgency in relation to a circumstance. For example, a law may be passed in a very short time, and the person(s) in charge of it may not wish to change their mind despite prayer. The causes may be diverse. But the important thing to remember is that in this kind of case, the prayer will not be at all like the example we have given above. In this case, satan or some of his demons will be involved more deeply, we will have to use our spiritual authority without going through a change of decision of the leader in place. We will therefore not hesitate to pray differently, using our spiritual authority towards satan and his demonic plans. As a simple example it will be possible to say something like: "A demonic plan is on my country, I break it in the name of Jesus, I order that this demonic plan should not come to pass. This law or decision will not see the light of day because I am breaking it now in the name of Jesus, so that the Church may live in peace and tranquillity, Amen!". Of course this is only an example of prayer that each one can adapt to the situation he or she is living in his or her country.

Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,

It would seem that Paul is here recommending to Titus to accept whatever the magistrates or authorities may say. However, on closer examination, there is no question here of saying yes to everything, but simply of not giving in to human rebellions dictated by the flesh. The following verse gives us a better understanding of this: Titus 3:3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. So the thought here is to respect what the law says, as long as it conforms to what God says about it. We can find a few examples that show us how to act.

Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

A law had been put in place ordering everyone to renounce their current beliefs in order to worship a golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had erected. Daniel's three friends chose not to obey this law and to remain faithful to God. It is the same for us today, if a law asked us, for example, to deny our faith (as is sometimes the case), the Bible does not recommend that we follow that law at all.

Like Peter and John before the Sanhedrin. Acts 4:19  But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

Neither did Peter and John comply when the Sanhedrin asked them not to speak of the Gospel under any circumstances. What God says will take precedence over what a person is going to ask us.

So we are no longer in a process where we are simply going to bless a person who is high up in prayer, asking God for wisdom in his decisions. We have seen that there may be circumstances where we need to use our spiritual authority when things are urgent, when there is a lot at stake, and when the person or persons involved obviously do not change their mind. Praying for authority is often an offensive action against spiritual powers.  Just because a high-ranking person is born again does not mean that he or she will always make decisions in accordance with what the Bible says. All Christians have different levels of knowledge and maturity. Just because a high-ranking person is not born again does not mean that he or she will always make decisions that go against what the Bible teaches. It is up to us to learn as much as we can so that we can pray in the right direction using the right tools that God has already given us. In this regard, it is also very important to have a good spiritual maturity. Knowing what the Bible teaches will help us not to make mistakes in our prayers.  

Bye for now.

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