From the grief our guide in Israel expressed over the destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon’s temple you might think it occurred recently instead of in 70 AD. Yet after almost 2000 years, the Jews still have no temple. An Islamic shrine sits over its ruins. Our guide blamed human error for this travesty. If only a leader hadn’t delayed the armies going to Jerusalem.
His words show why we need to pray for our leaders and reminded me of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord'” (Luke 13:34-35 NIV).
Human error went much deeper than bad timing. When Israel rejected her Messiah she shunned His protection.
When I see world leaders make apparently foolish and dangerous decisions, like our guide, I bemoan their shortsightedness. Our world’s turmoil springs from the same root as Israel’s loss. It has rejected the Savior and His wisdom.
Psalm 37 tells us not to fret over evildoers. Fretting doesn’t solve the problem and causes us to do wrong. This Psalm offers better options that include—trusting in the Lord, doing good, being faithful, and taking delight in the Lord. When we do this, God takes care of the bigger issues.
One way we do this is to pray.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 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 people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV).God has wired the world to run on prayer. #pray Click To Tweet
Notice what prayer accomplishes.
Prayer benefits us.
Pray, “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives.” God has wired the world to run on prayer. When we cast our cares on Him and intercede for others, not only does God move in our circumstances, He calms us.
Prayer pleases God.
“This…pleases God our Savior.” Like it makes us happy when our loved ones thrive and enjoy us, it makes God happy when we talk to Him in prayer and live “peaceful lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Prayer changes the world.
God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Have you noticed arguing doesn’t change hearts? Spiritual blindness is a heart issue. But God changes hearts when we pray.
I’ve tried fretting, and the Psalmist is right. It doesn’t bring the world or me peace. Click To Tweet
Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants” (2 Tim. 2:23-26 NLT).
Join me in praying for our leaders.
Dear Father, we know You want all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. Please grab the hearts of our leaders in government, education, business, health, communications, entertainment and religious institutions and grant them salvation through Jesus Christ. Remind them that they are accountable to You for how they lead. Grant them the grace and desire to seek You and Your wisdom and to honor You in their private and public lives. Surround them with wise counselors. In Jesus’ name.
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Photos by: Ben White