By Werner Oder
Once upon a time the battle for Britain was fought on the battlefields of Europe. Endangered by Nazi invasion Britain’s Premiere Winston Churchill rallied the nation to fight for her survival:
We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
Today’s battle for the survival of Britain is not fought with tanks or Spitfires, it is fought in the prayer meetings of the world. I am sure you have attended a prayer meeting held by Christians concerned for their nation. The leaders, in line with the Bible, urge their congregation to make requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for everyone — 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 Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
This challenging passage is good, except that little instruction is provided in how to pray. Though everyone knows who to pray to and who to pray for, few seem to know how to pray and what to pray for! So, the general prayers seem to centre around the request for God to ‘give wisdom to the politicians’ and authorities of their nation. Wisdom to pass righteous laws, wisdom to write righteous legislation, wisdom to give righteous speeches, etc.
While all this sounds very spiritual and is done in utter sincerity, one wonders how much of this prayer effort is actually effective? It is not that God does not hear or does not want to act mightily in the nation so earnestly prayed for. The issue is how we pray, i.e. what we pray for those in authority and the people in government.
Since all powers and authorities are established by God, it will be important for the church to pray that God will enable authorities to realise, that they are a government under God, that they are responsible and accountable to God for all the decisions they make on behalf of the people they govern. This is something that many politicians were conscious of in the days of the early American presidents or the British government, even under King John (who was probably one of the worst kings England ever had). King John was at war with his barons over his abuse of power in 1215. As a result, the Magna Carta was drafted as one of the greatest constitutional document of all times, which emphasises that the nation’s laws and rulers should be subject to God, assuring ‘freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot’ (Lord Denning).
This does no longer seem to be the case, as modern politicians – with few exceptions, no longer heed God’s Word or consider themselves accountable to God, let alone to their constituents. Thus praying ‘for wisdom’ in this respect is barking up the wrong tree. How believers can convince themselves that such ‘toothless’ prayer can influence governments and change nations is beyond me.
Much prayer is being invested into the future of ‘Great Britain’. Among others, the Muslims are praying, the Pagans are praying and the Christians are praying. Whose prayers will prevail? The answer is not so straightforward as many assume, as it is not just God who answers prayers. The devil does too! He answers every prayer prayed in self-interest! Especially the prayer for ‘God to give wisdom to politicians’.
Divine wisdom for politicians?
It sounds a good and well intended prayer, but is it the right way to pray? Well, for one thing, the Bible tells us that wisdom is a gift of Grace reserved for the godly, who must ask God (James 1:5), therefore must believe in God. People who realise their lack of wisdom and ask God for Divine intervention, will receive wisdom.
However God will not give wisdom to those who ‘don’t do God’, don’t believe or even hate God. While Bible tells us that it is God who appointed all rulers and people in position of power, we have to understand that, as Lord Acton said, ‘power corrupts’. There is no better picture given to us than that of a particular Austrian farmer labourer. When he was given the power of an SS Sturmbannführer, Alois Brunner assisted Adolf Eichmann in the deportation of 10 000s Jews to death camps. (He was later hired by the CIA and sheltered by government in Syria, where he lived and died in peace). This may be an extreme example, but it helps us understand that absolute power corrupts absolutely, whether in Nazi Germany, in Syria or in the UK.
Who creates the political atmosphere in the world?
In order to pray for the British Government, we have to get the right perspective such as revealed in Psalm 2, which speaks about the true political agenda of national leaders, their politicians and their local authorities. These are the people, with few exceptions, who produce the political atmosphere in the world. Jesus told us that the world hates Christians and Jews, something Psalm 2 bears out: Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD (God) and against his Anointed One (Messiah!). “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.”
An article in the Mail after the Brexit vote spoke about politicians “conspiring against the people”. This is rarely borne out in the media, but it’s the truth. The world’s politicians – with few exceptions – are conspiring against God, the Messiah and His people. This is the only true conspiracy theory, except it’s not a theory. It is therefore foolish to apply Christian principles such as asking for divine wisdom for rulers who with corrupt power tolerate Anti-Semitism, boycott Israel and encourage Christian persecution through increasing anti-Christian laws. I wonder how many German Christians have prayed for God to give wisdom to Adolf Hitler? Since God will not answer such prayer, the devil will! He will freely give his ‘wisdom’ to those who have been corrupted by the power they have been given. ‘Devil’s wisdom’ inevitably results in corruption, ungodly laws and legislation in direct contradiction to the Bible, innuendos, shady deals behind the scenes, all covered by the lie that it’s not ‘in the interest of the public’.
In 2 Chron. 7:14 God’s people are called to turn from their wicked ways. This may well infer that Christians have to repent of the way they pray, turning from their naive traditional ‘wisdom’ prayers to powerful intercession for the Fear of God to come upon the land. Then wisdom will once again prevail.
So how are we to pray for this nation to be saved, as the much quoted ancient prophecy seems to indicate? Clearly the salvation of Britain does not mean saving the political system, securing our borders or getting a righteous government. Britain will be saved when the Brits get saved! Nothing else. Sadly many of those who pray for ‘Britain to be saved’, are grasping at straws if they don’t understand the fact that salvation does not consist of a better economy or political security.
Of course, we may pray for God to overrule bad governmental decisions, indeed we must ask for Him to thwart to council of the ungodly, but our prayers must go deeper than that! Among other things we have to pray strongly for God to bring the schemes of the wicked to nought.
To pray for our leaders and people in government requires more than just naive believism – it requires biblical perspective, which says that the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7). We must pray for the Fear of the Lord to fall upon our leaders, for God to terrify them in His wrath (Ps. 2). When the Fear of the Lord falls, conviction of sin follows. It is then that people realise that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Heb. 10:31)
Through the Fear of the Lord and the conviction of sin, repentance follows, which is the turning about that signifies true conversion. This is what we must pray if Britain is to be saved. We must turn away from praying naive prayers and start pleading with God for the Fear of God to fall upon this land. Like Abraham we lament that there is certainly no fear of God in this place (Gen. 20:11), in this nation, nor in the Church!
The conditional requirement for the healing of the nation is for God’s people to humble themselves, pray right and turn from their naive ways to praying right.
Let us pray for the terror of God to fall upon this land. Pray for God to grant repentance, leading to knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will (2 Tim. 2:25-26).
This nation has come to the brink of ruin because of it has turned away from the Lord Who made Britain great. I am not sure whether this nation can be saved, but one thing is sure, people will be saved when we pray for the Fear of the Lord to fall upon these isles – while there is time.
Let us be clear what God says to this nation and all the nations of the world: Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear… rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way… (Ps. 2)
It is time for Christians in the UK to make a U-turn in their prayers and pray for the Fear of God to fall upon our government instead of meaningless ‘wisdom prayers’. In doing so, God may well raise up God-fearing men and women in this nation and, more importantly, in the Church! This is how Britain can be saved, this is how the nations can be healed.
© Werner Oder, Tuckton Christian Centre Bournemouth United Kingdom