Summary: With tears in his eyes, Lincoln responded, “You are the very first person who has ever come into my office asking not, expecting not, but rather bringing me a gift of prayer. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Benefit Yourself By Praying for Your Authorities (I Tim 2:1,2)

There is a general skepticism about authorities in our world today. But the Bible makes it clear that it is our obligation to pray for those who are in authority over us so that we live peaceful and quiet lives. Failue to pray for authorities can result in all kinds of chaos, misfortune and decay.

Illustration: Abe Lincoln

Imagine what a heavy schedule of appointments President Abraham Lincoln had to keep day after day. Yet when an elderly woman with no official business in mind asked to see him, he graciously consented.

As she entered Lincoln’s office, he rose to greet her and asked how he might be of service. She replied that she had not come to ask a favor. She had heard that the President liked a certain kind of cookie, so she had baked some for him and brought them to his office.

With tears in his eyes, Lincoln responded, “You are the very first person who has ever come into my office asking not, expecting not, but rather bringing me a gift. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Our Daily Bread, June 4, 1997

Illustration: Bill Moyers

The story goes that one time when Bill Moyers was a special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson, he was asked to say grace before a meal in the family quarters of the White House. As Moyers began praying softly, the President interrupted him with “Speak up, Bill! Speak up!” The former Baptist minister from east Texas stopped in mid-sentence and without looking up replied steadily, “I wasn’t addressing you, Mr. President.”

Don Oberdorfer in Washington Post, quoted in Reader’s Digest, April, 1980

Illustration: Cattle on a Thousand Hills

In its early days, Dallas Theological Seminary was in critical need of $10,000 to keep the work going. During a prayer meeting, renowned Bible teacher Harry Ironside, a lecturer at the school, prayed, “Lord, you own the cattle on a thousand hills. Please sell some of those cattle to help us meet this need.” Shortly after the prayer meeting, a check for $10,000 arrived at the school, sent days earlier by a friend who had no idea of the urgent need or of Ironside’s prayer. The man simply said the money came from the sale of some of his cattle!

Today in the Word, MBI, January, 1990, p. 36

I. The Holy Spirit helps you pray for your authorities in the following areas, use these as a helpful guideline:

1. The Spirit urges you to make all requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for all those in authority. As we pray in the power of the Spirit for our authorities, we will experience numerous spin off benefits in the way the Lord blesses those who are over us. (I Timothy 2:1,2)

Illustration: Ask for Great Things

It is said that on one occasion when Caesar gave a very valuable present, the receiver replied that it was too costly a gift. The Emperor answered that it was not too great for Caesar to give. Our God is a great King, and He delights to give gifts to us: so let us delight to ask Him for great things.

Moody’s Anecdotes, p. 10

2. The Spirit teaches you how to ask God to grant your authorities ALL spiritual wisdom and insight so that they can walk in a way that pleases the Lord in all respects and bears fruit in every good work while they increase in the knowledge of God. Pray that they will be strengthened with all power according to HIS glorious might for the obtaining of all steadfastness and patience with joy. (Col. 1:9-11)

3. The Holy Spirit reminds you to ask the Lord to supply the following specific needs for your authorities:

A. Balance in all of their decisions, actions, perspectives

B. Cooperation from their people, peers and superiors in the church, government & community

C. Assistance in areas of weakness

D. Humility to remain teachable, available and faithful to the word of God in all circumstances

E. Focus on Jesus Christ as the author and perfecter of our faith

F. Discipline for the purpose of Godliness

G. Health, emotional, physical & mental well being

H. Protection, safety, security and safe keeping

I. Provisions, supplies, materials and resources

J. Successfully fight the good fight of faith

K. Taking up the full armor of God

L. Consistently praying in the Spirit

M. Courage to accomplish all that God desires

N. Favorable relationships with other wise leaders who they can learn, sharpen and benefit from

O. Sensitivity to the needs of their people

P. A servant’s heart, mind and lifestyle

Q. Willingness to learn from correction and change

R. Wisdom in choosing Biblically qualified advisers who can help complement their gifts and abilities

S. A healthy fear of the Lord

T. Willingness to trust and obey God in all ways

U. Vision, goals, and purposes that come from God

V. Endurance, perseverance & steadfastness

W. Willingness to let God work through suffering

X. Consistently be filled with Spirit so as to demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control

Z. Willingness to put away all traces of anger, wrath, slander, malice, bitterness, brawling, rage, immorality, impurity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and ungodliness

AA. Clear priorities that are Biblically based

BB. Growth in social, mental, emotional, cultural, physical, political, moral, behavioral, educational, interpersonal, financial, and spiritual areas of life

CC. Articulative ability to speak the truth in love while growing up in all areas in Christ

DD. Clear communicational & persuasive skills

EE. Seeking the glory of God above all things

FF. Loving the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength and mind and their neighbor as themselves

GG. Consistently looking to the fields that are ripe for harvesting through evangelism, outreach ministries and planting and growing churches

HH. Ability to manage, organize and administrate

II. Ability to maintain the necessary services to keep the organization running smoothly in God’s will

JJ. Ability to trust in the Lord with all their heart so that they do not rely on their own insights

KK. Consistently build leaders who meet the qualifications of a Biblical overseer (I Tim. 3:1-6)

LL. Good connections & networking with people

MM. Decisions that are Biblically based and supported by the prayers of a plurality of Godly elders who are putting God’s interests first

NN. Focus on seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness so that worries are minimized

OO. Wholesome conversations that are edifying

PP. A healthy supply of Godly counselors to assist in making, the wisest decisions with the direction of your church, its resources and personnel

QQ. Cognitive, affective, moral and presentational growth in their preaching and teaching

RR. A healthy balance of rich content, persuasive delivery and organization in their communications

SS. Progressive blessings as seen in the qualitative and quantitative growth of your organization

TT. Ability to wait on the Lord before acting

UU. An overcoming attitude through God’s power

VV. An ability to deal with problems in the Spirit’s power, wisdom and truthful sensitivity to people

WW. Tact, discretion and diplomacy in all matters

XX. Growth in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ

ZZ. A Godly family and personal lifestyle

AAA. A rich devotional life of abiding in Christ

BBB. Biblical ability to balance love and truth

CCC. Ability to overcome all evil temptations

DDD. Ability to overcome evil with good

EEE. Ability to complete the work God has called them to do personally and organizationally

Conclusion: Cause of Leanness and Unfruitfulness

The principle cause of my leanness and unfruitfulness is owing to an unaccountable backwardness to pray. I can write or read or converse or hear with a ready heart; but prayer is more spiritual and inward than any of these, and the more spiritual any duty is the more my carnal heart is apt to start from it. Prayer and patience and faith are never disappointed. I have long since learned that if ever I was to be a minister, faith and prayer must make me one. When I can find my heart in frame and liberty for prayer, everything else is comparatively easy.

Richard Newton, source unknown