You Will Find Your Welfare

4th July 2024

By the time you are reading this we will know the result of the General Election and which political party (or parties!) will be leading us in the coming years. However we feel about the result, it is now the task of us all to pray for our new government.

When I first began attending an Anglican church, I remember finding it strange that the intercessions included prayers for our political leaders. This had not been the experience in the church of my youth and at first I struggled to understand why we would ask God to get involved in politics! But over time I have come to a deeply value the way the Church of England, as the ‘established church’, takes seriously its responsibility to pray for our national life and for the common good of all citizens.

The call to pray for our country is deeply embedded in the Bible. For example, Psalm 72 is a prayer for the king and for the wise and just government of the nation: “Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son; May he judge your people with righteousness and your poor with justice.” (Psalm 72.1)

This prayer is extended by the prophet Jeremiah. When the leaders of the nation are taken into captivity in Babylon, Jeremiah writes a letter to the exiles, encouraging them to pray for the peace of their new city, saying they are to “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jeremiah 29.7)

The New Testament writers continue this tradition and are clear that Christians have a responsibility to be good citizens, engaged and participating in wider affairs. Paul writes that a central part of that responsibility is to intercede for our nation regularly and faithfully: “First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2.1-2)

It is absolutely clear from Scripture that, as Christians, we must cry out to God for our country. And we do this trusting that God does not call his people to activities which have no purpose. Prayer really changes thing. Prayer contributes to the health and wellbeing of the nation. Prayer expresses what we most deeply long for and value. Prayer can change us and give renewed perspective. Prayer can affect the course of history.

So let us pray for our new Prime Minister, the new government and our country at the start of this new season – ‘pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare’.

Yours in Christ
Revd Jemima