by Rev Sng Chong Hui
It will be a long weekend of celebration with goodie bags, freebies, parade and fireworks.
And we have much to rejoice for 50 years ago our people then could never ever imagine a vibrant modern garden city with fighter jets displaying their prowess in stunts and defense of our country.
Surely, good government and good governance, which are key components that make our small nation strong, successful and exceptional, cannot be taken for granted.
And it is just why we need to pray for the leaders of our nation, and all the more as we head towards an imminent election.
The apostle Paul tells us that praying for the leaders of our nation is our number one prayer call.
“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” (I Timothy 2:1-3).
Those 3 words, “first of all” underline the high priority given to pray “for kings and all who are in authority.”
Praying for leaders of our nation should be top in our list of things to pray. It is not something we reserve for the last item in our prayer list. It is the number #1 prayer call.
The outcome is “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Praying for governing leaders of our nation is not something we do when we can afford the time.
Many think: “I have lots of work to do and lots of problems to deal with. I’m trying to get through my day just praying for my concerns. I don’t have time to pray for our nation. Let other people do it.”
Let me point out that every decision, plan and policy made by the leaders of our nation affects us personally in some ways, be it our jobs, our family life, our children’s education, our health care, our transport, our home, our social order, even right down to the acceptance of what may not be morally good, sound and right. That is why when it comes to praying for the leaders of our nation we cannot afford not to. It is our number one prayer call.
How we need to pray “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives” – free from war and disputes, free from terror threats and extremism, free from civil unrest, free from social turmoil, free from pestilence, free from anything which would disturb the peace and hampers the advancement of the Kingdom.
Although it is true that the outcome of our prayers is that we might live peaceful and quiet lives yet the objective of our praying is the advancement of the Gospel.
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:4).
Remember the days of SARS. How difficult it was for us to do Christian ministries. Hospital visitation and ministries came to a virtual halt. Church services would have closed down had the problem worsened. Of course, contact tracing did help us know who were our lost sheep but that “defining moment” ought to remind us to pray for our nation. We need to plead for God’s protective covering.
We can put up all kinds of security system and safeguards all over the island to stand watch for any viral and terror intrusions. But the Word of God reminds us:
“Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1)
We need the Lord to guard our city and to shield us. And that protective shield is not built upon trained guards and security systems. It is built upon prayer by calling upon our Lord who neither sleeps nor slumbers.
We need the peace and security in our nation for the work of the Gospel to continue. It was the “Pax Romana” (the peace of the Roman Empire) that helped the spread of the Gospel.
We need to pray for the leaders of our nations that their decisions will not put heavy restrictions on religious activities but that their political attitude towards the Church will help promote the grace and truth of God.
For thousand of years the first line of defense for a city was a strong high wall built around it. When I went to Nanjing in China, I saw the historic wall of Nanjing. It stands as a monumental relic surrounding almost the entire ancient city. It reminded me of the Chinese word for nation, “guo,” which has a picture of a wall surrounding the king and people.
A walled city could not be taken unless that wall was breached. A nation becomes vulnerable when the wall of morality is breached. A city becomes vulnerable when a wall of a good social order is breached. Any nation or city becomes vulnerable when the wall of security is breached making it easy for enemies to invade.
When we see these gaps in the wall, we need to quickly stand in the gap to pray and call upon God to invoke His power to block the forces of evil invading our nation.
And God is always looking for people who will stand in the gap on behalf of their land.
“I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land” (Ezekiel 22:30)
Your prayers can make a huge difference. Your prayers can change the attitude of the leaders of our nation. Your prayers can influence their decisions. Your prayers can become a hidden divine counsel.
Because your prayers are directed to the One who says in Proverbs 21:1
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes.”
May this tiny “red dot” of our city-state find great favor with our great God.
May all the latter years to come be better and more glorious than the former years that we can proudly say: Majulah Singapura!
For that we need to pray. Join me in this prayer:
Dear God our Father,
Your Word has taught us to pray for all governing authorities over us. And so we stand in the gap on behalf of our beloved nation Singapore to pray for our Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers and members of Parliament.
We pray that You will breathe a fresh wind of Your Holy Spirit over them to stir their hearts toward Your purposes. May we enter a new era of change and growth that will transform our nation to new heights of peace, progress and prosperity.
Just as You have blessed King Solomon’s request for wisdom, so we ask the same on their behalf that You will grant them wisdom from on high to govern this tiny nation making Singapore more and more inter-connected with the world, less and less vulnerable to the ups and downs of economic cycles and turmoils, with greater and greater plurality of views and voices in making right, sound and effective policies. Give to our Prime Minister, every Cabinet minister and Member of Parliament a wise and understanding heart to discern good from evil, right choices from false choices, wise judgment and decision that bring long term gains for the good of our nation. Help them to govern our people well with uncompromising integrity, with corresponding competence, with hearts of compassion and a strong sense of justice and equality so that we may all live peaceable and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
O Lord, let the legacy of good government, good governance, good succession and good international standing continue from one generation to the next.
We believe Your Word in Proverbs 8:16 “By You princes rule and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.”
We thank You for giving us good leaders to govern our nation. May you use them to establish Your government here on earth.
For the glory of Your Son Jesus Christ. In His wonderful Name we pray. Amen