May 5, 2021 - John Knox
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness...I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands and pray without anger or disputing." (1st Timothy 2:1-2, 8)
The great Scottish Presbyterian Reformer, John Knox (A.D. 1514 -1572) was known for his great zeal for the Scottish people to be free from the tyrant rule of English Anglicans and Roman Catholics of his day. But he is best known for his prayer life.
Queen Mary of Scotland (Bloody Mary) stated she feared the prayers of John Knox more than the assembled armies of England. He prayed with power. He prayed with assurance. He prayed expecting. He prayed with conviction.
He not only prayed for those in authority but he also challenged them publicly when they strayed from the moral rule of law set forth by God. How far we have moved.
Honest question: What happened to our Christian influence? Does anyone fear our prayers? Do we pray with power. Do we pray with expectation? Do we pray with conviction?
I must confess that when it comes to the governing authorities, in particular, the federal government, I gripe and complain and criticize and, quite frankly throw my hands up in frustration. What I do not do is pray.
I am not sure that it all falls into the category of "defeated" but prayer is not my "default." There is a part of me that knows that this is the plan of God - for things to get worse, for governing authorities to be more and more antagonistic toward those who follow Christ and Christian morals. Why pray against something bound for hell? But therein lies the sin. Listen to the words of the prophet Samuel.
"As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you [rebellious Israel]. And I will teach you the way that is good and right."
But my flesh rises up and says, "But they repented and asked him to pray. They were open to instruction" True. But Jesus also said that we are to pray for our enemies. Ouch.
Someone has said that the power of prayer is not in the ability of the sinner but in the passion for one's Savior.
John Knox did not have a hatred for the English people as much as he had a passion for the Savior. John Knox did not have a hatred for Queen Mary as much as he had a hatred for authority that was against the teaching of Scripture. His hatred didn't make people tremble. His passion for Jesus made them tremble.
The National Day of Prayer is tomorrow. I can already feel the shaking. Pray for the king.