We as Christians always pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in the church community. We always remember them in our prayers, whether it is thanking God for an answered prayer or praying with them and for them as they go through hardships in life. We also pray for our family and loved ones. We pray for their well-being and salvation if some are not yet saved. Besides praying for those people in our lives, we have also to pray for our nation.
Why do we pray for our nation?
First, we pray for our nation and its leaders because God commands us to do so. In 1 Timothy 2:1–4, the Bible commands us to make petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving for all people, including kings and people in authority. In our context, it would be praying for our government leaders. Praying for the government leaders would also be like praying for the nation. The government leaders are like the ship’s captain—what the government leaders do affects where the ship goes. Another important reason we are to always pray for our nation is that God commands us to pray for the well-being of our nation. In Jeremiah 29:7, God tells the exiled Israelites in Babylon to seek the nation’s welfare and pray to God on behalf of that nation.
To understand even better how this verse becomes the basis of praying for our nation, we have first to understand the context of Jeremiah 29:7 and how it applies to us Christians in the New Covenant. God judged Israel for its sins and therefore it was exiled to Babylon. God in His sovereignty used Babylon to judge Israel. That is where Jeremiah 29:7 comes in. Since they will be living in Babylon for a long period, they will adapt to living there. Since they are going to live there, they are also to seek the welfare of Babylon and pray to God on behalf of Babylon because whatever Babylon’s welfare is, so will their welfare be. If Babylon encounters severe famine, they shall also be affected by it. If Babylon is abundant with resources, so shall they be. When God commanded the Israelites to seek the welfare of Babylon and pray to Him on its behalf, it never meant that the Israelites should also take part in Babylon’s idolatry or any other sinful practices. Yes, they live in Babylon and cohabitate with the Babylonians, but that does not mean they are to be like them in terms of sinning against God.
An excellent example that we have is Daniel and his friends. They were hand-picked by King Nebuchadnezzar to serve in his court. Daniel and his friends adapted to living in Babylon. They adapted Babylonian clothing and even names. However, they refused when they were asked to participate in Babylon’s idolatry and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image. It even got them to be thrown into the fiery furnace, from which God delivered them. Just like the exiled Israelites, we are also in exile as Christians. We are pilgrims in this world because this world is not our real home. The Bible clearly states that we are sojourners and exiles here and that our real citizenship is in heaven. That is why we long for the day when Christ returns and bring us home to the place that He has prepared for us; when there will be no more sorrow, hunger, or death. However, while we are still waiting for that future hope to go to our real home, we are temporarily exiled here on earth. We have to pray for the welfare of our nation and pray to God on its behalf because it is where we are going to be living while we are not yet in our real home. Like Daniel and his friends, even if we are in the world, we are not of this world, which means we are here to be the salt and light of the world and never live like those of the world. We do that primarily by preaching Christ to the lost. In the end, we pray to God for the welfare of our nation because everything comes from God alone.
And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.
There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
1 Timothy 2:1–4
1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
1 Peter 2:11-12
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
How do you pray for the nation?
When you pray for your nation, you pray for specific areas that need to be prayed for, which we will list below. The most important thing that you can pray for is for the Gospel to propagate in the nation and that people will know Christ, repent, and follow Him. You can also pray for the churches and missionaries in your nation to always be bold in preaching the Gospel and that they will have open doors and opportunities to preach the Gospel to those who don’t know Him.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Another thing that you can pray for specifically is the nation’s government leaders. You can pray for wisdom upon them to make the wisest and best decisions for the nation, not for their interests but for the interests of the people. You can also include in your prayer that the decisions or legislations they make are those that are not evil in the sight of God. That is why the most important thing that you can pray for is the Gospel to propagate because real wisdom can only be found when a person fears God.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
When praying for a nation, you don’t just pray for its leaders but also its people. Good governance is not enough for a good nation. Its citizens should also do their part by subjecting themselves to the authority that God has placed over them. It also means that they should not be the cause of the nation’s problems. Pray for the people not just to be submitted to the government but to also learn to give honor to those for whom honor is due. A government does not have to be perfect for the people to submit. The only time the people should disobey their government is when it is causing them to do that which is sin and evil in the sight of God.
1 Peter 2:17
Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Another important thing that you can pray for, besides for the Gospel to propagate, is that the people call upon the LORD. Only God can cause awakening to happen in the hearts of the people. Therefore, you should pray for God to work in the hearts of the people and turn their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh so that they may seek God, repent, and follow Christ. God shows Himself to those who seek Him.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
As you seek the nation’s welfare and pray to God on its behalf, you can also pray for the nation’s affairs. One example is the economy or certain sectors of society where people are struggling. Other people are struggling to find affordable housing and make ends meet; the economy plays a big part in the welfare of the people. It affects the prices of their needs and the wages that they receive. You can also pray for the safety and protection of your nation.
Here is an example of a prayer that you can pray for your nation:
Father in heaven, You are the God who sits enthroned in the heavens. Everything comes from You alone. I pray that the Gospel shall propagate in my nation. I pray for all the Christians in my nation that they shall fulfill Your mandate, which is to make disciples and preach the Gospel to the lost. Give them the boldness to preach the Gospel. I also pray for the government leaders. I pray for open doors for them to hear the Gospel and repent. Give our leaders the grace to be wise in their leadership. May every decision and legislation they make be right in Your sight. I also pray for every citizen in this nation. Work in their hearts, Father, and soften their hearts so that they repent and seek You. I pray that they shall not always be full of criticism but honor those who lead our nation despite their imperfect leadership. I pray that they shall always strive to be part of the solution rather than the problem. Protect my nation from any threats from its foreign adversaries, and I pray that You would prosper the economy and other sectors of my nation so that people can live better lives. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
The key thing to remember here is to pray for the nation’s welfare. Just as you have concerns for your welfare and pray to God regarding those, so does your nation. However, the most important thing you can always pray for your nation is for the Gospel to penetrate the hearts of the leaders and its people.