Praying for the Australian Government
(by Lilian Schmid, January 2014)
“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. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” [1 Timothy 2:1-4]
In 2014 the Lord put in our hearts to start these initiatives: “Adopt a Senator” and “Adopt an MP”. Choose one federal MP (House of Representatives) and One Senator in the Australian parliament to pray for each day.
The transformational changes taking place through the kingdom of God on earth should be kept in the perspective of “already – not yet.” Transformation will be completed when God announces “I am making everything new!” from his throne at the return of Christ (Revelation 21:5). In the meantime, we are urged to live transformed lives and look forward to the day of God and speed its coming (2 Peter 3:11-13). Only then will there be “a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” As the first coming of Christ has motivated his disciples to witness and serve (2 Corinthians 5:14) so the second coming of Christ gives urgency to living transformed lives and doing transformational mission (2 Peter 3:14, 2 Corinthians 5:11).
[Adapted from Transform World Global Challenge Summit 2012]
The Kingdom of God advances as individuals hear and accept the Gospel by faith, are born again, and experience inward regeneration, and transformation expressed in obedience to “all I have commanded” (John 3:3, 16, Acts 2:21, and Romans 1:16-17). However, God’s concern goes beyond the salvation of individual people. His redemptive plan encompasses the healing and transformation of entire nations (Genesis 12:1-2 and Matthew 28:19-20). Nations are discipled as the church makes the invisible Kingdom visible by faithful obedience to God’s Word throughout culture – in every area of life and every realm of society including the family, the community, the arts, sciences, media, law, government, schools, business, etc. (Genesis 1:26-28, 22:18, Deuteronomy 4:5-8, 30:11-20, and Colossians 1:18b).
The Bible is the inspired, infallible, powerful, and authoritative Word of God (John 17:17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). It represents a comprehensive worldview, revealing God’s truth to all peoples about the nature of ultimate reality, the source of evil, the origin and nature of the physical universe, the meaning and purpose of human life and the goal of history (Genesis 1:1, Colossians 1:15-18). Christ’s disciples must have their minds renewed by actively putting off false worldviews – distortions of the truth used by Satan to enslave individuals and nations – and be transformed by the Biblical worldview (Matthew 22:37, Romans 1:18-23, 12:2, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Colossians 2:6-8, and 1 Peter 1:13).
God is Lord of all, and therefore, His redemptive concern is comprehensive – seeking to bring healing and restoration to “all things” by means of Christ’s blood shed on the cross (Genesis 1:31a, Romans 8:18-23, Colossians 1:19-20). The Kingdom of God advances to the extent that local churches reflect God’s comprehensive, redemptive concern for the whole of creation (Matthew 4:23, Luke 4:18-21). Therefore, the ministry of the church must be holistic – encompassing the whole person (spiritual, physical, and social), and all of their relationships (with God, with others, and with the environment, Genesis 1:26-28). The answers to these questions should set the agenda for the local church: What would our town look like if Christ were mayor? What would our nation look like if Christ were president?
Empower through acknowledgement of ministry gifts, calling, and service:
“Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word …and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” [Acts 6:3-7]
“Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward even forever.” [Isaiah 9:7]
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” [Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV]
Australian Parliament and Government
[Extracts from the Australian Parliament House website]
It has long been recognised that checks and balances are necessary in a system of government to ensure that individual power is not abused. A Parliament to which the executive government, the ministry, is responsible for its actions is one such check. Parliament is the law-making assembly where the opinions, interests and beliefs of the people are represented. It is the foundation upon which modern democracy is built. It is the Parliament’s role to ensure that government is answerable to the governed.
The Senate is one of the two houses of the federal Parliament, the other being the House of Representatives. Democratically elected, and with full legislative power, it is generally considered to be, apart from the Senate of the United States of America, the most powerful legislative upper chamber in the world.
In the federal Parliament, the opportunities for the House of Representatives to operate as an effective check on government are significantly reduced because the party or coalition of parties forming government usually holds a majority of its seats and, through extremely rigid voting discipline, controls the House. However, the development of the Australian system of responsible government, under which the federal government is responsible to the Senate as well as the House of Representatives, has ensured that the federal Parliament, through one of its houses, is able to perform its role as a check on government.
The Senate fulfils its role as a check on government by scrutinising bills, delegated legislation, government administration, and government policy in general. It does this by way of procedures utilised in the Senate chamber itself and through the operation of the Senate committee system.
There are 76 senators – twelve for each state and two each for the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. Senators are elected by a system of proportional representation for a period of six years. A system of rotation, however, ensures that half the Senate retires every three years.
There are currently 150 members of the House of Representatives, each representing one geographic area of Australia. Members are elected for a 3 year term and when in parliament take part in debate on proposed laws and public policy, representing the views of the people in their electorate.
The House of Representatives has a number of important functions: it determines the government, debates and passes laws, watches over government administration and expenditure, and provides a forum for public debate on issues of national importance.
For more information go to the Australian Parliament House website www.aph.gov.au
Biblical Verses to Consider/Meditate
1 Timothy 2:1-4
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
But 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.
1 Peter 2:17
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
1 Timothy 2:1-15
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.
Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
2 Corinthians 4:4
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
He who opens the breach goes up before them; they break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king passes on before them, the Lord at their head.
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.
He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away. He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in the dark without light, and he makes them stagger like a drunken man.
When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.
1 Timothy 2:1
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
1 Timothy 2:1-2
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
In which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience
Do all things without grumbling or questioning,
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.
Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.
The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!
And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.’
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,
Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.