An Ancient Prayer for Government

Apostolic Fathers, The, 3rd ed.: Greek Texts and English Translations The Bible clearly calls Christians to honor, obey, and pray for those in authority over us, such as our civil government (Jer. 29:7, Rom. 13, 1 Pet. 2:13-17, Titus 3:1, etc.).  Although it’s not always easy to do, God’s people have been doing it for a long, long time!  One ancient example is found in 1 Clement, a letter written to Christians in Rome somewhere between 80 and 100 AD.  Here’s the excerpt of a prayer for civil government, found in 1 Clement 60:4-61:3:

“…[Lord], give harmony and peace to us and to all who dwell on the earth, just as you did to our ancestors when they reverently called upon you in faith and truth, that we may be saved, while we render obedience to your almighty and most excellent name, and to our rulers and governors on earth.”

“You, Master, have given them the power of sovereignty through your majestic and inexpressible might, so that we, acknowledging the glory and honor that you have given them, may be subject to them, resisting your will in nothing.  Grant to them, Lord, health, peace, harmony, and stability, so that they may blamelessly administer the government that you have given them.”

“For you, heavenly Master, King of the ages, give to human beings glory and honor and authority over the creatures upon the earth.  Lord, direct their plans according to what is good and pleasing in your sight, so that by devoutly administering in peace and gentleness the authority that you have given them may experience your mercy.  You, who alone are able to do these and even greater good things for us, we praise through the high priest and benefactor of our souls, Jesus Christ, through whom be the glory and the majesty to you both now and all generations and for ever and ever.  Amen.”

This section of 1 Clement was taken from The Apostolic Fathers, ed. by Michael Holmes.

shane lems

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