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Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Praying for our leaders

By Helen O’Brien, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral

While I was sitting watching TV thinking about what to write for my blog the BBC interrupted the broadcast to announce the death of her majesty Queen Elizabeth the second.

You might be reading this as someone who does not support the monarchy or as a subject of another monarch, or citizen of a different country but I want to talk about her as a leader, from a Biblical perspective.

Praying for our leaders is a Biblical requirement. Paul passes on this instruction when he writes to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2.

Instructions on worship: 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 Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle – I am telling the truth, I am not lying – and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

Our political leaders, regardless of what you personally think about them or their policies, need our prayers. The church of England prays for the monarch every day.

For those of you who have never experienced worship in either a Church of England or an Anglican church, I would like to quote a few lines from the Book of Common Prayer. This book is used to structure their services.

“O Lord our heavenly Father,

high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes,

who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth;

most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour

to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth;

and so replenish her with the grace of thy Holy Spirit,

that she may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way:

endue her plenteously with heavenly gifts;

grant her in health and wealth long to live;

strengthen her that she may vanquish and overcome all her enemies;

and finally, after this life, she may attain everlasting joy and felicity;

This language may not be familiar to us but a rough translation is God please fill the Queen with the Holy Spirit”.

God’s plan was not for kings and queens to rule His people, rather judges to guide them.  In 1 Samuel 8 :11-17, we read how God warned the Israelites what Kings would be like when they first demanded one.

‘So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.

They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.

He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.

He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.

He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.

Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.’

Many Kings and Queens through history did indeed inflict such hardships on their subjects but Queen Elizabeth II never did. The Israelites may have rejected God as King but Queen Elizabeth never did.

She was a devoted Christian and was prepared to talk about her faith publicly as she led this country for over 70 years.

I mistakenly thought she was the head of the Church of England but I was put right by Wikipedia. She was in reality the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. This title was chosen to make sure no one thought the monarch was claiming divinity or usurping Christ, who is the head of the Church.

Ironically the title Defender of the faith was added in 1521 by Pope Leo 10th in recognition of Henry VIII’s opposition to the protestant reformation. It was withdrawn of course when Henry set up the Church of England but Parliament reconferred it in the reign of Edward VI.

This title seemed to mean the most to her majesty and she addressed the Church of England national assembly in December 2021.

  

“In our richly diverse modern society, the well-being of the nation depends on the contribution of people of all faiths, and of none,” her statement said.

“But for people of faith, the last few years have been particularly hard, with unprecedented restrictions in accessing the comfort and reassurance of public worship.

“For many, it has been a time of anxiety, of grief, and of weariness. Yet the Gospel has brought hope, as it has done throughout the ages.”

In our sadness we should all pray for the royal family in theirs and continue to ask that God fills them with the holy spirit.

Michael and Helen O'Brien Jubilee Church Wirral

Helen O’Brien with her husband Michael

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