BlogsThoughts 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.
Helen O’Brien with her husband Michael
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Helen on the importance of Friends and what God has to say about them in the Bible.
Andrew on evangelism, how we are all evangelists whether we like it or not, and how to evangelise easily.
Dawne on the parable of the lost sheep and the lessons we can take from it as followers of Jesus and members of His flock.
Yvonne on loss and how God has helped her deal with the loss of her mum and the impending departure of her eldest son to his first job
Nicki on serving at Newday and the impact it has had on all three Frodsham children and many, many others
Simon on the frustrations of not being able to get to sleep properly, and the Bible verses that help him stand firm against sleeplessness.
Gerry on how easy it is to be drawn into gossip. “If you can’t say anything positive, don’t say anything at all” isn’t just good advice, it’s Biblical wisdom.
Sylvia on being an encourager: “God knows our troubles. When we open up to Him, He’ll use other people to encourage us through His word.”
Lynne on doing what God wants us to do even when we really don’t want to do it – and why it’s important
Chris on the power of our words and how having a relationship with Jesus can give us the power of the right word at the right time.
Helen on why Psalms have taken the place of Proverbs as her favourite book of the Bible
Andrew Greenhalgh on being much better at giving advice than at taking it – and what happens as a result.
Chantal Robertson on how God and the gospel of Christ has never changed over time – even though the way we package it has.
Nicki on how she was planning to work in the marketing and advertising industry until God led her in a different direction.
Dawne challenges us to look at life with the enthusiasm, joy and exuberance of her Macedonian dog Floki and find joy in the everyday.
Jen on how taking the Alpha Course because she had nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternoon led to a life-changing wheelchair for her daughter Daisy and many others.
Gerry on how her ideas of what love truly is have changed over the years, and how love can be so much more than a feeling.
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Denise Griffiths on resolutions and why she has resolved not to make the usual New Year’s resolutions such as giving up chocolate, eating healthier or doing more exercise!
Vernon on the transience of life, and how, through all suffering, God’s steadfast love has the capacity to satisfy us every morning.
Andrew Greenhalgh on how he ended up going to church on Christmas morning for the first time at the age of 11 – and what it has taught him.
Helen on how preparations for Christmas vary from family to family and country to country. And what happened to Helen’s Lindt advent chocolates?