Prayer for the Government and Those Under Authority

From Johann Gerhard (1582–1637), Meditations on Divine Mercy

Omnipotent, eternal, and merciful God, Lord of hosts, You remove kings and set up kings (Daniel 2:21). All powers in heaven and on earth are from You (Colossians 1:16). In heaven, the angels worship You, archangels praise You, thrones revere You. Governing authorities are subject to You and revere You, dominions serve You (Romans 13:1-4), the powers fear You. With these holy and most powerful spirits I join my payers, such as they are, and humbly ask You to fill our earthly government with the spirit of wisdom. Protect it with the strength of Your might. Support with Your grace all Christian rulers so the more they encounter danger because of their high position, the more they will experience the abundance of Your kindness. Kindle in their hearts the light of heavenly wisdom, so they recognize that they are subject to You, Lord of all, that they are Your vassals, and that one day they must give account for their governing.

May they strive for peace because they serve You, the Prince of Peace. May they strive for justice because they serve You, the most just Judge. May they strive to be merciful because they serve You, the kindest Father. May they be guardians of the Ten Commandments and of the Church, which is downtrodden in this world. May they show goodwill and correct judgment toward those under their authority. Draw their hearts away from the splendor of earthly and miserable power, so a forgetfulness of the heavenly kingdom and true piety does not creep up on them. Rule them by Your Holy Spirit so they do not become puffed up with pride and misuse the power granted to them. Grant that they carry out their official duties in such a way that they may rule without end in eternity with all the elect, and pass from the most fleeting glory of this age to the eternal glory of the heavenly kingdom. Prevent them from exercising tyranny over Your people so, after wearing glittering clothing and elegant gems, they do not descend, naked and wretched, to be tormented in hell.

You willed us to be subject to Your representatives. Grant to us obedient hearts. Make us ready to serve with complete willingness, so under the authority of Your representatives we may lead quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness and virtue (1 Timothy 2:1). May we show honor and obedience to those whom we acknowledge as possessing authority and power over us. May we comply with their honorable commands, so by keeping these laws we may be partakers of true liberty. True liberty is, in short, to serve God, government, and law. O kindest God, may we honor with heart, word, and deed those whom You have willed to be Your representatives on earth. May the eyes of the government leaders be watchful and observant (Proverbs 20:8). May the ears of those under their authority be open and attentive. May the gates of heaven finally be open and unobstructed to both.

AMEN.

Johann Gerhard, Meditations on Divine Mercy (tr. Matthew C Harrison; St. Louis: CPH, 2003), 138–140.

F.G. Hedberg on the New Life in Christ

So when the Apostle says that we have both died and been raised together with Christ in baptism (Col 2:12), his meaning is clearly nothing but this: We have been so truly joined to the body of the Christ who once died for our trespasses and was raised for our justification (Rom 4:25) that, on the basis of this union, we already in baptism we have received the real foundation and beginning of the death of the old man and the resurrection of the new man. … Its progression is the entire purpose and goal of the Christian life, but its fulfilment will be attained only when in true faith we depart from this life in the blessed hour, when we this body of sin is fully taken off and buried, and when it rises on the Last Day purified and glorified to eternal life.

Fredrik Gabriel Hedberg, Pyhän kasteen puolustus (Finnish translation of Baptismens vederläggning och det heliga dopets försvar [A Refutation of the Baptists and a Defence of Holy Baptism], 1855), 113.