An Ancient Prayer for Governing Authorities

I was looking for early church prayers for governing authorities, and I came across excerpts of a prayer from 1 Clement, a letter written to Christians in Rome between 80–100AD. Here it is:

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.

1 Clement (80–100AD)

And of course, there are these words written by Paul:

First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 2:1–4

Whatever else we make of our governing leaders, we are called to pray for them. Even if we don’t like them or agree with them, we can and should do that.

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