Don't Forget The Judges - They administer and interpret the Law

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a judge?  There are various courts in UK – the Crown court, the High Court or the County Court for example.  Each has a specific role, but what is certain in each situation is that the judge is expected to administer the law of the country impartially and not according to his/her inclinations.

Some years ago, I had to appear before a judge in a civil matter and it was obvious that I had been incorrectly advised.  This advice led to a debt of several thousand pounds.  But, according to the law, I was the one at fault and had to pay up.  How God met that situation is another story.  I sensed the judge’s unspoken sympathy, but he had to do what the law required.  This is when I realised that there can be a difference between the law and justice.

Then there are occasions when a law is passed by the Government to meet a particular situation, but there are unexpected ‘knock on’ effects.  Perhaps we have spent a lot of time praying for our Government that the laws will be good and just. 
Scales of JusticeBut have we prayed for the judges?  Much responsibility rests on their shoulders to interpret and administer the law.  Judges are also people.   Maybe there are ambiguities so that a law is open to more than one interpretation?  What other dilemmas unknown to the general public could a judge have to face?  Whatever their personal feelings, ideals or thoughts, they are required to be impartial, without bias, and administer the law justly.

At the time of writing, we have an example of the effect of a judicial ruling.  This is in the matter of The Named Person Scheme.  The scheme would have allowed for the sharing of sensitive personal information without consent.  The rights of parents and children would have been undermined.   It was judges at the UK Supreme Court who ruled that the scheme would be in contravention of human rights.  The scheme must now be either dropped or amended to make it compliant with human rights.

What should we look for in a judge and how can we pray for judges?  The Bible is a wonderful source of information.  See what Solomon, who is known as the wisest man of all time, prayed at the beginning of his reign.
His words recorded in 1 Kings 3:9 are eloquent.  "Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil."

And then in 2 Chronicles 1:10: "Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people."

It is the prophet Isaiah who recorded a desperate situation in Israel’s history when judges were corrupt.
Isaiah 59:8-9: "The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace. Therefore justice is far from us, nor does righteousness overtake us; we look for light, but there is darkness! for brightness, but we walk in blackness!"
Corrupt judges can bring a country to its knees as is obvious in Isaiah’s description.  Judges need our prayers.  Prayer is more powerful than most of us are aware.  We can pray that our judges will be:
  • Godly: Psalm 37:4-5      
  • Wise: Psalm 2:10      
  • Righteous: Psalm 19:9      
  • Trustworthy: Deuteronomy 1:16
A godly judge knows that one day, he will stand before the Eternal Judge.  Like King David of old may he be able to say: "Judge me, O LORD, For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide." Psalms 26:1 (NKJV).

Judges need our prayerful support, so let us pray.
June Freudenburg
(This article first appeared in "Directions")

June Freudenberg, 18/11/2016

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Praying for the Police - They uphold the Law

VeryfriendlyMPSofficersinLondoIt was a Friday night and the faithful had gathered for the Night of Prayer.  Suddenly a ripple of concern spread through the gathering.  A policeman in full uniform was in the foyer and asking for me. He had come by invitation and with the agreement of his captain to join us in prayer.  Based at the local police station, I had met him by chance and discovered that he was a Christian.  Not only that, he told me how God had called him to be a policeman.  Later, as he gave his testimony, there was a breathless hush in the congregation which spoke of the power of his testimony regarding how God had led him to join the police force.

Obviously, not every member of the police force has been called by God to take up that calling.  Sadly, there have been occasions when members of the police force have let down the desired reputation of the force.  For all their faults and failings we cannot do without our police.  

Every member of the force is also a person.  What temptations come their way?  What are the personal problems with which they have to contend?  How do they cope with attacks on their person in a riot situation or other times of personal danger?  How do they deal with the situation when they are considered ‘the enemy’ by some people?

The police virtually stand between the public and those with wrong or evil intent.  If we lose our way, we will ask a friendly policeman to help us.  If something is stolen from us, we call the police.  When there is an accident, or a fraud is perpetrated, or there is a burglary, we call the police.  More particularly, when there are large gatherings, the police are there to keep order.  We have seen this at the Notting Hill Carnival, on marches and other similar events.

In recent years, there has been an escalation of violence.  Stabbings, murders, or terror situations  occur too frequently.  How can we make a difference in these situations?  Perhaps we think that the police must learn how to deal with what is happening.  Yes, they have a role to play.  But prayer can make a difference.

In May 2000, I read with great interest a Ceefax report which said in essence:-
Police use prayer power to tackle crime.
A police inspector said the power of prayer led to a dramatic fall in crime.  An Inspector who was an area commander, said crime in the area for which he was responsible was reduced overnight after he sent out a prayer request to 19 churches in the area.  Youth crime fell by 40%, crime went from 35 to one or two incidents a week and overall crime fell by 10% in two years.

Here is proof positive of the power of prayer.  The power of prayer is the same today as it was in 2000.  We can pray that the Lord will bring to the attention and warn the police of plans for evil. 

Pray that:
  • God will reveal sources of violence.  Isaiah 60:18 (NKJV): "Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; But you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise." 
  • God will unveil evil purposes. Proverbs 14:22 (NKJV): "Do they not go astray who devise evil? But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good."
The safety and well-being of the people of the land does not only rest with the police.  We have our part to play as we pray.  You may never know just how much you can affect your area, your city or your nation as you pray. 

For ourselves and for the police, let us pray that we will all have:

Protection: Psalm 91:3-7    
No fear: Deuteronomy 31:8    
Wisdom: Proverbs 1:2-7    
Safety: Psalm 121:7&8

As we pray for those in authority, intercede, and give thanks for them, the Lord will honour His word and cause us to live a quiet and peaceable life in all holiness and godliness.

Together we can do it, so let us pray.
June Freudenburg
(This article first appeared in "Directions")

June Freudenberg, 07/11/2016

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Calling all Pra-yers - Your MP Needs you

Consider this possibility.  The election is over, the votes have been counted, and you have won the seat for your constituency.  Now the real business begins.  The public persona becomes the professional persona with the responsibility of representing all those who voted for you – and those who didn’t. HouseofCommons

Now people begin to watch you to see what you will do.  There are surgeries to run; people will write to you for all manner of reasons; you will be invited to public events.   You take your seat in the House; attend committees; make speeches; organise your support staff – and pay for them.  What will the media say about you?   How do you balance party and political requirements with your personal responsibilities?  What about the unexpected aspects? And, there is likely to be a family to include somehow.  

The fact is that voters who hoped for great things from you before the election may be the first to criticise you.  Things you say may be misinterpreted, even misquoted, or quoted out of context.   You may become overwhelmed because you find it difficult to achieve all that you hoped.  The days will seem too short.

So why did you want to be an MP?  Was it because you had a desire to serve your country; or a desire for authority or power; or to make a difference in society; or maybe it is political ambition that is the driving force?  For nearly thirty years I have been privileged, mainly through association with a Parliamentary Prayer Group, to observe one reason that has stood out above them all.  Some MP’s can truly say that God has called them.  They have a God-given sense of vocation.  As surely as there are people whom God has called and who have been ordained as ministers of the gospel, there are those whom God has ordained to be his ‘ministers’ in the political sphere.  This does not mean that God has become a party member preferring one party above another.  Rather, it is that in ‘the multitude of counsellors there is wisdom’.  

It is no wonder that the Holy Spirit through Paul’s letter to Timothy exhorted him to pray for those in authority.  Why did Paul need to exhort Timothy?  Similarly, have we been so caught up with our day to day situations that we have missed this significance?  Is that why Paul was exhorting Timothy?  Not only does it seem that Timothy had missed this but Paul exhorts Timothy to pray first of all.  This could be paraphrased - I urge and admonish you, before you pray for anything else, pray for those in authority.   The fact is that all our daily lives are affected by the laws of the land - laws already in existence and those that are under consideration.  They will affect our daily lives, our business lives, our church life and even the expression of our Christian experience.  

So, how should we pray?   Should we pray only for people we can agree with? or only for Christian MP’s?   The exhortation is to pray for all.  Let us pray according to scripture that our MP’s will not only be politically able, but also they will be:
  • Wise Proverbs 4:7-8       
  • Discreet Proverbs 2:10-11    
  • Diligent  Proverbs 12:24    
  • Godly 1 Timothy 6:6
As you pray for your MP, you open the doors for God to move in his/her life.  As you pray it could be that the greatest joy of all will become theirs as they open their life to Him Who is Lord of all.  

Let me exhort you with Paul’s words to Timothy –
‘First of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority,’

And the result?
‘that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.’  1 Timothy 2:1&2

Now that is something to be greatly desired.  So, let us pray.

June Freudenburg
(This article first appeared in "Directions")

June Freudenburg, 21/10/2016

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Can The Voice of God Be Heard in Politics?

The question, “What do you think of the politicians of today”, will, more often than not, bring negative responses. “They are only in it for the money – the power – the position”; “It is impossible to find an honest politician”; “Westminster is full of hot air” are likely replies. Seldom is there a positive or sympathetic thought for the politician and the challenges of a personal and family life while fulfilling his or her demanding public role on behalf of their constituents. The media makes us very much aware of the faults and failings of any politician.

HoP - pubic domainYet, the Houses of Parliament, described as the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ (because of the adoption of the Westminster Model of Parliamentary Democracy by many countries) has thereby had a world-wide influence. The Palace of Westminster houses the debating chambers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and may seem far beyond the influence of most citizens, yet, through prayer, it is possible to have a powerful influence on politicians and, through them, the government of the nation.

It was Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who said, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” It is through prayer that we, as Christians, can reach into the Palace of Westminster and have a greater influence than we can imagine. There is power in the spoken word and to speak critically or negatively, is destructive. To take our anxieties, concerns and desires to the Lord in prayer is constructive and opens the door for the Lord to move on our behalf.

As we, as Christians, have become more aware that laws that once reflected godly standards are being eroded, belatedly, we have become more concerned about the laws that have been passed or are under consideration. Previously, we have been guilty of doing nothing or of failing to pray for our parliament and our politicians. Before praying for our politicians, should we not come to the Lord in repentance that we have failed to be obedient to His word? Today, there is a greater awareness of our need to pray, but has repentance been missing?

How should we pray? Begin by praying for the politician that represents the constituency in which you live. Pray for him or her according to 1 Timothy 2:1 & 2. To begin, try to imagine what pressures you would experience if you were a Member of Parliament. Take a walk in their shoes, so to speak, then you will pray with greater understanding. Pray similarly for the Prime Minister.

Pray for the parliamentary business of the day. Ask the Holy Spirit to presence Himself in the Palace of Westminster that He may influence the business of the day. Proverbs 21:1 says “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water: He turns it wherever He wishes.” Remember, it is also true that “we have not, because we do not ask”. Have we been asking God why some ungodly laws have been passed, and forgotten or overlooked that we have failed to pray?

When it comes to laws that do not reflect a godly standard, it is tempting to pray only for the law to be changed, or not to be passed at all. This leaves the situation that prompted the proposed change untouched. For example, the Abortion Law of 1967 brought a great outcry and many did pray that it would not be passed. What would have happened, if we had prayed also that the spiritual eyes and ears of the politicians had been opened to see and understand the full result that such a law would bring? Perhaps the understanding that has come as a result of the passing of the Abortion Law would have been realised much earlier. At the time of writing, records showed that UK had the greatest percentage of teenage pregnancies and the greatest percentage of abortions in Europe.

What Party should we pray for? Let us remember that God is not a Party member. Testimonies have been given by members of various parties of how God called them to be a Member of Parliament! Truly it is “in the multitude of counsellors that there is safety”. Proverbs 11:14. Within Westminster Palace, there are a number of Christian groups that meet regularly for fellowship. These groups have representatives from different Political Parties and meet in fellowship as members of the body of Christ – while their parties oppose each other in the House!

The godly members of both houses do have a voice, and they do have an influence. Let us pray for them that God will open a way for their influence to be more powerful. It is through them that God can speak into the affairs of this nation.

Praying for government leaders as Paul instructed Timothy is vital. Someone once said, “We get the government we pray for!” This should challenge us to pray more fervently and consistently, not just when we consider there is a special situation.

But prayer alone is not enough! Prayer never stands alone. David would never have overcome Goliath by prayer alone. David had developed a life style of prayerful relationship with God. When the occasion arose, he was ready to act. He had a definite impact on Goliath! There are times to pray and there are times to act. As we develop our personal and corporate prayer relationship with God, we, too, can have an impact on the situations around us that will be beyond our natural ability.

A courteous letter to your Member of Parliament will not pass unnoticed. Public non-violent demonstrations will not be overlooked. Laws have been changed when the will of the people has been evident. Standing firm for what one believes in has already had a positive impact.

Challenges to religious liberty have already been experienced and there will be more. Now is the time to pray and to act. The saying “Evil triumphs when good people do nothing” is well known. It is equally true that religious liberty will be lost if we Christians do nothing.

June Freudenburg

(This article first appeared in "Directions" and "Prayer")

June Freudenberg, 22/10/2011

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