With today’s ever-changing political environment, it is very easy to complain and not pray for our leaders. And, yes, many are deserving, sadly, of the comments they receive. Yet, the Bible tells us to pray for our leaders:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
God calls us to pray for everyone.
The verses above reveal that prayer for all people (and especially those in civil authority) is:
- A priority: “First of all.”
- Wide-ranging: “Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings.”
- Inclusive: “All men.”
- Specific: “Kings and all who are in high positions.”
- Focused: “That we may lead a peaceful and quite life, godly and dignified in every way.”
But, what specifically should we pray for those in authority? Here are six ideas from selected Bible verses:
1. Pray for leaders to come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Like everyone else, those in civil authority and politics need the forgiveness only offered by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. In fact, Paul says that praying for our leaders to know Christ personally is a top prayer (1 Tim. 2:1-4). An elected official living a Gospel-centered life is a win-win for everyone.
2. Pray for leaders to have God-given discernment and wisdom.
Those in governmental authority are daily charged with making tough decisions that affect living, breathing people such as you and me—and millions at that! Pray that they have the wisdom that James 3:13-17 mentions:
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
3. Pray for leaders to have boldness and courage to stand on God’s truth.
Those in politics are often pressured to make compromises. Not doing so can cost them their careers. Pray God would give them the conviction and firmness to stand on truth that is eternal and not man-made.
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
4. Pray for leaders to have Christ-Like humbleness.
Have you ever really considered the amount of power, people, places and personalities to which government leaders have access? To say that a politician can quickly get a “big head of pride” is the century’s understatement!
In God’s providence, pray that leaders remember that it is only on their knees before a thrice holy God that they truly stand the tallest.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
5. Pray for leaders to have supernatural strength.
How many leaders in government have been involved in scandals surrounding money, sex, alcohol and drug abuse, and power-grabbing? Pray for them to grow in their knowledge of the triune God so they can thwart temptation and have the necessary, God-ordained strength to avoid traps that destroy not only their careers, but their families and ideals.
And [Jesus] said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:46)
6. Pray for leaders to be convicted of sin and seek God’s forgiveness.
Scripture leads to consideration of how we measure up to God’s Word. Do you pray for God to convict you through His Word? Do you pray this for your leaders? Pray that the Lord would uncover sin so that you can confess and turn away.
David’s inclination was not to flee from God, but to go to God. He fears God because of what the Scriptures say about Him and about man’s sin – then he goes to God in humble trust. He asks for forgiveness and help. Pray this for your leaders.
Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:12-14)
Paul is enlisting the prayers of Christians for the salvation of the countries and those who lead those nations. Remember, the emperor was Nero. You know, the king who burned Christians on stakes at his garden parties and threw them to the lions.
Friend, it doesn’t matter who our leaders are or in what country we are. We are to pray for them. We are to pray for our nation and every nation, our culture and every other culture, our leaders and every other leader. Famed preacher Charles Spurgeon said:
“We do not know what God may do for us if we would but pray.”
It was part of Daniel’s government job to pray to King Darius (Daniel 6). If we want our prayers to do the most good for the largest number of people, we must include those in our prayers whose decisions create the circumstances in which the purposes of the Gospel prosper. It is important to pray for governmental leaders because the circumstances they create either stop or advance the progress of the Gospel.
Now is the time to pray for those who were elected and for the government they will serve. Will you?