(NOTE: This article is scheduled to appear in the January 28, 2009 edition of the Linn County News.)
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NASB)
Sometimes the Bible calls Christians to do things that are difficult to do. Scripture tells us to pray for those in the government with authority over us. This can be easy…if you’re preferred candidate won. But what about if your candidate didn’t win? Either way, you are still called to pray for your leaders.
In Bible times, the people seldom had any voice over who their leaders were anyway. Their leaders might be good, or they might be evil…but in either case the Christians were called to submit to government authority and pray for the leadership. The only time in which Christians were to disregard the law of man was if it was a direct violation of the law of God. In other words, if the government forbids acts that Scripture commands, then Christians are to obey God over man. (see Acts 5:27-32)
It can be very humbling for a Christian to pray for a leader that doesn’t share their values. But those might be the very leaders that need the most fervent prayer. If a leader is acting in such a way that he appears to be a Non-Christian, then Christians should pray for his or her salvation. If a leader claims to be a Christian but is making policy decisions that are unbiblical and oppose God’s will (like government supported abortion), then Christians should pray that God’s Spirit would bring conviction and that the leader’s decisions would change. Though the world may be awestruck over government leaders, God is not awestruck. In fact, Scripture teaches that God is sovereign over all world leaders, both good and bad. And can therefore turn their hearts however He wishes. (see Proverbs 21:1)
So make a commitment to pray for your government leaders. City, county, state, and federal leaders need our prayers. And as Christians we are commanded to intercede on their behalf. According to 1 Timothy 2, our desire should be to live “tranquil and quiet” lives in “all godliness and dignity.” Pray that your leaders are a help, rather than a hindrance to this noble and worthy goal.