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
The Bible is very clear that we as Christians should pray for governmental leaders. The Holy Spirit deems that this is a matter of utmost importance, as the apostle “urges” this matter “first of all.” Praying for national leaders is not an optional aspect of the Christian life; it is a serious command to be prioritized.
Our prayers should be earnest and far-reaching when we intercede for our new president, his administration, and all local, state, and national leaders. “Supplications, prayer, intercessions, and thanksgivings” should be made for all people, especially those in influential positions. Do not pray with ill-intent or lack of interest. Take time to offer all kinds of prayers to earnestly seek their good and the subsequent good of the nation.
Remember the context of this admonition. Paul is insisting that Christians pray for governing officials of the Roman Empire who worshiped idols and persecuted Christians. These believers were under evil leaders, yet the mark of Christians is to love their enemies, pray for those who curse us, and give special honor and submission to the highest leader of the land (cf. 1 Peter 2:13-17). We must remember that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood – other human beings. Let's pray against the devil's terrible work in our nation but let's pray for all people, especially our leaders. We should certainly pray that they will repent of their sins and change their ways to follow Jesus. They would be so blessed if that happened, and so would our nation! We can disagree with our leaders but must still pray the very best for them.
We should keep focus on ourselves and our own lives, not on critiquing our leaders. Are we “leading a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way”? It’s easy to fixate on the problems created by our governing leaders and lose sight of the consequence of our own lives. If we want to see our nation changed by God’s power, we shouldn’t only pray for national leaders. We should also be sure that we are living a seeking God lifestyle, doing all that we can to attract His presence and power to our homes, churches, workplaces, and communities.
Chuck Hetzler, PhD
Director, Christian Union Day and Night
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