Pray for Leaders

Prayer, not Posts

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1–2

Twitter wars and Facebook rants. Heated arguments around the dinner table and in the employee break room. The abusive rhetoric seems to escalate daily. But what does it accomplish? Is that how God wants us to react to a leader (or anyone else) whose viewpoints differ from ours?

The apostle Paul urged young Pastor Timothy to pray for “all people,” including government officials, as a productive way to work toward “peaceful and quiet lives.” Paul, Timothy, and all the other first-century Christians lived during Nero’s reign. How could Paul advocate prayer for such a cruel leader?

United in prayer for our leaders

To the church in Rome, Paul wrote, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established” (Romans 13:1, emphasis added). We treat leaders with respect because God has given them positions of power. We respect them because God loves them, sent Jesus to die for them, and longs to establish a relationship with them.

So what do we pray for? First, we pray that our own hearts will be in right relationship with God and that we’ll view others as he views them—worthy of love and respect.

We ask him to open our eyes (and theirs) to who he truly is—holy, sovereign, righteous. We pray that we’ll all be immune to Satan’s deceptions as well as our own prejudices. We ask God to align our desires (and theirs) with his will. We pray that his Word will be honored and obeyed. We pray that our leaders will be drawn to Jesus and accept him as Savior.

Finally, we ask God to place godly people in influential positions, men and women who live righteously and speak truthfully. Consider the people God used to impact ungodly leaders in the Bible: Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, and Esther. Read their stories. Ask yourself, “What enabled them to gain the respect of powerful rulers and influence their policies?”

I wonder what would happen if we spent more time in prayer and less time watching TV or posting comments on social media sites. What if we prayed for people with whom we disagree more passionately than we complained about them?

DIG DEEPER

Read 1 Timothy 2:1–8. What is pleasing to God according to this passage? What was Paul motivated to do? What are you motivated to do?

Read Romans 13:1–7. Substitute a person’s name for “authority” or “ruler” where appropriate in the passage. What do you think God is calling you to do regarding your attitude about that person?

Take time this week to read the story of Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, or Esther.[1] What do you consider that person’s admirable attributes? What step could you take toward cultivating one of those attributes?

Denise K. Loock

This devotion is part of our series on Dig into Prayer.


[1] Joseph’s interaction with Pharaoh: Genesis 41. Daniel’s interaction with Nebuchadnezzar: Daniel 2, 4. Daniel’s interaction with Darius: Daniel 6. Nehemiah’s interaction with Artaxerxes: Nehemiah 1–2. Esther’s interaction with Xerxes: Esther 2, 5, 7.

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