“I urge…that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Don’t forget to vote!
We have all heard that call to good citizenship. But beyond being a good citizen, being a good follower of Jesus means that we don’t forget to pray for our leaders. When we do pray, it just may make a difference in our own lives!
I don’t know how you feel about the people in authority over you, but if you’re like me, praying for them may not be your first impulse. There are plenty of leaders I would rather vote out of office than pray for! Yet according to 1 Timothy 2:1-2, we are to include them on our prayer list on a regular basis. We may not have “kings” who rule over us, but all of us can name people who qualify as “those in authority”—government officials, police officers, supervisors, parents, teachers, and a host of others who can pull rank on us.
Sometimes it’s hard to know how to pray for them, especially if we don’t know them personally. But we can start by praying for what they need. Every leader could use an extra dose of God’s wisdom for the challenges and decisions they face. In addition to wisdom, we should pray for integrity—for honesty and uprightness in their actions and freedom from deceit. Pray that they would have a genuine commitment to doing what is best for those who are under their authority. Ask God to give them humility that will enable them to use their power not for their own gain but for the good of the people. Pray that godly people will be in their circle of influence. Pray that they will come to know Christ as Savior.
But our text alerts us to the fact that praying for those in authority is not the end of the line. We ourselves are standing in the need of prayer as well.
First, we are called to pray for “peaceful and quiet lives” that are marked by “godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:2). If we pray for our leaders and pursue these character qualities in our own lives, we just might make some progress—and in turn make a marked difference on our society and on our leaders as well.
Second, when we pray for those in authority over us, it serves to remind us that they are under God’s authority. And, just as they are under God’s authority, so must our lives be under His authority as well. When we are irritated that others don’t lead as people under the authority of His righteousness, we should think about how He must feel when we don’t live under His authority in the choices we make and attitudes we express. And remembering that He is the ultimate ruler reminds us that our hope is not in earthly “kings” but in the King of kings, who alone has power and authority over even the most powerful rulers.
Connect the dots! When we recognize that Jesus is the only One who can make a difference in the lives of our leaders, it should stir our hearts to pray for them.
And, as we pray for them, our hearts just may be stirred to focus on the needs of our own lives. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, through prayer, Jesus would change the hearts of those leaders? Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if, through prayer, Jesus would change your heart and my heart? So, don’t forget to vote. And, more importantly, don’t forget to pray!
- Make a list of the leaders in your life. Ask the Lord to reveal some prayer points for those people, and commit to praying for them on a regular basis.
- As a result of his bold witness for Christ, Paul had significant interaction with those in authority over him. Read the book of Acts chapters 22–26, and learn from Paul’s example.
- What was the exchange between Paul and King Agrippa in Acts 26:28-29? Have you ever prayed for your leaders like that?
- Look for some ways to actively demonstrate your prayer support for leaders. Organizations such as the National Day of Prayer (www.ndptf.org) can help you get started.