Day 10: Praying . . . Even for Our Leaders
“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. This is good, and pleases God our Savior…” -1 Timothy 2:1-3
Today, the United States will experience another “smooth transition of power” from one president to another. More often than not, it is from one party to another as is true this year. I have very good friends who think the new president will save western culture from destruction. I have other very good friends who believe he will push western culture over the cliff into the abyss of anarchy. I’m not smart enough to know which of my friends will prove to be correct! I am grateful, by the way, that I have friends on both sides of the question. That might mean I can influence both! None of those friends, by the way, know who I voted for in November!
Through the Apostle Paul, I know God asked me to use “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving” for “kings and all those in authority.” At some level I wonder if Paul might be saying, “When you have kings who see life differently than you (as was the case with Nero, the Emperor when Paul wrote these words) your best option is to pray for them!” After all, God has a bit of a track record in using “non-believing” rulers to advance His will. Remember Cyrus (see Ezra 1)? I’m pretty sure he wasn’t “Sammy Sunday School,” and yet because of him, the Israelites returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile.
Shortly after the beginning of the 2017, I saw a post on Facebook that caught my attention. It was written by a fine young man who serves in ministry. Here’s some of what he said: “I must confess that I did not pray for you while you were in office. . . I must also confess that I greatly appreciate the loving and healthy marriage that you and your wife displayed for our nation.”
Those words were directed, via Facebook, to President Obama. The writer acknowledges that President Obama will never see them, but said, “I just felt I needed to say it anyway.” He closes his post by noting that this didn’t mean he agreed with Obama’s policies, just that the Bible admonishes us to pray for our leaders and he didn’t.
I private messaged this young man to commend him for what he wrote.
More than a few people posted “thank you” sorts of statements, and also owned up to the fact that because they so seriously disagreed with President Obama’s politics, they also did not pray for him. They often committed to doing better.
One person, however, said this, “Are we to pray for Satan in the flesh?” Nero was the Roman emperor when Paul wrote those words to Timothy. I’m pretty confident President Obama would have some serious catching up to do to be compared to Nero. And the same would be true of President Trump.
Here’s the deal. It doesn’t matter whether I voted for President Trump or not. God’s Word calls on me to pray for him. I should pray for him that his policies and actions would make it possible for us to live “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” That’s the same way I prayed for President Obama and other presidents before him. Prayer has no D or R after it!
To pray for “kings and all those in authority” is a good thing, so good that it “pleases God our Savior.”
I hope we all can commit ourselves to be more diligent when it comes to praying for “kings and those in authority.” As the Facebook author above noted, that doesn’t mean we condone their policies but that we are committed to obeying what God has asked us to do.
Written by Wye Huxford, Vice President of Spiritual Formation