(Editor’s Note: Charles Monroe, a CBMC member in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A., submitted this prayer poem for leaders, written by John O’Donohue.)
May you have the grace and wisdom
To act kindly, learning
To distinguish between what is
Personal and what is not.
May you be hospitable to criticism.
May you never put yourself at the center of things.
May you act not from arrogance but out of service.
May you work on yourself
Building up and refining the ways of your mind.
May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you.
When someone fails or disappoints you
May the graciousness with which you engage
Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.
May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking
So that you continue to be a servant of the frontier
Where the new will draw its enrichment from the old,
And you never become a functionary.
May you know the wisdom of deep listening,
The healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze,
The decorum of held dignity,
The springtime of the bleak question.
May you have a mind that loves frontiers
So that you can evoke the bright fields
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.
May you have good friends
To mirror your blind spots.
May leadership be for you
A true adventure of growth. — John O’Donohue
The Bible, in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, instructs, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” This poem could be a good guide for following that directive.
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1. Have you ever considered praying for leaders – in your department at work, your company, your industry, community, state, nation, or even the world? Why or why not?
2. We often hear people expressing a variety of prayer requests, but rarely do we hear anyone suggesting that we pray for our leaders, at any level. Why do you think that is the case?
3. What part (or parts) of “A Prayer for Leaders” impress you as particularly meaningful?
4. Suppose you were to take seriously this admonition to pray for people in leadership? What difference do you think that would – or could – make, not only in their own lives but also for the people, companies and organizations they lead?
If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages:
Proverbs 15:29, 21:1; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17
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How do we pray for our country and its leaders, current and future? Does our vote really matter? And for whom do we vote? Can we or our prayers help turn the tide of our nation? If you’re seeking answers for any of these questions, here’s a prayer that might help!
Lord God, we desperately need your wisdom. You have given us a great country, founded on principles and truths from Your Word. We need men and women who will honor You, trust You, and lead us once again back to You. We pray for servant leaders who love the things You love and who care more about others than themselves.
Give us leaders with discerning hearts, bold faith, and wise minds that model Your character. Teach them—and us—not just what is good, but what is best. Guide them in the way our country should go. Give them purity in their intentions, and godliness in their convictions. Energize their spirits and bodies physically and spiritually, and keep them emotionally secure in the knowledge of who You are—and whose they are. Help them to be bighearted and sincere, energetic in goodness, and courteous in their manners.
Raise up leaders with the greatest potential of godly leadership, those who can ease confusion, expose illusion, and heal delusion. You alone hold the power to turn the hearts of leaders, but You listen and use our prayers to move them into right action. Help us to be faithful to care and to pursue Your heart in prayer.
Help our leaders to be quick to admit failure, but ready to rebound in persistent resilience. Encourage them to choose wisely, and when they don’t know what to do, help them keep their eyes on You. Let them take a firm stand on issues that truly matter to You, regardless of the consequences or approval ratings. Make them God-pleasers, not puppets; leaders filled with conviction, not corruption.
As a nation, God, help us to desire righteousness more than rights, and to mirror sacrifice more than selfishness. You know us well, and You understand our flaws. Turn those weaknesses into strengths; bathe us with Your grace and mercy, though none of us deserve it. Fill us with the boldness to choose the kind of freedom that will benefit all, rather than a few. Open our eyes to see others as You do—with godly potential and value. But help us, too, to recognize our own pride in trying to elevate ourselves and others above You and Your purpose for our lives.
We need, You, God. Oh, how we need You! You have exercised nothing but faithfulness and fairness in Your treatment of our country, even when we’ve turned our back on You and forgotten Your goodness to us. Your discipline at times is hard, but You are just. Your purpose is always to draw us close to You, to bless us, and to make us a great nation who honors You. You are a good, good, Father—and Your love for us has a proven track record.
Forgive us for wanting our own way and making our own paths—often the ones paved with least resistance. Forgive us for fence-walking, or for ignoring completely the truths that can so easily set us free. Deliver us from mindless quarrels and destinations that lead us nowhere, but away from You. Free us from divisiveness, and melt our hardened hearts to love, not hate, and to heal, not debate.
Our history has cried for king-like leaders who will solve our problems and meet our needs. But there is only one King, and that is You, Lord. We have blindly sought answers from others to life’s unresolved questions through the years, but You are the only wise Counselor. We have longed for peace, but You are the only Peacemaker, and the only Prince of Peace. We’ve clung to our weapons of warfare, not as measures of defense, but as strongholds of selfish pride. We look at outward appearances; You see the heart. With You, nothing formed against us can prosper. Without You, we are nothing.
Make us a great nation, yes. But more than that, make us good, Lord, with a heartbeat that wants every person of every creed and color to know Your love, Your goodness, and Your worth. Make us wise as serpents, but gentle as doves. Turn our fears to faith, as we look to You and You alone for the future of our country. Give us God-confidence that no matter what happens, we will believe You are not only in control, but that You know exactly what is needed to accomplish Your purpose. Help us not to second-guess Your moves, but to move at Your command, always without hesitation.
We look to You and to You, only, Lord. Help us make wise decisions that move our country in the right direction. Help us to do our part in praying and in staying with what we know is right according to the truth of Your Word. Teach us to make our actions count and our words matter, and line them both up to Your sense of rightness, not ours. Guide us with Your eye; grip us with Your strong arm; teach us what we need to know to make our lives—and our nation—count for you. We pray for our leaders, but we ask You to make us both leaders and followers: leading in the way of Truth, and following those who honor You.
In the precious and powerful name of Jesus,
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is an inspirational author, speaker, and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to encourage others heart to heart. She has written 11 books and over 1700 other articles, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. Her daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
Publication date: February 2, 2016
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
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EL ROI, our GOD who sees ALL, today I bring our nation before You in prayer. I magnify the Name of Jesus and declare that He is Lord over this nation.
Grant our leaders wisdom beyond their own understanding and the courage and strength to chose the right path no matter how narrow the gate.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish. But happy is he who keeps the teaching.
Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
I pray for all those in authority over us. Give them the grace and strength to stand against the temptation to use power as a weapon but rather to carry it reverently, as one would a child.
Surround our leaders with wise, biblical counselors, who have a full understanding of the perilous times we live in.
Take a minute and say a prayer for our governmental leaders.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 pic.twitter.com/VO5YMK9gWu
— Christian PRAYERS? (@christianstt1) January 20, 2017
2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
I Timothy 2:1-3 says that we are to pray, intercede and give thanks for kings and all people in authority.
Grant our leaders the wisdom to fully respect and defend Christian values and our freedom to worship You, privately and publicly.
May they serve as faithful stewards of God’s authority in this land. Whatever decisions they make, may these not hinder Christ’s church, here and around the world, from flourishing.
But may they enact policies and legislation that protect the family, encourage parents, and uphold a biblical standard of righteousness.
Psalms 2:10-12 – Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
Oh Lord, may the spiritual leaders of our country hearken onto your voice and know your heart.
I pray that they would lead from their knees and, by that simple grace, bring each one of us to our knees before your throne.
Keep them pure, and faithful to your Word and protect them from all harm. Thank you, Oh Lord, for answered prayers! Amen.
King Solomon’s Prayer For Wisdom
I Kings 3:6-9 Solomon answered: “You have shown great kindness to your servant, David my father, because he walked before you with fidelity, justice, and an upright heart. And you have continued this great kindness toward him today, giving him a son to sit upon his throne.
Now, Lord, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed David my father. But I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I, your servant, among the people you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, a listening heart to judge your people and to distinguish between good and evil. For who is able to give judgment for this vast people of yours?”