The Bible gives examples of people who prayed for their leaders, such as the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament church. The Bible also gives us specific commands to pray for our leaders.
First Timothy 2:1–4 says, “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. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Romans 13:1 tells us that the governing authorities are established by God. We are expected to honor them. In part, we can honor them by praying for their well-being. We also want our governing authorities to lead us well. They can do this best with God’s help, so we pray for them. Solomon asked God for wisdom so that he could lead well (1 Kings 3). We certainly hope that our leaders are praying for wisdom for themselves, but we know that not all of our leaders acknowledge and follow God. And even when they do, adding our prayers to theirs is beneficial. God can use any leader—whether that leader believes in Him or not—so we pray that our governing authorities will know God and will also have His wisdom to carry out the duties of their positions.
Of course, there are many leaders in our lives who are not part of the government. We should be praying for those who lead us in the church (Ephesians 6:18–20) and those who serve us on police departments, schools, and at work, for example. Leaders of every kind need God’s support and guidance.
Leaders in the church have an extra amount of stress and responsibility (James 3:1). We honor them and demonstrate gratitude by lifting them up in prayer. We pray for their well-being, for their families, for them to be refreshed, for them to know God’s peace and joy, and for them to have God’s discernment and wisdom. We can also pray for the effectiveness of their ministries in bringing glory to God.
All leaders benefit from prayer. When we pray for any of our leaders, we can ask God to grant them direction, discernment, and wisdom (James 1:5). Pray that your leaders know Jesus as their Savior. Pray that their decisions will honor God and draw others to honor Him.
We can also pray for protection for our leaders from the schemes of the enemy. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
We should also pray for the family members of our leaders, who often help to bear the load of leadership. Pray, too, that your leaders will have godly friends who support and encourage them.
It is often easier to pray for a leader with whom we naturally agree or who we think is leading well. It is more challenging to pray for a leader with whom we struggle. But we are called to pray for our leaders regardless of our personal feelings toward them. You can ask God to help you respect and honor your leaders well even in the midst of your disagreements with them.
Praying for our leaders brings glory to God. It helps us understand and be grateful for their sacrifices and the responsibility they bear. Prayer also acknowledges that God is the ultimate authority. When we pray for our leaders, we are asking God to equip the men and women He has placed in authority over us to carry out His purposes.
Related Truth: What types of prayer are mentioned in the Bible?Intercessory prayer – What is it?What is the importance of praying for others?How does a person pray in Jesus’ name?What is the importance of daily prayer in the life of a Christian?
Truth about Prayer
As our nation finds itself in yet another highly divisive election season, our tendency can be to draw firm lines between ourselves based on which candidates we support, and that can in turn lead to personal dislike for one another, anger towards those who lead, and eventually division.
As Christians, we are to live in a fine balance; standing for that which is true while seeking unity amongst ourselves whenever possible, standing firm in the faith while showing grace to those who do not, holding our leaders accountable while praying for their wisdom and well-being.
We are to learn from the words of Ezekiel 22:30, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”
We are to be those who stand in the gap, who lift up our nation with all it favors and faults before the throne of God, and pray that He continues to work in our midst.
Scriptures to Pray For Ourselves:
I Timothy 2:1-2 – 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.
I Peter 2:17 – Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
>Romans 13:1 – Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Jeremiah 29:7 – Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
II Chronicles 7:14 – if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Scriptures to Pray for our Leaders:
>Psalms 2:10-11 – Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.
>Proverbs 11:14 – For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.
>Proverbs 21:1 – The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.
>Job 12:23-25 – He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them.
>Proverbs 2:1-8 – My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2) turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— 3) indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4) and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5) then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6) For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7) He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8) for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
May we be faithful, informed and thoughtful when praying and talking to others about our politics, and as we ask for God’s wisdom and righteousness to be evident in our nation’s policies and leaders.
“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” —Psalms 11:3
I believe our nation is in trouble today, probably more than I’ve seen in my lifetime. We are contending with issues that are causing the very foundation of our country to crumble. Our moral and spiritual roots are eroding, the economy is misleading, family life is disintegrating, and political forces are at unprecedented odds. There seem to be very few leaders who will take a stand for God and for His Word.
It can be tempting to believe that America has reached a point of no return. While these factors cause despair, we are reminded in Scripture that with God, nothing is impossible. No problem is too great for Him. Seasons of distress and uncertainty and hardship call for faithful, fervent prayer by God’s people and remind us of our responsibility to humble ourselves before Almighty God. We cannot expect healing to come to our nation apart from obedience to God through His Holy Word.
God longs for His people to humble themselves and to seek forgiveness and pray for guidance. God’s Word says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). The Bible commands that we repent of our sins and turn to Almighty God. And because we are confident that we serve a God of mercy and compassion, we know that He stands ready to respond to our cries out of the abundance of His divine wisdom.
It is a crucial time for us to individually and collectively seek God’s divine intervention for the challenges facing us. We need to pray not only for our nation, but we need to pray for our leaders, for all those who govern us, that they will turn to God with humble hearts and follow Him. Our military leaders need our prayers as we have dedicated men and women serving on battlefields and sacrificing their blood to protect our nation and many innocent people around the world. God is faithful to bless those who turn to Him.
Pray that as a nation we would return to God. As we call on God, let us do so by genuine faith, believing that He hears our prayers. God can heal this great land, for which our forefathers fought and died. We need spiritual renewal, we need a revival in America, and we need each and everyone to pray. Lord, Hear Our Cry! —Franklin Graham
What you can do:
- Download this free prayer guide on how to pray for those in authority: 30 Ways to Pray Authority
- Download this free ELECTION PRAYER GUIDE
- Order your free 31-day prayer map/guide for the United States from Every Home for Christ
- Special thanks to our friends at Intercessors for America for the prayer guides. Learn more at ifapray.org
- Download a Family Prayer Guide
- Download a Free Curriculum from Gospel Light on Prayer
- Download a Youth Group Prayer Guide and a Prayer Guide Series from Dr. Henry Blackaby
- 30-day prayer guide covering all the spheres of leadership
- Pray for Education in America
- Pray for Media and Entertainment in America
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession 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.” —I Timothy 2:1-2
A Visit to Beijing
This past week I finally got to travel to Beijing. It was wonderful seeing all of the historical sites; I can’t describe how amazing the Great Wall really is. Even the newer buildings erected for the Olympics had incredible architecture. I really loved the city.
While in Beijing the Russian president came to visit the Chinese leader Xi Jinxing. Tiananmen was decorated with Chinese and Russian flags. The Chinese brought out the military parade and fired a 21 gun salute for Putin. Since I was in Beijing during this meeting I pondered what if I got to meet these men.
What If I Met World Leaders?
What would I do if I got to meet Putin and JinPing? For the little we know of these two men in the West, most would not consider them following Christian principles. Some would consider their policies or governments actively against Christians. Would I use that opportunity to let these men know how I feel?
I absolutely would! I might never have another chance to be in front of such powerful men. Maybe God had put me in front of them specifically to let them know how He feels about them… how much He loves them.
What I Would Pray For World Leaders
I would want to pray for them and bless their leadership. I would pray for wisdom to lead such powerful countries into prosperity. I would pray they would have favor with other countries to promote peace and good trade. I would pray that they would know that God was near them, protecting them, and empowering their decisions.
Thinking through this fantasy interaction I developed a deeper love for these men. God put them into these positions of power. He had implanted in them all they need to successfully run their countries. The can safely lead their people into a place were all will go well with them.
I wanted them know I would love them and pray for them. I wanted them to know that I wanted them to succeed at everything they put their hands to. I wanted to be so trusted by them because they knew I was for them and don’t have an agenda.
Donald Trump Picks His Religious Advisors
It was interesting that during that same time Donald Trump listed his group of religious advisors. I wonder how these religious leaders would advise this man seeking the Presidency of the United States. Would they point out all his failings? Would they steer him to be someone he is not to make him more appealing to Christians? Or, would they deeply and profoundly love him?
Can We Trust God With the Leaders He Sets Up?
I feel I need to trust God more with the rulers He establishes. It is not to say these people are wonderful or completely following God’s desires. We all make mistake. We all have false beliefs of what should be right. Can we trust God to take care of us in the midst of other people’s mistakes?
I can have opinions about what politicians should do or be like, but I need to know where my responsibility ends. I can have an opinion about who Trump or Hillary designate as their religious advisors, but I don’t have a right to actually choose them. I may have an opinion about Chinese foreign policy, but I don’t have a right to make that policy. God has gifted those leaders to make those decisions, and as I respect their decisions, I can lean in on God to protect me from any bad decision.
Let’s Pray for Our Leaders
Let’s pray for the world leaders. Let’s ask God for His love for them. They really do have the weight of the world on their shoulders. They don’t need our anger or attacks; they need our love and prayers.