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.
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