How To Pray For Your Leaders

With the Iowa caucuses only a couple months away, we’re inundated with campaign news about the various candidates. This past weekend the news was about the “Values Voters” debate that the Republican candidates attended in Orlando. (As an aside, I don’t quite understand the term “values voters.” Doesn’t everyone vote their values?)

All the attention on the upcoming primaries has caused me to think once again about how a Christian should approach politics. Over the next several months, I hope to write a few posts on this controversial subject. Today, I’d like to think about what Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:1-2…

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.

We know that we should pray for our governmental leaders and yet we’re not sure exactly what we should pray. When it comes to the 2008 election, do we ask God to cause our favorite candidate to win? Maybe, but it feels a bit silly-kind of like asking God to cause your favorite sports team to win the big game. Just like none of us can be sure that God wants our team to win, neither can we be sure that God wants our candidate to win. So given our own uncertainty, isn’t there something better that we can pray for?

I think there is. It’s possible to pray prayers that we are sure are in line with the will of God as it is expressed in the Bible. Here is a partial list that I think that Christians should pray for both our current leaders and our future leaders regardless of their political party or whether they govern the city, state, or nation:

1. Pray that their policies would restrain evil and promote the good of the people (Romans 13:1-7).
2. Pray that they would be on the side of justice (Isaiah 58).
3. Pray that they would not show partiality to the rich (James 2:1-13). In our political system, this is very hard to do.
4. Pray that they would care about the oppressed and the poor and the defenseless (Isaiah 58).
5. Pray that they would be humble and willing to learn (Proverbs 11:2).
6. Pray that like Solomon they would depend on God’s wisdom (1 Kings 3).
7. Pray that they would not be like Solomon’s son Rehoboam who governed out of pride and self will (1 Kings 12:6-15).
8. Pray that they would not make hasty decisions but would consider all the information before acting (Joshua 9).

When we pray for these things (and others like them) that are clearly expressed in the Scriptures, we can have confidence that we are praying according to God’s will and that he hears our prayer (1 John 5:14-15). Now that’s the kind of praying that I’m motivated to do.

So this political season, instead of sitting around complaining about the candidates or the political process, let’s go to God with our concerns. Let’s humble ourselves and ask God to accomplish his will in our nation. That’s not all that Christians are called to do, but it seems to me like it’s a good place to start.

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