Why and how we should pray for political leaders

Clinton and Trump. You know what I’m talking about. This year’s election has been nothing short of “ridiculous”, “so crazy that I’m moving to Canada”, “laughable”, and “the end of the US”. Some of you might agree after watching the presidential debates. And some of you might disagree because you don’t care about politics. I didn’t care about politics for a long time, until I realized that my voice is important in this election, but that God’s voice is more important. Whether or not you are well-versed in politics, or if this is the first presidential election you’re voting in, join me as we humble ourselves and learn how and why we should pray for political leaders.

THE WHY

There are plenty of reasons to not like politicians (not just presidents, but governors, congressmen/women, mayors, etc.). You may not agree with their views. You may not relate to them personally. Maybe you just don’t like the way they carry themselves. Whatever our personal, subjective views are, we are called to pray for our leaders.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 – 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 to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We are called to pray because God “desires all people to be saved” because that will help us “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way”. We can pray for prosperity. We can even pray for godlier political candidates to step in. But God’s chief desire is salvation. Is that our desire when praying for our leaders?

We are called to pray because “it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior”. God knows the hurts in various countries. God’s heart aches when He hears the cries of His people. But He also is pleased when His people pray persistently in faith that He will save their political leaders.

We are called to pray because they are “in high positions”. This passage actually says that we should pray for “all people” first. Then, later that phrase is echoed when it says that God “desires all people to be saved”. Therefore, we should be praying for everyone, but this passage makes it a point to separate out “kings and all who are in high positions”. Leadership responsibility for these people can feel like the burden of the whole world is on their shoulders. I’m no leader in the national or global sense, but even as a worship leader, I feel like I bear the spiritual burden of the congregation. The higher you go (in government as well as in church), the greater the temptation, pride, and sin.

These are, by no means, a full list of why we should pray for political leaders. But in summary, we pray for political leaders not for our benefit, but for the glory of God’s kingdom.

THE HOW

Okay, maybe I’ve convinced you that we need to really pray for our leaders. But how do we go about praying for them?

First, pray for their salvation. Like it says above in 1 Timothy 2, that’s God’s plan-everyone’s salvation. Pray that our leaders will come to know the saving grace of God, accept Jesus, and be transformed by the Holy Spirit. Pray for even the leaders’ aides, and other office employees. All of them contribute to the political culture and atmosphere.

And secondly, pray for their protection. As I mentioned that leaders are often left out because people think that “they’ve got it”. But the burden of an entire country in your hands is not something to be taken lightly. Even if it’s the size of a town with a population of 2,500. These leaders will be stretched beyond their limits, they will be tempted into corruption, they will struggle with sin, just as we struggle with sin. Pray that they will know God, ask for His wisdom and strength, to lead in the way that brings peace to the land.

I want to end with the encouragement that just because we’re praying for our leaders, doesn’t mean that we should forget to be good citizens and do our part to vote, petition, rally, or educate, especially during the presidential election season. But always check your heart. You may believe in a specific candidate because of his/her views. I don’t think it’s wrong to align yourself with a political party. But behind the scenes, pray for them even harder. Go to God with your concerns, prayers, and intercessions first.

May our prayers be louder than what we say through memes, photos, or conversations.

The following resources were helpful in writing this post:

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