How to Pray For Our Leaders

Written By: Timothy Fish Published: 6/13/2006

I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. -- I Timothy 2:1-4

Paul made it clear that we are to pray for all men, but especially for those who are in authority. Since Paul also made it clear that God desires that all men be saved we might take this to imply that Paul was calling for us to ask God to save these people, but that would be one type of prayer and Paul mentioned supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks. I take this to mean that we can know that we are doing the right thing in praying for these people, because there is no one that God does not desire to bless. There are many from which he has withheld blessings and punished for their evil deeds, but God would rather bless these people.

Paul also links a quiet and peaceable life with our prayers for all men and our leaders. There are plenty of people who spend a lot of time complaining about what our leaders have been doing. In the eyes of many people, if the guy in office is from a different party then there is nothing he can do that is right. In the United States we have the right to question the decisions of our leaders, but a Christian should never be disrespectful toward our elected officials. Sometimes that is easier said than done, but it is true none the less. Sometimes it is difficult to get past the fact that we disagree with a leader’s policies and his lifestyle. Sometimes we convince ourselves that he is too bad of a person for God to want us to pray for him, but God loves people in spite of their sin. It is not our place to decide if a leader is worthy of our prayers. We are to just pray.

There are many examples of prayer in the Bible. As I was studying the other day I found an example that intrigued me. It was not worded in the way that we often think prayers should be worded. It didn’t begin with telling God how great he is and how little we are. It didn’t end with the statement “in Jesus’ name. Amen.” It was a prayer for King David. I refer to Psalm 20 which says:

The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob defend thee!
May He send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion.
May He remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice.
May He grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfill all thy counsel.
We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners; the LORD fulfill all thy petitions!
Now I know that the LORD saveth His anointed; He will hear him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
They are brought down and fallen; but we are risen and stand upright.
Save us, LORD! Let the King hear us when we call.
(Psalm 20 KJ21)

Too often it seems that when I pray for the leaders of our country I say something like “and Lord, I ask you to bless President Bush and our other leaders as they lead our nation.” A prayer like that seems silly in light of the words recorded in Psalm 20. The psalmist didn’t just ask God to bless the king, the psalmist blessed the king as well. He was also quite specific. We are glad that our current President is a praying man, but if you were to meet him face to face, would the first words out of your mouth be “The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble?” What about in our prayers? Do we ask God to answer President Bush’s prayers? Do we ask God to give him strength? Do we ask God to grant the President the desires of his heart and do what the President asks him to do? Do we even stop to realize how good it is that our President has lived through another day? Do we ask God to protect the life of our President? Do we encourage our President to trust the LORD for victory in battle rather than putting all is trust in the awesome power of our military?

It is a simple thing to know that we should pray for our leaders or even to word a short one sentence prayer for them. What may not be so easy is for us to take the time to follow the biblical example of how we should pray for our leaders and to bless our leaders by calling upon God to hear there prayers, provide for their needs and grant their desires.