Every day at 10 AM, we here in the SGA office pray. We put out a Prayer and Praise item that gives things to pray for each day of the month. Today’s was to pray for our leaders in both North America and in the Commonwealth of Independent States. With the recent election here in Canada and the upcoming election in the United States, I am reminded often of the need for prayer for our leaders. It strikes me as funny, not ha-ha funny, but sad funny, why Christians who have a direct command from God to pray for their leaders, fail to do so. What does Scripture say?
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. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Let’s unpack what Paul is saying here. First, he urges all believers to regularly pray for everyone. We know, although we do not practice this, that we as Christians must be in a constant state of prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray continually” (NIV) or “pray without ceasing” as other translations use. Now, this obviously does not mean that all we do is pray 24 hours a day. We are called to work and to serve God where He has placed us. But we are called to have an attitude of prayer, a desire for prayer, and regular times of prayer.
My wife and I have recently been burdened more for prayer. We have taken the opportunity now after dinner to spend time in the Word (of course as newlyweds we are studiyng the Song of Songs), to sing a hymn, and to pray. We pray for each other. We pray for our families. We pray for our ministry. In the morning I pray before I start my day. At night, we pray before bed. Prayer should be continual and constant. At the drop of a hat and throughout our day prayer should drip from our lips as we commune with the Triune God.
So, Paul says, knowing that we are to pray continually, calls us to pray for everyone. That is a tall order! How do we pray for everyone? Do we pray “God, be with everyone?” No. God wants us to be more specific than that. In other places He breaks that down further and gives us specific things and people we should be praying for. Paul does that here where he then tells us to pray for our leaders.
Why does Paul tell us to pray for our leaders? So we can lead peaceable and godly lives. The main purpose of praying for your leaders, for kings, and all those in authority in the secular world, is so that we are free to worship God as the Scriptures have called us. We should pray for God to work in the hearts of our leaders so that they continue to allow the freedom we enjoy (or to allow freedom in countries where that is not possible) to worship God. We pray that our leaders would come to know Christ so they can better lead our countries in a moral and God-honouring way. We pray for them, for their families, that God would use them to further His kingdom in this age. This of course does not just mean our federal leaders but our provincial (or state) leaders and our municipal leaders. Those who make laws and those who enforce them. God uses the governmental leaders for his purposes. We know the Scripture says that ultimately it is God who even chooses our governmental leaders. Daniel 2:21 says,
He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
God, even in Scripture, shows how He uses governmental leaders to accomplish His will. In Isaiah 45:1-6, Cyrus is prophesied to come and bless God’s people. The fulfillment of that was in Ezra 1 where God moved the heart of Cyrus the King of Persia to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem. God uses governmental leaders, even those who are not believers, to accomplish His will. Thus, we should pray for our leaders!
We do this because Paul says it pleases God our saviour who desires all to come to faith. God is pleased when we pray for our leaders because prayer is the ordained means to the end of things. God uses our prayers to accomplish His will. While God has ordained those who will be saved and how they will be used, He has also ordained the means to accomplish those ends; namely prayer. Prayer is that amazing vehicle that not only allows us to commune with the true and living God but allows us the privilege to actually participate in the sovereign work of God in the universe! God uses our prayers to accomplish His will! So, God is pleased when we pray for our leaders!
So, today, take time to pray for your leaders. It pleases God when you do so. Pray for their conversion and that through them your lives may be peacable so you can live and worship as the scriptures have called you to do. Pray that God would use our leaders to accomplish God’s will. What a privilege to pray and what a privilege to pray for our leaders!
Our Heavenly Father, we thank you for the opportunity to pray! We thank you that through the death of Christ; through His atoning sacrifice, we have access to the very throne room of God to bring our thanksgiivng and petition to you! You have called us to pray and it is through prayer that we are nourished and refreshed. You are the true and living God and you seek to commune with your people. Thank you for the access we have to boldly come to you and speak with you as Moses did; face to face.
We pray today for our leaders. We pray that you would regenerate their hearts and that they would come to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray they would be baptized and be added to your church. We pray that they would seek to be used by you to accomplish your will. We pray they make and enforce laws for the good of the people; that honour you and give us the freedom to proclaim the life changing message of Jesus Christ.
We pray for Stephen Harper, our federal leader, Dalton McGinty, our provincial leader, Phil McColeman, my federal MP in Brant, Dave Levac, my provincial MPP in Brant, Ron Eddy, Mayor of Brant, and our other council members. We pray that you would turn their hearts to Christ and that they would lead and govern with an eye to honouring Christ and serving the people.
We pray for the upcoming election in the USA. We pray that people would vote intelligently and pick the best person that would serve that country and honour and glorify you. We pray that you would use them to lead and direct the people and that they would create and enforce laws that would do so and yet honour you and what you have revealed to us in your Word.
Lord, you are the great God of the universe. Not one square inch of this universe is outside of the lordship of Jesus Christ. We pray that you would work mightily in our world and accomplish your will through our leaders that you have selected. We pray that you would further the work of your kingdom through them and that you would use us, our prayers, and our service, to draw men and women in Canada and around the world to faith in Jesus Christ. We pray for revival; for a fresh outpouring of your Spirit this day and that we might have the privilege of being a part of that revival both here and abroad. Help us to yield to the Spirit and pursue holiness and to do all things to honour you, the Son, and the Spirit.
We pray all these things in the name of the great Lord of the universe, Jesus Christ. Amen.