Nowadays it seems in some circles to be considered patriotic, even “spiritual” to badmouth our leaders, especially our President (our current President, that is). There is a constant harping and nit picking agitation against him. Any malicious rumor is considered true. Any epithet is acceptable (short of profanity, of course :^)). Uni and I often find ourselves extremely uncomfortable in the company of some of our Christian friends, when the conversation moves in this direction.
But this is not a behavior we find encouraged in the New Testament. This is not a behavior that God expects of His children.
We have a suggestion:
“I exhort then first of all for entreaties, prayers, intercessions to be made for all persons, for kings and all those who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the presence of God our Savior, who wants all persons to be saved and to come into knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).Paul’s exhortation to Timothy seems pretty clear and straightforward. It also seems pretty all-inclusive (the word “all” appears 5 times in these 4 verses.
We are to pray for everyone. There doesn’t appear to be any exception. Now I don’t believe we are expected to simply say “God bless everybody” just before we eat or crawl into bed. We are to pray for all whom we have opportunity to know, or whose needs we know of.
And we are to pray not just general prayers, but to intercede, to plead with God on behalf of these persons. The third word for prayer in this passage I have translated “intercessions” because it is related to a verb translated “intercede.” We are told in Romans 8:26, 27 that the Spirit intercedes for us, and in Romans 8:34 that Christ intercedes. In this passage, however, we are to be the interceders.
More specifically, we are to do this “for kings and all those in authority.” And the reason given is “in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” Could it be any clearer? We don’t pray for our leaders for their benefit alone, but also for our benefit.
But then Paul gives a further reason – the reason why a tranquil and quiet life is to be desired. It is pleasing to God, because He wants everyone to be saved. He wants those in authority to be saved, of course, but He also wants them to promote peace because apparently a peaceful environment is more conducive to evangelism.
Elsewhere in the New Testament we’re given other responsibilities toward human authority that we have as citizens of two kingdoms: pay taxes, submit to laws, honor those in authority (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13, 17).
But here we are told to pray for them.
And there are no qualifiers given. We aren’t told to pray only for those of a certain political party or only for those who take a particular stand on some piece of legislation. We’re not even told to pray only for the “good” ones. The authorities of the Roman Empire in which Paul’s readers lived were already beginning to persecute them. In a few years Paul himself would be beheaded by the very authority he prayed for.
So, how should we intercede for our President? What should we pray for?
- First of all, that he and his family might be genuine believers in Jesus Christ.
- That his life would be totally committed to Jesus Christ.
- That he would be a man of integrity.
- That he would have wisdom for the decisions he must make.
- That he would seek peace and justice for America and in the world.
- That God will protect him and his family from those who wish them harm.
- That the Christian community would pray for him.