“First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made in behalf of all people, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2, NASB).
I’m often asked what actions people can take to turn our nation around. My response is always the same: I am convinced that our most important responsibility as Christian citizens involves praying for our leaders in civil government.
Although each individual Christian may not have significant time or resources available for biblical activism, every Christian can and should follow the instruction of Paul by praying for their public officials. Notice that Paul tells Timothy to pray “first of all” for those who are in authority. This is clearly a matter of high priority.
Sadly, Christians too often neglect this divine obligation. But we must not underestimate the power of prayer. Scripture tells us that the heart of the king “is like streams of water in the LORD’s hand: He directs it wherever He chooses” (Prov. 21:1, HCSB). If God can use our Spirit-empowered prayers to drive out demons and move mountains, how much more can he use our prayers to change the hearts of public officials? Is he not sovereign over all things, including the hearts of men?
Given the universality of Paul’s directive, it goes without saying that every public official deserves our prayers, even when they don’t deserve our votes. We should be praying that God changes the hearts of civil leaders who resist the lordship of Christ, persecute his church, and violate individual liberty. After all, nothing will transform the governing philosophy of a public official like encountering the saving and sanctifying grace of Jesus Christ!
God uses the prayers of the saints to advance the work of the Kingdom and transform the world. We all know that public power is associated with many temptations and difficult decisions. Let us come boldly before the throne of grace, asking for God to guide our civil officials into right thinking and right action.
PRAYER: Lord, you have called state legislators, constitutional officers, and judges to be your servants for our sake. Equip them for this important work. Give them an understanding of biblical justice, wisdom to make the appropriate decisions, and courage to stay committed to first principles. And finally, let them and their families taste your mercy, goodness, and salvation. In the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, amen.