Praying For Our Leaders
In Jeremiah's letter, he instructs the Jewish captives in Babylon to build houses, plant gardens, marry, have children and multiple. The Jews were to make the best of this situation and make a life there. God promised them that when 70 years of captivity expired the Jews would start returning to Jerusalem to rebuild their city (Jeremiah 29:4-6; 10, 11). While living in Babylon, the Jews are also instructed to pray for peace in Babylon.
"And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace." (Jeremiah 29:7 KJV). The NET Bible words that last part: "For as it prospers you will prosper."
Can you imagine how it must have felt to be told to pray for the cities of Babylon? The leader of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, had already attacked Jerusalem twice and was on the verge of attacking Jerusalem again to burn the temple and city to the ground, and to kill some more and to take more captives. How do you pray for this place and its people? Yet, Jeremiah wants these captive Jews to "blossom where they are planted," be fruitful and pray for their enemy's peace. These prayers would be for their own good.
In the same way, Christians are instructed to pray for leaders in their Countries.
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that 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 Saviour..." (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
The leader of Rome at the time of the writing of 1st Timothy was Nero. Imagine being told to pray for Nero a leader who at times had thrown Christians to lions! Would this not be like praying for your enemy? Let us remember that Jesus told us to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45). Praying can soften the hearts of enemies and those in error. Praying for our leaders is the right thing to do in the sight of God, regardless of who they may be.
In the United States there is a clear divide of political alliances and parties. I must admit that I have had problems praying for some leaders with which I strongly disagree. But we walk by faith and not by sight and doing that means we are to obey God in all things including praying for whoever is in leadership. Why? So that we may lead peaceful lives. Prayer changes things! As bad as things may seem, I am convinced that we are still standing today because of the prayers of righteous people (James 5:16).
Some things God requires us to do are not always in agreement with our own judgement and feelings. We must remember the captive Jews who were told to pray for peace and prosperity for the cities of their captivity. This would be for their own peace and prosperity. The same is true for Christians who are commanded to pray for leaders as this will lead to being able to live peaceful lives and be free to worship and serve Christ.
As citizens of any country, Christians should not only pray for their leaders, but obey the laws (unless certain laws oppose God's laws --Acts 5:29). Christians should also participate in the election process like any good citizen. When a Christian votes, they should not vote with their pocketbook, but according to Biblical principles. A Christian should therefore be informed about the parties and the candidates. Do not deceive yourself into thinking you can isolate the candidate from the party they represent! Sure, some are more liberal or conservative than others, but a party whose platform supports homosexual marriage, abortion on demand, biological boys on girls' sports teams,..., plus, frowns on Christian values has nothing to offer in the way of a candidate for the Christian! Do not vote according to family tradition but vote for the party that is closest to righteousness (Romans 12:9). If Christians pray for leaders and vote righteously, our religious freedoms will hopefully remain protected. Faith without works is dead (James 2:14). Do your righteous duty.
Are you praying for our leaders? Remember, God is pleased when we pray for our leaders.
Michael R. Baggett