1 Timothy 2:1-2 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 (NIV).
Christians are exhorted to pray for their political leaders. This can be relatively easy to do when those in positions of power and leadership are “good.” But what about when those in power do not qualify to be called leaders in the real sense of the word? It’s no secret that Africa has had it’s share of dictators and despots. There have been a some good leaders too (although these ones seem to be ever in a short supply). Should a Christian pray for dictators, or those who use their authority to promote agendas that Christians might consider opposed to their convictions?
The Bible passage above is helpful because it’s historical setting was during the time when Nero was the Roman Emperor. Nero’s reign was characterized by a severe persecution for Christians. So when Paul is instructing Timothy to encourage believers to pray for the political leaders, it is not particularly in a “friendly” environment. Believers in this context are being asked to pray for those leaders who are persecuting them. I don’t need to convince anyone that this is a very difficult thing to do. If you have trouble praying for some of your leaders, I understand. The problem is we are still called upon to pray for our leaders, whether we consider them good or bad.
We need to pray for our national leaders because we trust in the sovereignty of God. The Bible says that The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. (Proverbs 21:1 – NIV).
How do we pray for our national leaders?