As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill – Psalm 2:6
Whatever the outcome, any election is a cause for great thanksgiving. Elections are a time of change, sometimes drastic change. Yet, election after election, our nation enjoys constant stability amid continuous revolution. As Christians, we have the added confidence that every result of every vote occurs under the sovereign superintendence of our Lord. Add to this the incredible privilege we have of placing our own leaders into office. The democracy we enjoy as Americans is of inestimable value. What a gift!
Every gift God gives us, though, is a potential idol. As fallen creatures, we are ever prone to worship and serve the gift and forget the Giver. As we pray for God’s hand to reign in the affairs of our nation, our hope and confidence shift to earthly institutions, which we seek to preserve at all costs. We limit God to the confines of our meager understanding. Our prayers become prescriptions for the Almighty and our motives self-serving. “Good” comes to mean the success of our agenda, and failure means we just haven’t prayed enough. We crave a tame God, whom we can train to jump through our hoops.
Praying for our leaders is God’s idea, and we are wise to follow His plan and purpose. Paul helps give shape to how we pray for our leaders.
First of all, then, I urge , that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings, and for all 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 sight of God our Savior, Who desires all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth… Therefore I want men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. – 1 Timothy 2:1-5, 8
Paul’s prescription is simple but intense: pray earnestly and in a variety of ways for those who wield authority. We are to offer entreaties (requests based on urgent need), prayers (requests addressed specifically to God), petitions (requests expressed in a close, devoted relationship), and thanksgiving (gratitude for God’s blessings) regarding those who lead us.
How rarely we lift our leaders to the Lord! In America, it’s so easy to complain about our leaders, and complaint easily turns to ridicule. Yet we have the daily opportunity – really, it’s a command – to hold our leaders up in prayer. How many wayward politicians wage political war on God, unopposed by the prayers of the saints? How many Godly leaders battle on God’s behalf, without the earnest prayers of His people?
The American Christian has the privilege of entering the ballot box to have a say in who will lead our land. But so much more than that, we have the staggering opportunity to enter the throne room of heaven and pray for divine influence over the lives of our rulers.
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. – Proverbs 21:1
The purpose for our prayer, as Paul expresses it, is so we can live quiet, godly lives. Once again, though, there’s a temptation. This quiet, peaceful life is not an end in itself but the means to an end. It’s not for our enjoyment but so God can use us to save a people to himself. When we pray, we dare not ask with wrong motives, just to consume God’s blessings for ourselves (see James 4:3). God blesses us so others will enjoy the gift of eternal salvation, and come to the knowledge of the truth (see 1 Timothy 2:4).
This election season, be in prayer. But don’t stop praying on November 8. In prayer, pursue God’s will in and through the lives of our elected leaders on a regular basis. Align your prayers with the purpose of the King of Kings and your influence will be eternal.
- Pray often and fervently for Christ to revive His Church and renew us in a faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16)
- Ask God to renew the culture of the United States to strive for righteousness as it is defined in His Word. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34)
- Ask God to raise up strong, committed, Christian men to lead our nation at all levels, starting in the home, extending to the oval office, and at all levels in between. When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan (Proverbs 29:2)
- Pray that God will make you a ready student of the Bible, a willing witness through the Gospel, and a regular pray-er, who seeks and finds God’s power and provision through time in God’s presence. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (james 5:16)
Also, you can click here for a good guide to praying for America’s leaders.