“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayer, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
In these verses we get a clear exhortation from the Apostle Paul that we should pray for all people. This includes those who govern the countries in which we live. When we look at politics and those in power and those striving for power it can seem like this is a futile task. We can almost ask ourselves, what help will it be to pray for perhaps godless and proud people who are certainly not willing to be led by God? How will prayer help this? What is it that we should actually pray for? Can God steer the government using such people? What is the actual intention of praying as this verse exhorts?
Paul, and many throughout the centuries, knew that God listens to and considers the prayers of God-fearing people. James writes about Elijah: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” James 5:16-18.
God-fearing people are not meant to sit back and accept whatever may come. We ought to fight in prayer for our leaders and for our country! Regardless of what type of person the leader may be. We read in Proverbs 21:1: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water He turns it wherever He wishes.” God’s eyes roam the earth to find those who are loyal to Him and fully support them. (2 Chronicles 16:9) James also states: “Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” James 4:2. Paul exhorted the churches to pray for those in authority so that God could act on behalf of those who serve Him. We must stand for something in an ungodly world; if we don’t take up the fight in this way for what is right, who will?
We know that God is omnipotent and can do whatever He pleases. But we can’t be fatalistic because of that. There are examples in the Bible in which God changed His plans because of prayer. He had decided to destroy Israel after they sinned by making a golden calf, but then Moses pleaded: “‘Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, “He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.”’ So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.” Exodus 32:11-14.
Therefore, it is good to take heed to what Paul has written and pray for our leaders and ask God to guide their ways. We can ask God to act and steer matters in order that we can live “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” For example, we can pray that no legislation would be passed or decisions made that would hinder our ability to have Christian gatherings or would tear down the moral integrity of the country. We can also ask God to protect the safety of our homeland especially for the sake of our families and other loved ones. We can be sure that God is following along with our prayers as He directs the affairs of the lands in which we live.