In our current sociopolitical climate in America there is one debate in church circles that is of great interest and importance, and that is the idea of praying for our political leaders. Should this be up for debate? Yes! I definitely believe that we are told to pray for rulers, but we have to be careful about the context in which we explain this. This is the most popular scripture quoted in this recurring discussion:
“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 g life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;” 1 Timothy 2:1-3
Notice that the first thing said is to pray for all men and then we see rulers and authority figures added. What I’m seeing is that as the followers of God, we are to pray for the entire earth and to also ask that rulers be especially watched over by Heaven. To give context to what I’m going to say, next I want to share another scripture found in the Old Testament:
“Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.” Daniel 4:27
We see what Daniel said unto the king of Babylon after he received interpretation for the vision. Is it far-fetched to assume that when Daniel prayed understanding of what God had shown that he would ask that the king do justice? If the king continued to sin against the poor, would he pray that God just look over it? I don’t believe so. I want to share one more text as a third witness to my line of thinking here:
“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
This is the actual command that Daniel and all the Jews would have been under in Babylon. But when the prophet tells them to pray for the peace of the city, are we to assume that means that they were to ask that corrupt leaders who hurt the masses be forgiven and overlooked for their wrongdoing? Or does it make more sense for them to ask that if those in charge will not do God’s righteousness in being just toward the people then they should be taken out of the way and replaced by leadership that would truly bring peace for those who suffer?
My argument is that the latter is more likely. So the next time you are involved in a discussion about the need to pray for our president or any other government officials consider the spirit of what is being said. My prayer is that any person with great power on the earth would heed to the righteousness of God and be a great steward over us.
But, if that person causes more evil, then I simply ask that the Lord install those who will do right by us because their decisions affect each one of us .