Prayer Guide: Praying for Government Leaders

Timothy Tardibono - Wednesday, March 08, 2017

With every New Year’s Day, newly elected legislators, appointed officials, and staffers ready themselves to fill important governmental roles at the local, state, and federal level across the U.S. This year is no different. However, what might be different than years past is the stress and turmoil many Americans, including American Christians, experience about these new leaders. Such anxiety is understandable since this past election cycle comes at a time of significant national and global instability accompanied by a level of rancor and incivility unknown to many. But American Christians should be encouraged by the fact that they are citizens of heaven first, and the U.S. second. (Philippians 3:20-21) Yet, the comfort of heavenly citizenship does not alleviate the American Christian from the duty to pray for our leaders as they make decisions that will impact our country and the world.

To assist Christians in praying for our government leaders in this time of political uncertainty and upheaval, the Family Policy Institute of Oklahoma publishes this short prayer guide and scripture reading.

Why Should Christians Pray for Government Leaders? To advance the Gospel.
Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (New English Translation)
First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, 2 even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior, 4 since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Devotional:  Despite the intensity that Americans feel about political leaders during Presidential elections, studies repeatedly show that voter turnout is generally low in recent American elections, especially in non-Presidential elections and for state/local offices. But Christians should not show a low prayer turnout when it comes to praying for their government leaders.  In fact, Paul exhorts Timothy that Christians should be praying for government leaders in multiple ways including giving thanks for them. 

We are encouraged to pray that political leaders govern in a way that facilitates quiet and peaceful lives in their jurisdictions, marked by godliness and dignity. Why?—to facilitate the spread of the Gospel—so that all those who don’t know Him, “come to a knowledge of the truth” (v. 3-4).

Paul places no qualifiers on the exhortation. Consequently, Christians should not restrict their prayers only to the government leaders or politicians they like…or from their own party. Who knows what God might do, especially if we pray for those leaders we disagree with?

Prayer:  Dear Lord, we humble ourselves to pray for our government leaders and to thank You for them. We pray that they would listen to Your voice and govern wisely to facilitate tranquil cities, states, and nations that will provide an atmosphere to advance the spread of Your Good News into all regions of the world. We pray that our governmental leaders would seek Truth and right ways of governing for the public good. We pray that You would help us to see politicians as You see them—through eyes of mercy, love, grace, and compassion, so we may have a heart to pray for them regularly.  
Lord, today I specifically pray this for _____________________________. 

By Timothy Tardibono, M.A, J.D., President of the Family Policy Institute of Oklahoma