Summary: The Bible tells us to pray for our leaders and all who are in authority. The Bible doesn’t say we have to agree with them. The Bible doesn’t say we have to like them. But it does command us to pray for them.
It bothers me when I hear Christian speak against President Trump. And I know he’s not the most polished person when it comes to speaking his mind. And there are times when, quite honestly, I would have preferred that he passed on opportunities to speak his mind. It really bothers me when I hear Christians, who claim to be serving the Lord, say “He’s not my president,” and that they will not pray for him because of the things he’s said.
A number of years ago, I found myself in a similar situation. I was griping to the Lord about the president and some of the members of Congress. And based on His response, God was not pleased with my grumblings. He said, very plainly to me, you don’t have to like what they are doing. The only thing I ask you to do is to pray for them. That’s your job. You don’t have to like what they’re doing but I do hold you responsible if you don’t pray for them.
So, I began to ask myself, why do I need to pray for people who have authority in my life? There has to be a reason why God tells us to pray for them. And the “why” has to be somewhere in the Bible. And it is. We’re going to turn to I Timothy 2 and, if you have markers, put one in Acts 13.
In First Timothy, chapter two, we’re going to begin with verse one.
(1) I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
(2) For kings (for us it would be the President), and for all that are in authority (for us it would be folks like the members of Congress, the Supreme Court and our state and local officials); that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in the sight of God our Saviour;
(3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
(4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
Now you see in verse one the word “therefore.” So we have to ask ourselves, “What is the ‘therefore’ there for?” Go back up to verse 18 in chapter one.
(18) This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
How is Timothy going to war a good warfare?
(19) Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
(20) Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they my learn not to blaspheme.
“I exhort therefore, Timothy, that, the first thing you need to do is to pray – supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” Why? Because Hymenaeus and Alexander had led the believers astray by their doctrine concerning what they were to do regarding praying for their leaders. So Paul is telling Timothy, “We know what Hymenaeus and Alexander did, so I’m exhorting you to pray for all men, especially those who are in authority.
At the time First Timothy was written, the notorious Roman emperor, Nero, was in power. He had a demonic passion for torturing and killing Christians. Hymenaeus and Alexander were telling the believers not to pray for him.
But, we know that Paul charged Timothy to pray for Nero, who was in authority, and he also charged him to teach the beleivers to do the same. And we see this in verse 2 of chapter 2. Timothy is told to pray “For kings, and fall that are in authority.”
No where in I Timothy 2 does it say I have to like who is in authority. That is not a prerequisite. But if I’m going to be obedient, if I’m going to do what God’s Word says I am supposed to do, then I am going to pray and give thanks for my President, members of Congress, the Supreme Court and my state and local officials.
Several years ago when my wife and I visited Portugal, a many of the people we met were unhappy with the United States and had few positive things to say about the president at that time. And I remember telling my wife that what they were saying did not matter because my responsibility as a son of God is to obey my Father.
There were some things that he did that I didn’t like. But my feelings were not an issue for God. His only issue: Barry, I want you to pray for him. I want you to make intercession for him. And I want you to give thanks for him. Are you going to obey me or not?