I have a plethora of images rolling around in my head from my recent trip to California. I have images of hopelessness and poverty, walls and gates, people living in luxury homes and people diving in dumpsters for whatever they could scrounge. If there is ever a place where the division of the rich and poor can be seen by just traveling a few blocks in any direction, it is California. This last trip it reminded me of the necessity of praying for our nation’s leaders.
Paul, toward the end of his life, wrote to Timothy, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” [1 Tim 2:1-2]
We are to pray for those in authority over us so that we might live peaceful and quiet lives of godliness and holiness. Godly and holy living wasn’t so easy in Paul’s world, it’s not so easy in ours.
And I thought Paul’s list of how we are to pray was interesting, especially as tied to our “kings and all those in authority.” That list says that we are to make requests for, pray for, intercede for, and give thanksgiving for them.
The requests and prayers are commonly what we offer. But there are times when we must intercede—stand in the gap when our leaders are faced with tough decisions, laws that need to be passed or vetoed, threats from outside and inside our borders. We must be warriors in the spiritual realm, knowing that we do not fight people (or even governments or political parties), we fight the authorities, powers and spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms. [Ephesians 6:12]
Then there is the last item on Paul’s list. We are to offer thanksgiving for our “kings and all those in authority.” That may be the toughest of all! Father God, thank you for all those You have placed in authority in our governments, local, state, and federal. Amen.