In the province of British Columbia, it’s Election Day. And while praying for our civic leaders is good every day of the week, election days bring the importance of that practice front and centre.
In 1 Timothy 2:1-4 Paul wrote, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
It’s no secret that Roman leaders were not a godly lot, and yet Paul urges Timothy and the churches under his care to petition, pray, intercede and be thankful for all people, proceeding to single out those who are in authority for special consideration. Imagine praying for the likes of Nero or Herod. The point? Paul doesn’t tell Christians to pray only for those with whom they agree or support or even like. No, we are to pray, and to even be thankful, for them all.
But it makes sense: those in authority can make life “peaceful and quiet” or cause conflict and difficulty. Praying for leaders, then, is an important way we practice and promote peace, demonstrating the godliness and holiness which directly impacts how others come to know the God who loves them.
So here’s our prayer practice for today:
Day 9: Write out the names of your local, provincial/state and federal leaders and pray for them.
- Pray for the men and women who serve, many of whom (especially at the local levels) are not career politicians but average citizens wanting to make their cities and communities better. We should be very thankful for them, as Paul urged us to be, honoring them with our words and our prayers.
- Pray for their personal lives–their spiritual journey, their family relationships, their physical health and their personal growth. Pray for quiet moments of reflection, for safe places of honesty, and for protection from compromises that will destroy their integrity or their influence.
- Pray for wisdom and understanding to govern well, within their respective spheres of influence, for the sake of the peaceful and quiet lives we all need to flourish.
- Pray for compassionate and ethical decisions, so that those with little voice, both people and planet, would not be trampled upon by policies and practices.
- Pray for knowledgeable insight and daily guidance for the sake of society’s good, so that all people may flourish and come to know the God who loves them.
- Pray for the Daniels among them, faithful people who strive to honor God in the midst of difficult and compromising situations, and many who are not elected but are the gifted administrators who make it all work.
- Pray for the Nathans who have the ears of the leaders, that they would have the courage to speak grace and truth into the lives of our leaders. That’s a hard place to be, but super important. May God increase their favour and their influence.
- Pray for the church, that we would truly live the godly, holy lives which leads others–including those in authority–to experience God’s love and desire for them. And in the midst of increasingly divisive political realities, pray that we will remain true to God’s Kingdom values of grace and servanthood, rather than enticed by power and position.
- And on a day when leadership is being decided, may we pray for this process of voting, thankful for the peaceful ways of democracy and thankful for all those who run, whatever the results. And for those residents of British Columbia, offer special prayer for those who are elected today, as they enter a new season of service tomorrow morning.
Take your list of names (for those in BC, you may fill this in by the end of today!) and pray over them. That’s our prayer challenge for today!
This is my closing prayer: Lord Jesus, who is seated at the Father’s right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked (Eph 1:20-21), we thank you for those who you have placed in authority in our world today, and ask that they would govern with accountability, responsibility, compassion and wisdom, for the sake of all people. May those who know you honor you in their leadership, and may those who do not follow you be guided by your wisdom and grace, for the sake of us all. And may we, your people, continue to be your church under whatever administration, for your glory and neighbour’s good. Amen.