“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 Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2.1-4
It seems appropriate on this day when a new Premier is to be elected, to remind ourselves that God wants us to pray for our political leaders. The passage gives several reasons for this:
- It is simply a good thing for us to pray for our leaders. Most people recognise this, and are glad they are being prayed for. My own experience has been that whenever I have let a politician know that we pray for them, the politician has been grateful.
- It pleases God when we pray to him for our leaders. Pleasing God is always a good motivation, isn’t it?
- Prayer for our leaders will help us to “live peaceful and quiet lives”. In part, I think this is because we can expect that God will answer our prayer and help the leader govern well. But in part, it might also mean that we can afford to live peacefully and not rebelliously, because we have committed our leaders to God.
We should feel encouraged to pray for our leaders, because God has put all leaders into their positions. God is the source of all authority, and he will hold leaders to account.
God remains in supreme control of his universe, and this includes the actions of our leaders: “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1). God, for his own mysterious reasons, might often allow leaders to go ahead with bad decisions. But even then, he remains in control. This means that God always has the power to answer our prayers.
When you lobby a politician, you will rarely get everything you’re asking for. Normally we’d be pleased to have even a small impact on the outcome. Perhaps we ought to have the same attitude to prayer. Will we receive absolutely everything we ask for? Probably not. But our heavenly Father (unlike any human leader) will certainly hear every word we say to him and will take every word into account in the way he rules his world. If I feel that one of my prayers has even a small impact, I am deeply honoured.
Our church services always include prayer for our leaders: we regularly pray by name for the Queen, Governor General, Prime Minister, Premier, and our local members in the State and Federal Parliaments. I’d love to know that you are also praying for these leaders in your own time. I’m sure they would also like to know this too!
So don’t forget to pray for our leaders, including the new Premier.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for putting our leaders in place. Please guide the election of the new Premier today. Help them to know that they are exercising power delegated by you. Strengthen them for the task. Guide them to make good laws for the benefit of all people. Grant that all governments would allow your church to serve you faithfully. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.