The Bible reminds us to pray for those in authority, which includes our politicians
In Paul’s first letter to his protégé Timothy, he adds an important command. We can likewise apply Paul’s wise instruction as something for us to follow today. He tells us we are to pray for those in authority. This includes our elected officials, from the highest position to the local ones.
Though I remember to pray for family and friends on a regular basis, I usually neglect to pray for people in positions of authority. And to be painfully blunt, even when I remember to do this, there are some politicians I simply don’t want to pray for.
I should push past that and pray for them anyway, but often I don’t.
When we consider how to pray for our elected officials, Paul breaks it down. He says to make petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving. This is a curious string of words.
Thanksgiving is something I understand. It’s just that I’m not always so thankful for those in elected positions. Too often I don’t respect them or even like them. This makes it hard for me to be thankful, even though I should.
Intersession and petition are about the same thing. Intersession is intervening in prayer on behalf of another. Contrast this to petition, which carries the idea of a solemn entreaty.
Prayer seems to encompass all three—thanksgiving, intersession, and petitions—yet the text lists prayer separately. Of course, with prayer we expressly realize that we direct our thanksgiving, intersession, and petitions to God.
This focus on God serves to remind us that regardless of the actions, beliefs, and character of those in authority that God is the ultimate authority. He’s in charge. And as the one who’s ultimately in charge, we need to pray to him about all the authorities who are under him.
May we do just that. Let’s start today. Join me in prayer.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.