Lifting Up Our Leadership
February 1, 2003 - Any change of power is a reminder for Christians to pray for our leaders. The recent election of Dr. Bill Frist as the majority leader in the U.S. Senate is such an occasion. We should pray for the senator not just because he is a fellow believer or a missionary surgeon or a friend, but because the Bible tells us to do so.
by Franklin Graham
As the Apostle Paul 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. This is good, and pleases God our Savior" (1 Timothy 2:1-3, NIV).
Paul was writing at a time when Christians faced even more persecution than we do today, yet he commanded Christians to pray for "all those in authority." Nero was the emperor of Rome, and he made Christians the scapegoats for his problems. To pray for Nero or one of the Herods was surely a challenging test of faith for Timothy and his flock. But without their prayers, who knows what would have become of the world? Or the church?
Paul urges Christians to pray for authorities just as we do for everyone else—for hurting friends, loving teachers, wayward children and willing servants. He instructs us not only to intercede on their behalf, but also to give thanks for their leadership. The Bible tells us, "There is no authority except that which God has established" (Romans 13:1, NIV).
To pray for our leaders, we don't have to agree with their policies or become involved in politics. My father has ministered to 11 presidents, five Democrats and six Republicans. He has set an example of how Christians can and should intercede for leaders across party lines.
To do anything less would be to deny the surpassing power of prayer and the ultimate authority of God.