Praying for Politicians
“First of all, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” (I Timothy 2:1, click here for the full passage.)
The Apostle Paul instructs Timothy, emphatically, that the church should pray for government leaders. This should not be seen as blind support for leaders, but neither is it simply praying for their conversion to our way of thinking. It is prayer that all may live “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.”
At various times, I have been asked if leaving some political leader off the prayers is an expression of disapproval or if including them is an expression of support. It is neither, it is just that different forms of the Prayers of the People make different provisions.
Hearing choices of who we mention in our prayers and who we do not as political endorsements (or lack thereof) is nothing new. Paul had to assure his apprentice Timothy that it was, indeed, good and proper to pray for government leaders, even those who openly oppress and persecute us! But it seems Paul knew that simply reminding Timothy to pray for “kings and all who are in high positions” was not adequate and he needed to emphasize that this was “acceptable in the sight of God.” (see v. 2)
As we walk through this season of ever increasing division and vitriol, I hope we will remember that we are to pray for all our leaders, not just the ones we happen to like. As we begin to consider our next presidential election, it seems highly unlikely that we will have a president who enjoys broad and enthusiastic support. This should drive us to our knees, both now, and after the election!
Notice that in the Collect for Sunday (included below), we ask God to remove from us anxiety about earthly things by replacing it with love for heavenly things. What better way to participate in that process than by fervently praying for those things which make us anxious, including elections.
Collect for Sunday: Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This column appeared in the September 22, 2019 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.