The recent election has caused many people to become overcome with frustration and hopelessness and despair. The nation is divided. Racial tension is at an all-time high and many of us are left wondering, “Where is God in all of this?
The substantial majority of people do not care for Donald Trump’s presidency. This assertion is to understatement something like a pond is to an Ocean.
Yet believers are not given the option of letting their disagreement with their political leaders prevent them from praying for those leaders. The apostle Peter wrote that believers are to “submit yourselves to every human authority for the Lord’s sake, whether it be to the king, as supreme, or to governors, as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and to praise those who do right… Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:13-14, 17).
Likewise, Paul wrote to Timothy, “Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
Who was ruler when Paul and Peter penned these words? The most dishonorable governmental leader in history – – Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, known only as Nero.
What kind of leader was Nero? He murdered his mother and both of his wives, to begin with. However, his grotesque cruelty far transcended his immediate family. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, after a bad fire had consumed equally half of Rome and his status was in free-fall, Nero decided to blame the fire on Christians. Tacitus chronicles that the initial Roman followers of Jesus “were covered with the skins of wild animals and then torn apart by dogs, some were crucified, some were burned at torches to light as night.”
Mercifully, none of America’s governmental leaders-local, state or federal-can claim such notoriety. This doesn’t, however, lessen the wrong that they have done or continue to allow. Yet we are called to pray for those in power; God’s Word says it, and Christians must do it.
How, then, should we pray for those in authority, whether they be leaders we esteem or with whose political decisions we agree with, or leaders whose character and official strategies we cannot endorse?
Here are five ways:
1. Pray for their health and safety.
2. Pray that they would follow the Lord’s ways and atone if they don’t.
3. Pray that they would execute fairness.
4. Pray that they would govern with wisdom for the “welfare of the city” not for personal gain or for the advantage of a favored few.
5. That God would accomplish His purposes through them regardless of their willingness to be used by Him.