“Let’s be praying for our leaders this upcoming election.”
It’s a statement we’ve heard and seen about a million times. And yet, what it usually means is, “I want my guy to make it. Let’s pray he does.”
This might come as a surprise, but the Bible doesn’t actually instruct us to do this type of praying. Yes, you’re right, 1 Timothy 2:1-2 does tell us to offer “entreaties and prayers…for kings and all who are in authority…” The problem is, we stopped reading too soon. There is more to this verse. Paul doesn’t just say to pray for the leaders, he actually tells them what to pray for.
Look at the verses together, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
Did you catch it? When we pray for our leaders, we aren’t told to pray for “our guy.” Instead, we are told to pray that the person selected into leadership will be one who helps us as Christians to “lead a tranquil and quiet life.” We don’t want to have to go into hiding. We don’t want to have to flee the country. We want to be able to continue worshiping without persecution. We want to continue to have religious freedom. We want to be able to continue pursuing “all godliness and dignity.”
Rarely have Christians throughout history lived among faithful leaders. Rarely have Christians stood in agreement with the decisions of the rulers. God has watched over His people anyway.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s good to pray for all types of people and issues. It’s good to hope a candidate who seems to have more Scriptural values gets elected. It’s certainly not sinful to pray for certain leaders. Let’s just not neglect the main point of this Scripture. Above all else, let’s be praying that those chosen into office will make it easier for us to continue to live the Christian life.