In our toxic political environment, it might be difficult for us to pray for the very leaders who are damaging our businesses through public policy. Furthermore, we might resent how our hard-earned money is spent after it is taken from us through the force of law. We might also find ourselves disillusioned with the campaign and governance process – learning that time and again, those who seem to be one way during the campaign often turn out to be entirely different once in office.
Paul wrote 1 Timothy 2.1-4 during a time when Christians had zero access to their leaders and they couldn’t voice any opinion about the leaders’ persona or decisions. All they could do is pray. (At least in our system of government, we can become the leaders if we want to – so we have much less to whine about.) And so Paul instructs them to pray. And by extension, he instructions us as well to pray for our king and “all those in authority”:
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
Why do we enter into prayer for them? Why do we intercede for them? And why do we thank God for them? Because this pleases God – first, but also because through our praying, some will come to know Christ personally and after that, begin to understand the truth of God and by extension, the truth of how to govern properly.
In the long run, the type of government we have is less important than the salvation of men’s souls. It is true that as godlessness increases, so does a society’s move toward socialism and tyranny. This is because people naturally want a savior and when the real savior is jettisoned from the public square, he is also jettisoned from private lives and that vacuum must be filled. Nearly always, it is filled with government that is big, powerful and yet oppressive. Anytime you find a godless government, you’ll find an onerous tax system, an elite who profit immensely from their position, a corrupted judiciary that renders decisions to support the powerful to the detriment of the common man and often, a strong bigotry against one group or another. As a society moves in this direction, it is imperative that Christians pray for their leaders and essentially do a form of spiritual warfare on their behalf. This helps to slow the decay and sometimes can reverse it as those in power come to know Jesus Christ personally.
Most Christians ignore this passage in 1 Timothy. We figure all politicians in both parties are corrupt and beyond being salvaged. I would assert that what we need is a revival of gigantic proportions in this country. But this revival will touch all of life – but it will necessarily touch business and politics – not just the common masses.
I encourage you all to practice 1 Timothy. We pray because it pleases God. We pray so that we can lead quiet and peaceful lives. But we also pray because we want our leaders to come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and thus come to a “knowledge of the truth”.
Associate, The Platinum Group