Why We Pray for Our Leaders

By Melissa McLaughlin

Large and in Charge

We’ve all been there at some point. You are the one left in charge.

Maybe your role is…

  • caring for children, disabled or elderly loved ones in your home
  • planning the children’s program, youth event or Bible study group at church
  • supervising others in the workplace
  • managing a community sports team
  • organizing a fundraising event
  • setting up the family reunion

At some point in time, we have all been the person in charge. Being called to a position of leadership is humbling, rewarding and exhausting.

Why We Pray for Our Leaders

May we remember with compassion and wisdom those who are called to positions of leadership. Certainly, there are times when someone in leadership is operating in ways that oppose the truth of God’s Word or the mercy of Christ. We must seek the LORD for His discernment in prayer.

Regardless, God has commanded us to pray for our leaders.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 – I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 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, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Prayers Not Complaints

Recently I was so touched by someone in my life, following her response to a newly elected official not of her choosing. Her words? “We need to pray for this person even more.”

How utterly beautiful. Her knee-jerk reaction was one of kindness and her simple words revealed the depth of her gracious, Christlike heart.

Oh Lord have mercy on me.

How many times have I complained about our country’s leaders, INSTEAD OF PRAYING?

How many times have I recounted the ways leaders are bringing division, being deceptive or leading people away from God, INSTEAD OF PRAYING?

If MY People will Pray

This famous message in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is for “MY people” who are “called by MY name.” This call is for us, the followers of Jesus Christ.

2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

God is not asking someone else to repent and pray.

God is not calling for the ungodly to humble themselves.

God is not commanding the world to humble themselves and seek Him.

God is calling US to…

  • Humble ourselves
  • Pray
  • Seek His face
  • Turn from OUR wicked ways

Then He will hear from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land.

Whether you are rejoicing at the local, state, country and global leaders that God has allowed to be put in place or whether you are disappointed, may we humble ourselves and follow God’s command to pray. When we pray TO GOD on behalf of our earthly leaders, it reminds us that God is ultimately in control and HIS kingdom will stand forever.

A Prayer For Our Leaders

Please pray with me-

Heavenly Father, we praise your holy name. You are God and there is no other. Your thoughts and ways are higher than ours. You are the One who formed every planet, tree, leaf and flower. The animals are yours and every person, the work of your hands. How glorious the splendor of your majesty and greatness! How vast beyond all measure! And yet you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to pay our sin-debt with His own heavenly blood, that we would be cleansed and restored into a loving relationship with our Creator. Thank you, Lord Jesus! Holy Spirit, we ask you to give us humble hearts and repentant spirits. Let us seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, that we may be a blessing to you and to the people in our world.

We lift up the leaders of our communities, states, country and world. Thank you for those you have chosen to place in positions of authority. We remember, nothing is outside of your permissive control. We pray first for their salvation in Christ. For your desire is for all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ. We also pray for you to give each one Godly wisdom and counsel that they may use their authority to bring about your justice, righteousness and compassion to the people they lead. May their decisions be aligned with your Word, the Bible. Soften their hearts and guard their speech that they would bring healing and dignity to all people. We pray you protect them and their families and cover them with your peace that passes all understanding. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Isaiah 55:6-9 – Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Additional Resources:

How to Pray According to God’s Will By Melissa McLaughlin

When it Doesn’t Make Sense By Melissa McLaughlin

3 Prayers of Hope By Melissa McLaughlin

How Did Jesus Pray? The Model Prayer By Melissa McLaughlin

A Call to Fast and Pray By Melissa McLaughlin

Powerful Prayer Tool- Praising Over Pleading By Melissa McLaughlin

18 thoughts on “Why We Pray for Our Leaders”

  1. In all things, Melissa, we must pray. Your prayer that our leaders may have wisdom is profound and so very important. God is the giver of wisdom and all gifts. Governing a city or a country is no easy thing. We must put our country in God’s hands at all times. Most importantly, we must trust as scripture would have us do, that ‘All things work together for good to them that love God’. (Romans 8:28.) And, as you quoted from Isaiah, ‘His ways are above our ways, and His thoughts are above our thoughts’.

    • So well said, Linda! In all things, we must pray. I hope to commit more time in prayer for our leaders. And as you said, we must remember that our country is ultimately in God’s hands. May our prayers be a blessing to the LORD and to those He has placed in authority over us.

  2. This may sound backward to you, but I had a harder time praying for our last president than for any other previous president. And yet, I’m sure he needed the most prayer. His actions and attitudes created a block in my heart, and I needed others to come alongside and remind me, though I had prayed fervently for every president since Reagan. Yesterday, when our new president took charge, it was easier to pray for him for he had begun his day with church and reconciliation between parties as he had invited political foes and friends to join him for church on that day. Prayers for him felt like they would be effective, whereas prayers for the previous president always felt futile. I don’t know if this was a lack of faith, a heart problem, or God’s leading for my prayers. Now, at the start of a presidency, is the time to remind us all once again. If Paul could urge prayers for an emperor like Nero, we can and should certainly pray for any and every president, even if we must be reminded.

    • “If Paul could urge prayers for an emperor like Nero, we can and should certainly pray for any and every president, even if we must be reminded.”
      Wow, Melinda, that is powerful. I certainly understand, it seems easier to pray for some leaders more than others. But as you say, no matter our preferences, may we pray! Even if we do need reminders or others to walk with us in prayer, let us pray! God has called for us to pray and when we pray to Him for our leaders, it reminds us who is ultimately in charge. Thank you for your faithful prayers, my sister!

    • Dear Alisha, thank you for reading and commenting. As Christians, I believe we should be modeling this high calling more than anyone else. We must remind ourselves to recognize God’s sovereign rule over all and that we wait for the kingdom that is to come. When we agree and when we don’t agree with a particular leader, let us pray!

    • That’s it. We must pray. Whether we voted for a particular leader or not, we must pray. God commands this and it is a privilege to be used by the LORD to bring about His kingdom plans through our prayers. We must pray.

  3. Thanks for this reminder about praying for our leaders and not making it political. It breaks my heart to see so many “Christians” politicalize their faith. We must prayer for all our leaders and love them as Christ loves us.

    • Yvonne, I appreciate your heart. I have been disappointed to see Christians “politicize” their faith, as well. It takes our minds off of our Savior and places too much emphasis on the kingdoms of this world. May we pray for the leaders, no matter if they are of our preference or not, for ultimately, God is the one who allows leaders in their positions to accomplish His purposes. I feel this is a powerful opportunity for Christians to stand out from the rest of the world, as we follow God’s Word and truly place our trust in Him.

  4. Our leaders, whether of countries or of small groups need God’s guidance in extraordinary ways. Samuel would never see Saul again after Saul rejected following God’s command. But Samuel left him saying that he would not stop praying for Saul. Leaders need the Lord and we benefit from godly leadership.

    • Tom, I appreciate your insights. The example of Samuel continuing to pray for Saul, even when Saul rejected God’s commands, is a powerful reminder. You are right, we all benefit from Godly leadership. And so we pray.

  5. Oh, Melissa, thank you for writing these words, so necessary for believers and God’s people to read and to hear! I too noticed some Christians setting the example of praying for our leaders. Even those they disagree with on several levels, politically.

    And this is so good:

    God is not asking someone else to repent and pray.

    God is not calling for the ungodly to humble themselves.

    God is not commanding the world to humble themselves and seek Him.

    Amen, He’s calling US, HIS CHURCH! May we pray INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING!

    • It is a powerful witness to the world, when Christians pray for our leaders, even when they disagree on many levels. This is our calling by God. And prayer is a powerful tool the Lord uses to bring about His purposes. May we walk as children of the kingdom of God, as we pray for our earthly leaders. Thank you for your kind encouragement!


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