Have you ever wondered how to pray for leaders in government? With the National Day of Prayer 2020 coming up, I thought it might be helpful to have a prayer plan to guide your prayer time.
We all know it’s important to pray for our leaders and those in authority over us, but HOW? Fortunately, Paul gives us an exact template right there in his writings to Timothy. We’ll be looking at this prayerful plan today and I have a FREE printable for you to take with you too.
Sound good? Let’s get started!
This week I was reading through I Timothy and this passage stood out from chapter 2, verses 1-2: “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (NLT).
What struck me was the three different types of prayers listed in this version of the passage. Did you notice?
So I did a little bit of study on this passage and the result is that now I have a simple template for praying for leaders!
This passage specifically lists “kings and those who are in authority,” so this template is great to use for local, state, and national leaders in government, church leaders, organizational leaders, and others in the position of leadership or decision making. Keep reading and I’ll show you exactly how the template comes directly from this passage AND share the printable so you can use it too.
3 Ways to Pray for Leaders
P- Petition (Ask)
The first way Paul says to pray is to, “Ask God to help them.” This is probably the easiest type of prayer and involves simply making a request. This is elsewhere defined as “petitions.”
As easy as this type of prayer may be however, it isn’t an excuse for falling into what I call “lazy praying.” I don’t know about you, but it’s super easy for me to constantly revert to prayers that go like this, “Please be with our President and give him wisdom.”
While there is nothing wrong with this prayer, it can oftentimes be a substitute for digging a little and cultivating a deeper prayer life. Yuck! I don’t want to be a shallow pray-er, do you? I like challenging myself NOT to stay shallow in my prayer life, so I did some thinking through this category of prayer we call “petitions.”
Since petitions basically involve us asking God for help, I started thinking through how our leaders may specifically need help. How might they be weak? In Need? Vulnerable? Overwhelmed? What obstacles are they facing? What opportunities are there? Here are a few things I listed:
- Physical health
- Wisdom in how their choices affect others and the future
- Emotional and mental stamina
- Unity with others, good working environment and relationships
- Favor with others (team members, political opponents, leaders of other countries, etc)
- Wise, informed counsel
- Compassion towards the vulnerable and needy
See how simply taking a couple minutes to think through this deepens your ability to pray for our leaders? This is one of the benefits of using printable templates or keeping a prayer journal- it allows me to put some thought into my prayers and slow down long enough to go a bit deeper.
I- Intercession (Kingdom advancement)
The second category of prayer Paul mentions in this passage is intercession. You may be wondering what the difference is between petitions and intercession. I did too! I did a bit of informal research and found that intercession is more about standing in the gap on behalf of someone or something. It’s being able to see with spiritual eyes and praying for God’s Kingdom purposes to be accomplished. In any given situation, we as God’s people can see what others can’t and fight for those purposes in prayer.
On this part of the prayer template, I ask, “What will of God can I pray into this person’s life or situation?” Here are some things I listed when praying for our leaders in the midst of the COVID situation:
- That our leaders would be struck with a fear of God
- That our leaders will be softened towards the things of God & God to turn hearts back to Him
- For the advancement of the gospel
- For unity worldwide
- For people worldwide to call on the name of the Lord
Again, this kind of prayer takes a bit of thought + slowing down long enough to articulate the requests. Now, were we talking about shallow prayers? Not anymore!
G- Give thanks
When it comes to our leaders, there is always something to question, complain about, or disagree with. But Paul specifically tells us to give thanks. Romans 13:1 says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
We can give thanks that God is sovereign and has a plan He is accomplishing through the authorities in our lives.
Taking a few minutes to think through the following questions can provide us with many things to give thanks for:
- How are these leaders serving others?
- Blessing others?
- Contributing to the good or well being of society?
- Being an example?
- Demonstrating character or leadership?
- Being used by God to accomplish His purposes?
Give thanks for these!
How to Pray for Government Leaders and those in Authority
While there are many ways to pray for leaders, this three step prayer plan is a simple way to start praying for our government. After praying this way, I can say my prayers are deeper than before, more fervent, and more frequent. Why not grab this printable and add it to your prayer notebook?
Also, be sure to check out these 10 scripture prayers for our nation. Both are great additions to your prayer time!