The Israelites lost their beloved leader, Moses, just when they were arriving at the Promised Land after decades of wandering in the wilderness. It was a tumultuous time, and they might have been overwhelmed with uncertainty if the Lord had not already chosen Moses’successor, Joshua, someone they knew and trusted.
Joshua 1:16-17 records their response to their new leader, Joshua:
“Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses.”(ESV)
It doesn’t seem like a hardship to pray for leaders like Joshua who have proven themselves to be godly men and women.
The challenge comes when they are not, but 1 Timothy 2:1-4 instructs us to pray for all our leaders, no matter how we feel about them: “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions andthanksgivings, 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. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
In the Old Testament book of 2 Kings, we see what happened when a king turned away from God, and the blessings the nation received when he was obedient. When kings did what was right in their own eyes, refusing to recognize the holiness and sovereignty of God, the nation suffered. However, when a king was obedient to the Lord, the people prospered and were at peace.
When the frustration of politics or decisions we disagree with from our leaders makes it difficult to pray, we can be encouraged, knowing all leaders are under God’s authority and appointed by him.
Romans 13:1-2 says: “ Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
Proverbs 21:1 says: “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” (ESV)
We do not pray for our leaders in order to bend them to our political will, but for them to be saved and know truth. We pray for them because we acknowledge that God is sovereign and in control. This is a prayer that is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord.
Read an earlier post by Cindy here.