Praying for those in Authority

Bible Book: 1 Timothy  2 : 1-4
Subject: Prayer; Praying for those in Authority; Leaders, Praying for
Series: It Was Just A Prayer Meeting
[Editor's Note: All scripture in this sermon is taken from the King James Version of the Bible.]

In the early church Paul commanded Timothy to make sure the church attended to two things:

1 – Give Attendance to Public Reading of the Scriptures

1 Timothy 4:13 - "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine."

2 – Pray for those in Leadership Positions

1 Timothy 2:1-4 -"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."

Prayer in the White House

The story goes that one time when Bill Moyers was a special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was asked to say grace before a meal in the family quarters of the White House. As Moyers began praying softly, the President interrupted him with "Speak up, Bill! Speak up!"The former Baptist minister from east Texas stopped in mid-sentence and without looking up replied steadily, "I wasn't addressing you, Mr. President." Don Oberdorfer in Washington Post. Reader's Digest, April 1980.

Dear Pastor,

I know God loves me but I wish He would give me an "A" on my report card so I could be sure. Love, Theresa. (Age 8, Milwaukee)

Dear Pastor, Could you say a special blessing for my Aunt Beatrice? She has been looking for a husband for 12 years and still hasn't found one. Yours sincerely, Debbie. (Age 9, Duluth)

Dear Pastor, Do I have to say grace before every meal? Even when I am only having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
Wesley. (Age 9, Baltimore)

Dear Pastor, Thank you for your sermon on Sunday. I will write more when my mother explains to me what you said. Yours truly, Justin. (Age 9, Westport)

Dear Pastor, Please pray for all the airline pilots. I am flying to California tomorrow. Laurie. (Age 10, New York City)

Dear Pastor, We say grace every night before we eat dinner even when we have leftovers from the night before. Yours truly, Jacki. (Age 9, Chicago)

Dear Pastor, I say my prayer before I eat my supper but my mother still makes me finish my spinach and drink my milk. Julie. (Age 9, Buffalo) from "Dear Pastor", 1980 by Bill Adler Books, Inc.

It would benefit our churches to give more time to reading the word of God and to spend more time praying for our public leaders. It is one thing to complain and gripe about our leaders but another to pray for them, publically and privately. Let us consider three reasons for praying for our public leaders:

I – Pray “For their Sake”

The public leaders are only men-human beings who desperately need Gods help. In our text, Paul gave 4 commands that need to be made for our leaders:

A) Supplications

Imploring God’s aid on their behalf, deeply request God to kelp them.

B) Prayers

This has the connotation that we when go to our place of prayer, we remember to pray earnestly for our Public Leaders. Prayer for our leaders should daily be incorporated into our prayer life.

C) Intercessions

This has the idea of meeting with someone and having a conversation about another person. It denotes that we are to meet with God and intently and earnestly pray for our Public Leaders. It is our responsibility to ask God to give them what they need to do their job in a way that is honorable and just.

D) Giving of Thanks

Offer up thanks to God and ask him to bless their decisions and judgments.

The leaders that are in charge are simple human beings made of clay and they can truly only function with the help of God. Regardless of their eternal state we still have responsibility to pray for them to have Godly Guidance.

Psalm 75:7 “But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.”

Daniel 4:35 “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

Daniel 2:21 “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings:…”

Romans 13:1-7 - "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute [is due]; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour."

In reading these various texts we notice that God allows each leader to be placed into their particular seat. In all honesty they are considered to be ministers for God. In these verses God tells us that leaders are chosen to be his ministers, regardless of our likes or dislikes for them, we must still pray for them.

Proverbs 21:1- "The king's heart [is] in the hand of the LORD, [as] the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will."

It may puzzle many of us to ponder how God can work through a lost man or woman, but these scriptures tell us he has a divine plan. It is no big deal for God to work in the heart of a lost leader.

Daniel 4:17 - "This matter [is] by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men."

If we read the bible we will notice that often God gives us the leaders that we deserve, he often did this with the nation of Israel. God worked through various lost leaders in the bible, namely Cyrus, Artaxerxes, Pharaoh, and King Herod in the days of Joseph and Mary.

One thing that would help us understand this fact is to place more value and vision into the divine sovereignty of God. We should realize that when we pray for our leaders God can work his divine plan despite of their lost condition. The sovereign plan of God is run through the prayers of his saints.

In Acts 4 the apostles were extremely persecuted by the leaders but they chose to keep on following God, we do not read that they asked God to send lightening bolts from heaven to destroy them. Listen to how Stephen responded as he was being stoned by the leaders of his day:

Acts 7:59-60 - "And they stoned Stephen, calling upon [God], and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep."

It is not in our best interest to respond to our leaders with hatred, meanness, or seething anger. I do believe we have the right to revolt against ungodliness and unjustice, but we should conduct ourselves in a manner that is pleasing to God.

The bible is very clear on how we are to react to those that treat us wrong or unjustly and I am not really sure that many of us choose to respond correctly.

Joseph teaches us a wonderful example of how to respond to being mistreated and misjudged, as does Jesus when he was crucified.

It is easy to love those that love us and agree with us, but what about those that don’t love us or agree with us? The bible commands us to love our enemies and to love them that despitefully use us, how do we live up to this command.

Matthew 5:43-44 - "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"

How do you respond when things don’t go your way? I have found that there are some people you just can’t get along with, and if so you must move on and leave the results to God.

Romans 12:17-21 - "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."

Two men were talking together. The first challenged the other, "If you are so religious, let's hear you quote the Lord's Prayer. I bet you $10.00 you can't." The second responded, "Now I lay my down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." The first pulled out his wallet and fished out a ten dollar bill, muttering, "I didn't think you could do it!"

II – Pray “For the Churches Sake”

A) Those in Authority

1 Tmothyi 2:2 - "For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."

B) That is Acceptable

1 Timothy 2:3 - "For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;"

If we pray for those in authority it can help provide tranquility for the circumstances that occur in our life. If we pray for our leaders it is possible that we can find inward tranquility and peace and outward Godliness and honesty.

We don’t have to agree with the decisions of our leaders, nor do we have to like what they legislate, but we should conduct ourselves in a manner that is worthy of our Christian standing and testimony. I am not sure attacking our leaders with loud mouths and mean spirited attitudes will achieve that which we desire, but if we respond with love and prayer God might just work in their hearts on our behalf. I think we should pray for them on the behalf of our churches testimony.

III – Pray “For the Lost Sinners Sake”

A) This Is Honorable

The lost need to be saved that is God’s will he wants them to be saved. The Lord is not willing that any sinner should perish.

B) This is Helpful

If we have Godly leaders they in turn may make it more easy for us to do that which is needed to lead the lost to Jesus.

1 Timothy 2:4 - "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."

It is our responsibility to pray for our leaders for their sake, for the churches sake, but also for the sake of lost sinners. If we pray for our leaders it is possible that God will allow us to work through government to win the lost. In our world today not all places allow the gospel to be shared or preached. This is why it is important to pray for our leaders that God might allow the church the opportunity to spread the gospel to this lost and dying world.

When we pray we should seek God’s sovereign guidance so that the lost sinner may have an opportunity to hear the gospel. It should be our number one objective to get past politics, get past legislation, and get to seeking God’s divine plan so that the lost can be reached and have the opportunity to be saved.

In the bible we have numerous examples of God’s servants being placed in political places of leadership and influencing society in a Godly manner. We see this plainly in the lives of Joseph, Esther, Nehemiah, and Daniel.

When the church begin to flourish in its earliest stages many politicians became Christians, so the church was admonished to earnestly pray for its leaders, In doing this God might work through them to propagate the gospel to the ends of the world, so that lost sinners might be saved.

It should be our duty to ask God to keep doors open across this world so that sinners might be saved. We should earnestly spend time in prayer asking God to work through our leaders to open up more doors for the sake of the gospel.


1 – We must pray for their sake because they are mere human beings, but God can work in them and through them despite their spiritual state.

2 – We must pray for the churches sake so we might have the right circumstances to serve God.

3 – We must pray for the sake of lost sinners so that doors can be opened and remain opened to see them saved.

Something happens when churches pray and especially when we pray for our leaders. If we pray for our leaders it gives God the opportunity to work his divine and sovereign plan in this world. I hope you will incorporate praying for our leaders into your daily time of prayer.


A clergyman from New York, during a call on President Lincoln at the White House, said: "I have not come to ask any favors of you, Mr. President; I have only come to say that the loyal people of the North are sustaining you and will continue to do so. We are giving you all that we have, the lives of our sons as well as our confidence and our prayers. You must know that no boy’s father or mother ever kneels in prayer these days without asking God to give you strength and wisdom."

His eyes brimming with tears, Mr. Lincoln replied: "But for those prayers, I should have faltered and perhaps failed long ago. Tell every father and mother you know to keep on praying, and I will keep on fighting, for I know God is on our side."

As the clergyman started to leave the room, Mr. Lincoln held him by the hands and said: "I suppose I may consider this as sort of a pastoral call?"

"Yes," replied the clergyman.

"Out in our country," replied Lincoln, "when a parson makes a pastoral call, it was always the custom for the folks to ask him to lead in prayer, and I should like to ask you to pray with me today. Pray that I may have the strength and the wisdom."

The two men knelt side by side, and the clergyman offered the most fervent plea to Almighty God that ever fell from his lips. As they arose, the President clasped his visitor’s hand and remarked in a satisfied sort of way: "I feel better."
(From a sermon by George Bannister, Praying For America, 7/1/2010)

When you fold your hands, the thumb is nearest you. So begin by praying for those closest to you – your loved ones (Philippians 1: 3 – 5).

The index finger is the pointer. Pray for those who teach – Bible teachers and preachers, and those who teach children (1 Thessalonians 5: 25).

The next finger is the tallest. It reminds you to pray for those in authority over you – national and local leaders, your boss at work (1 Timothy 2: 1 - 2).

The fourth finger is usually the weakest. Prayer for those who are in trouble or who are suffering (James 5: 13 - 16).

Then comes your little finger. It reminds you of your smallness and that you need God to help you each and everyday.