I told my colleague, “I must confess that I am having difficulty in knowing how to pray for the current sitting President. You know me. It’s not about race or his party. How do I pray?”
I know the Scripture, “Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NKJV).
Because it is truth, I know the Word of God is true no matter what. It doesn’t matter if my circumstances, actions or emotions are exuberant with the truth I’m reading that particular day. What matters is the truth and do I respond correctly to the truth?
I also know that genuine intercession is not about fluffy petitioning that amounts to positive platitudes spoken to the wind. Genuine intercession is about gaining an audience with God and honestly communicating with Him.
So how do I pray for this man whose policies, executive orders and speeches are so diametrically opposed to the biblical truths I cherish? The unprecedented assault on religious liberty, the use of my tax dollars to bring about a court challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, and the open offensive against innocent preborn lives through an overhaul of our medical system are just more than my burdened heart can handle. Every time I enter the closet I want to weep – weep for my nation, weep for my children and my children’s children.
I explained to my colleague, “So if I am to be an obedient child of the King of kings, how can I pray for this man? I know I can pray for his personal safety and pray for the safety of his family. But how do I pray for his leadership role in currently the most powerful nation on the planet?”
In response, my colleague handed me a devotional for the day by Charles Stanley (InTouch, January, 2013). Here’s what he challenges us to pray for this President:
1. Pray that he will realize that he has been given this position by either God’s choice or His permissive will.
2. Pray that he will recognize his personal inadequacy for the task and look to God for wisdom, knowledge and courage to succeed.
3. Pray that he will restore dignity, honor and trustworthiness and righteousness to the presidency.
4. Pray that he will readily forsake his political career and his personal ambitions, if doing so would be in the best interest of the country.
5. Pray that he will reverse the destructive trends of atheism and humanism that try to dethrone God, deify man and lead to an ungodly society.
6. Pray that he will respect and obey the Constitution—the protector of our freedoms.
7. Pray that he will reject all counsel that weakens our defenses against aggressors or endorses agreements that would do so in the future.
8. Pray that he will refuse to promote a way of life in which citizens become increasingly dependent on the government for their needs.
9. Pray that he will remember he is accountable to Almighty God for his attitudes, motives, behaviors and decisions.
10. Pray that he will resolve to help the nation again become a place of creativity, security, national pride and individual prosperity, where God is recognized as the source of all our blessings.
So with specificity, I pray each item believing that my God, who knows far more than I will ever know, has willed that I intercede for the leader of a nation that is walking away from Him. Others before our time have done the same.
So pray. Pray like you have never prayed before. Seek His face. He calls us to obey His Word in spite of the difficulties or the disappointments with a culture. Beg our God for mercy. Plead for lost souls. Ask that the spiritual blinders on the minds of those who walk in the darkness created by the vain philosophies of our day will fall away so that they can discover the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Maybe in our lifetime we will witness a fresh movement of God through His people in such a fashion that our culture is transformed. So “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”