I admit, I have not prayed for my leaders as I should. I have not been diligent in seeking God’s guidance, understanding or wisdom for leaders in government offices, whether elected or appointed. I have not prayed regularly that those who do not know Jesus would not only come to know Him, but would seek to follow Him in their role of leading others. I have prayed my will, my understanding, and my desires but even as I seek God, there are things I do not understand and I sometimes desire things outside of God’s will.
I have prayed for my husband, my children and myself watching God answer prayer after prayer in His time, in His way. Maybe my distance from the political office keeps me from believing my prayers make a difference. Maybe I’m just so critical and judgmental I don’t really believe they can change. Two issues arise in my own life when this is my mindset:
1) I give myself authority to judge what is only meant for God to judge. I don’t really know their heart. While I may not agree with or understand their position, only God can judge the true motives and intentions of their heart.
2) I limit what I believe God can do. It is not by the power of my will in prayer, but the power of our God that hearts are changed and emboldened for Him.
Why should we pray?
It takes strength, boldness and courage to follow the Lord. In Joshua 1, Joshua knows the Lord. He has been faithful from the beginning. He is the new leader raised up to take the place of Moses after His death. God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. To remember and obey all that God has told Him through the Book of the Law. Even though Joshua already has a heart set on the Lord, He needs encouragement to stand firm. Times will get tough. People will want to go their own way. They may come up against his leadership out of fear or pride.
As we pray for our leaders to be strengthened and filled with courage and boldness for God, we are as filled as well. God meet us when we pray for others.
What should we pray?
There are many things we can pray based on the person and the specific needs of a country, community, business or organization but here are just a couple that cover some basic ideas.
1) Our leaders who do not know Jesus would come to know Him. If we are to follow God, it is best that those we submit to would be leading us His way. In surrendering to His authority, they understand the limits of their own authority.
“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.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)
2) Our leaders would create laws that are fair and impartial. They would not be swayed by public opinion just to be elected. They would not use circumstances as an excuse or justification for wrong doing. And they would not allow wealth to keep someone from a consequence nor would they use it as a reason to have a heavy hand and take more than due. When laws are applied fairly, mercy prevails.
“Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” Leviticus 19:15 (NIV)
3) Our leaders would be peacemakers seeking to reconcile and move forward with the necessary business they are in office to carry out. One key role for leaders is conflict management. As peacemakers, they are to help settle disputes between parties that disagree, quarrel and fight. Leaders should be unifying not divisive with their words and actions.
“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:18 (NIV)
God’s perfect plan does not always play out the way we think is fair or just, but in knowing Him, we can trust that He is faithful. He is and always will be in control.
Something to Consider…
What attitudes, criticisms, or judgments have you held against your leaders? How does your attitude add fuel to the fire or help others move forward in solutions? How do your criticisms and judgments move you closer to or further away from Gods heart.
In your own role as a leader, whether at work, volunteering or at home, what attitudes, criticisms and judgments do you find others hold against you? What would you want others to see in you as a leader?
As you seek to be resolved as a leader who you would willingly follow, ask God to not only help you bring glory and honor to Him, but that those you submit to would also seek His glory and honor in all they do.