Op-ed by David Crum | Photo: Alamy
In the Christian faith, prayer must play a significant role in a believer’s life. The Old Testament is filled with examples of prayer from figures such as David, Daniel, Jeremiah, and Elisha.
In the New Testament, Jesus reiterated such a standard. From giving thanks for food (Mat. 14:19) to sharing the Lord’s Prayer (Mat. 6:9-13)—prayer remained a critical part of His ministry.
J. C. Ryle remarked, “The Bible never says that somebody will be saved by their prayers—I am sure of that. But at the same time, I cannot see anything in the Bible that says somebody will be saved without prayer.”[i]
It is customary to pray for your leaders, both government and military. Many people often find this hard to fathom, especially when an opposition party is in control. Nevertheless, the Scriptures are clear on the importance:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, or kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. “(1 Tim. 2:1-2)
A similar verse:
“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.” (Romans 13:1-2)
Let us note some pertinent details. The Scriptures inform us that God has appointed our leaders. This, too, is difficult to understand, especially when leaders openly deny the Lord and His teachings. But we must ascertain the Lord knows better than us and uses leaders for His purpose and will. The Romans passage also does not mean Christians sit back and let their nation crumble into unrighteousness. Christians can vote, participate in political matters, and even run for office.
Regardless, we should pray for our leaders, despite their political affiliation. Your leaders are your local government officials, federal representatives, and the sitting president of the United States.
Believers should pray for leaders they also desire to gain political positions. Pray for their success. Most earnestly, pray for everyone’s salvation.
The Book of Common Prayer provides a great example of such a prayer:
OGOD, the fountain of wisdom, whose statutes are good and gracious and whose law is truth; We beseech thee so to guide and bless the Legislature of this State, that it may ordain for our governance only such things as please thee, to the glory of thy Name and the welfare of the people; through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen[ii]
It should go without saying prayers for your country should be a daily matter. With the start of 2024, the nation is in trouble—increasingly abandoning the principles and ways of the Lord. In a year of great importance, particularly in the election cycle, increase your prayers and reliance on the Lord. We may not understand His purpose, ways, and decisions, but we are told to call out to Him for knowledge and wisdom.
Prayers do not need to be fancy or complex, but we all should lift our heads to the Lord to praise Him and seek His guidance. Ryle shared, “Go to Christ, just as you are. The worse you are, the more you need to go to him! You will never be able to mend yourself by staying away. Do not be afraid because your prayers are not very fluent. Jesus can understand you. Mothers understand the first babblings of their babies, and our blessed Saviour, Jesus Christ, understands sinners.”[iii]
If you struggle in your prayer life or perhaps often forget to cry out to the Lord, consider a new routine. Start with prayers for your nation and leaders, both of whom desperately need it.
[i] J.C. Ryle, Do You Pray, (Leyland: EP Books, 2018), 10.
[iii] Ryle, 49.