I remember visiting a friend’s church when I was a teenager. The church was from a tradition quite different from mine. During the service, the minister prayed a rather formal prayer for the Queen, calling her by name, Elizabeth. He then proceeded to pray for the Prime Minister (Pierre), the provincial Premier (Bill), and members of the local council. I don’t think I had ever heard this kind of prayer offered for those in positions of government.
What struck me was that the prayer focused on these politicians as individuals before God who needed guidance, encouragement and support to do their jobs. The priest wasn’t making any political statements – rather, he offered a very pastoral prayer for people with important roles in society.
Currently, the news in many countries is full of high political drama. It’s easy to mock and make fun of those in the political arena. Often they do things to invite our distain. However, there are many sincere and honorable people who wish to serve their country in elected office. They hold central positions and are worthy of our prayers whether we like their politics or not.
We are admonished to pray for those in positions of power: “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.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
Political preferences aside, our prayer for elected officials can be quite simple. We can pray for their personal well-being as they serve in office, and we can ask that God helps them to make wise decisions so we can all live peaceful and quiet lives.
There is a role for Christians in the public square and it starts with honest and sincere prayer for those in authority. This is part of our faithful duty.