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Praying for Leaders

by Robert Ricketts
We should pray the hardest when it’s hardest to pray.

Praying for our leaders might fit into this type of prayer. We are commanded by the Bible to respect
our leaders. We are to pray for them, but it’s easy to become cynical and think that nothing could
change them.

Romans 13:1-3 says, “
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 . . .”

We are told in Daniel 2:21 that God “removeth kings and setteth up kings.” Notice that removeth
comes first.

His will shall be accomplished in His time. God is not bound by the past or to the future. He is the God
of the present. Could that be why we call it the present? Today is our gift from God.

Hezekiah was a great king of Judah and an intimate friend of the Prophet Isaiah. He purged the land of
idols, repaired the temple, and restored the Levitical priesthood.

After King Hezekiah died, his son Manasseh began his rule about 692 B.C. Manasseh was only
twelve years old at the time. Unlike his father, Manasseh did evil in the sight of the Lord during his
reign of fifty-five years in Jerusalem. He rebuilt altars to Baal that his father had destroyed, worshipped
idols, built pagan altars in the temple of the Lord, consulted mediums, and even sacrificed his own son
in the fire. Manasseh was responsible for the ruin of his kingdom.

After Manasseh’s death, his son Amon became king and reigned for two years. He also did evil in the
sight of the Lord. He worshipped the idols of his father and turned his back on the Lord. Amon’s
officials conspired against him and assassinated him in the palace. Although he was an evil king, the
people believed he was ordained of God and they executed all who had plotted against him. The
people then made Josiah, his eight-year-old son, king.

King Josiah grew in favor during his thirty-one-year reign by doing what was right in the eyes of God.
He pleased the Lord as his ancestor David had done. During repairs to the temple, workers found the
almost-forgotten book of Deuteronomy. After the reading of the book, King Josiah purged the temple
of all idols and dedicated the temple worship wholly to Yahweh, the One and Only God.

The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD-- to follow the
LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus
confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to
the covenant
.” (II Kings 23:3 NIV)

After King Josiah renewed the covenant, the people all pledged themselves to the covenant. The
change of a great leader can often effect the spiritual atmosphere for an entire nation.

When we were in India in January 1998, we went to a village to hold an outdoor meeting. The rain
caused us to move into a private home. In the front room of the home, there was a large framed picture
of a deceased Indian leader from several decades ago. Our interpreter explained to us that when this
man converted from Hinduism to Buddhism, almost immediately one million people also converted to
worship Buddha. If this man had become a Christian, would these million people also have received
Jesus Christ? We should never underestimate the influence of one person.

Along with leadership, goes the great responsibility to be accountable to the people and to God.

Also, we have to respect the position of leadership, even when we do not agree with our leaders and
they fail. We are accountable to God to lift up our leaders in prayer.

The Apostle Paul told Timothy to pray and intercede “
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 men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
” (1 Tim 2:2-4 NIV)

Prayer changes things.

Prayer can change the hearts of leaders and prayer can bring better leaders into office
and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”  “This is good, and pleases God our
Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ
Jesus....”   1 Timothy 2:1-6 (NIV)