We are living in an age of unprecedented political animosity, of outright hatred between our political parties. It's getting hard to watch the news anymore--it's all about the opposition party resisting and resenting the party that is in office. We have become a very polarized society.
It is interesting and insightful that the very first thing Paul tells Timothy (in the letter of I Timothy) to do is pray for government leaders. “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” (I Tim. 2:1-2). When was the last time you saw people from the opposition party giving thanks for their President, or congressmen? Perhaps if we would do a lot more praying for our leaders, and less criticizing, we all would be happier. This is perhaps the single most violated verse in the New Testament.
And what exactly is the purpose of such praying? “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” I don’t know if Timothy told Paul there was a church member who was promoting open rebellion against Rome, or what. We do know for sure that in New Testament times there was a group of Jews who were called “zealots” and they advocated the overthrow of the Roman government. But Paul’s teaching on this is clear, and if we ever hope to have some semblance of peace in our country, we better start heeding this vital biblical exhortation.
There is a footnote to the phrase: “for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior”. It says: “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (vs. 4). In other words, no matter how much you might dislike your government leaders, no matter how much you disagree with their policies, you should always pray for them because they need to be saved, and God Himself desires even terrible men to be saved! Not all men, of course, will be saved—but it is certainly God’s desire for them to be.
Keep in mind that when Paul wrote these words to Timothy, Christians were under the brutal rule of Roman Emperors, like Nero. Yet, Paul admonishes Timothy to pray for him! Imagine that. Right now, the political hatred and vitriol in our country is at an all time high and it is truly alarming. Christians need to pray for our leaders: for their salvation if they are not saved, for their protection from deranged men, and for their SUCCESS. Yes, their success! It is God’s desire that we should pray for them, and it should be ours too.