For All in Authority

By Francis Frangipane

"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

There are many obvious reasons to pray for people in positions of authority. At the core of authority is the ability to influence. Anyone with influence has authority and anyone with authority has influence. Governmental authority can influence entire cultures, and beyond. The Old Testament reveals that when a king turned to the Lord, the entire nation was influenced toward God. This was true with all of the godly kings in Judah, and it was true in Nineveh when its king led in national repentance. In fact, Judah never experienced a national revival without that revival being stimulated by the heart of the king.

So, Paul tells us we should intercede for "kings and all who are in authority." The ultimate reason is because God "desires all men to be saved," and He can use the influence of leaders to impact nations.

At the same time, it is easy to criticize leaders. Yet, if we do not stand in prayer, how can we criticize them for their sin when we ourselves are disobedient for not praying for them? Do you see this? The purest manifestation of God's living temple on earth is to become a house of prayer for all nations. Obviously, we will often see the need or sin of a leader, but our primary call is to intercede, not criticize. God calls us to pray for that individual.

A few years ago I led our local mayor to Christ. Prior to his conversion, I made a decision to pray for him, even when I thought he was making wrong decisions. I covered him in prayer, interceding for him. Then, miraculously, the Lord opened his heart, and I was there to lead him and his wife into a relationship with Jesus Christ. The impact of a godly mayor was significant, from weekly prayer at the city hall, to lower crime rates and revival in several churches. So, we are called to pray for all who are in authority.

In addition to my regular prayer times, I often wake in the night praying for President Musharraf of Pakistan. Over the past few years, this man has had five assassination attempts upon his life by Muslim radicals (three recently!). He has stood with the West against radical Islam. Should he be killed by extremists, nuclear weapons could possible fall into the hands of terrorists. Yet, God has kept Musharraf alive. I know my prayers played a part in his survival.

I also pray for other leaders. I don't care what nation they rule, I make my appeal to the "King of kings" and the "Lord of lords." Recently, the Lord woke me in the night to pray with increased fervency for President Bush. It is inconceivable for any of us to grasp the pressures on this man: pressures from war, from political opponents (both national and international), from those who hate him simply for his Christian faith and, of course, from hatred that comes directly from the demonic realm against him. As I prayed, I felt an unbelievable weight of anguish, as though there were a spirit named "Anguish" assigned to torment the president in the night.

It is not hard to perceive one might have anguish over war deaths, over decisions past and present and over the possibility of terror attacks. You may not care at all for President Bush, but of all men on earth, he needs our most fervent prayers. Undoubtedly, for better or worse, his position is highly influential.

Lord, we cannot grasp the pressures that might weigh upon America's president. We ask that You would guide him into Your shelter, that he might find rest for his soul in Your bosom. Master, we bind the powers of darkness that would assault the imperfections of this man. Father, we plead the blood of Jesus over his life and family. Lord, may his final two years in office be used by You to help bring repentance to our land. In Jesus' name. Amen.