Respect and Pray for Those in Authority

Entering a room in the intensive care unit, I introduced myself as the hospital chaplain, and the very sick woman in the bed raised her hand as if to physically push me away and boldly proclaimed, “I don’t believe the Bible, and I don’t believe in God.”

Many of our elected officials may feel the same way. They may want to push us away. They may or may not welcome our prayers on their behalf, but it does not change our responsibility to pray for them.

Pause now to read Romans 13:1–8 and then consider these motivations to pray:

  1. If we are to submit to elected officials, then we must pray for them. Our call to submit should motivate us to pray (Rom. 13:1a). History tells us that God works through events and circumstances to bring about His will in His way. God did not overthrow pagan leaders in the first century—even when Christians were persecuted. Paradoxically and historically, the persecution of the saints has ushered in revival.
  2. Difficult circumstances prove our faith real. Our choice to honor the authorities over us brings glory to God (Rom. 13:1b–2).
  3. An eternal perspective means we need not fear the authorities (Rom 13:3a) but can be fearful for them. Without Christ, even a good leader will perish.
  4. We are commanded to pay what is owed. Paul specifically lists taxes, revenue, respect, and honor. When our leaders are corrupt, selfish, ambitious, opportunistic, prideful, or even evil, it means we must pray even more. Only with the Holy Spirit is it possible to release honor and respect. Given that list, paying taxes is the easy part (Rom. 13:7).
  5. As Christ followers, we are forever in debt to fellow Christians (loving one another) and to “fellowman” (loving others) (Rom. 13:8). Who is God calling you to love today? No better way exists to love someone or to stir up love for someone than to pray for that person.

Here’s a challenge: Choose 1 leader to pray for, asking God to provide His love and His perspective on that leader’s life. Then consider these ideas for loving this official practically and tangibly:

  • Highlight several key verses in a new Bible and present it as a gift.
  • Scout the newspaper or Internet for specific legislation or decisions so you can pray specifically.
  • Periodically, copy or print a key verse onto a notecard and mail with an encouraging note.
  • Send cards on special days: birthday, Christmas, Easter, and the Fourth of July.
  • Encourage others in your missions group to do the same. And invite these leaders to a church service for recognition, honor, and prayer.

Are you ready to respect and pray for those in authority? Would you pray God’s blessing over them, asking the Spirit of God to take the Word of God and bring light and life? Though they may initially rebuff your acts of kindness, we must obey God and trust in His timing. As we do what we can do, we trust Him to do what only He can do!

Laura Macfarlan knows prayer is powerful and effective. Connect with her at

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