First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 1 Timothy 2:1–6
Why should we pray for our leaders? So the economy will prosper? So we can bear arms? So our taxes won’t be high? Should we pray for our leaders so we don’t have to pay so much for health care? So that gas prices won’t be so high?
This may surprise you, but the reason we should pray for our leaders is so that people will be saved. Here is Paul’s line of thought in 1 Timothy: I urge you to pray for your leaders so you will enjoy peace and the gospel will spread and so people will be saved and come to know the truth: the gospel of God’s mediator Jesus Christ.
Paul links peacetime and salvation together: people leading peaceful and quiet lives is pleasing to God because he desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
It is much easier to spread the gospel in times of peace than when nations are distracted and consumed by times of chaos and war. In our nation there were revivals before both the American Revolution and the Civil War. I’m sure that people were saved during both those wars, but not in the same large numbers before them.
God tells us to pray for our leaders because God desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. It is fine to care about politics, and God calls many believers to be involved in politics, but he never wants us to lose focus on his kingdom and his desire to save multitudes.
So, let’s pray for our leaders—that God will give them wisdom and cause them to promote life and righteousness and peace. And let’s ask God to use the times of peace he gives our nation to draw multitudes to himself and that millions will come to know Jesus Christ the mediator between God and man.
Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter. Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.