For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 2 Timothy 2:2
On the topic of prayer Paul instructs Timothy to pray for those in authority—pray for government and political leaders. The culture of Paul’s day worshipped and prayed to leaders, however Christians were to pray for them, not to them. Therefore, Christians were seen as rebellious and unsupportive of government. But nothing could be further from the truth, as Christians understood the biblical and important role of God-ordained government.
Romans 13:3 tells us that “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.” Romans 13 goes on to state that government is designed to be a minister of God and to carry out righteousness in His name. When this happens we more readily render our taxes and duties to a righteous government.
However, we have a problem! Government tends to move from serving God to thinking it is God. Many would say that’s where our nation is today. In Paul’s day government was wicked, arrogant, and oppressive. So Paul says, PRAY! Pray for what? When government is oppressive we must pray that it will leave us alone so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. We should pray that government will simply do its job—to be a servant of God and carry out His righteousness. It is not government’s job to favor one class of people over another or even care for the poor, for that job belongs to the church (perhaps that’s why government stepped in where it has no business because the church stepped out). It is not even government’s job to educate children—that’s the role of parents and the church. It’s not government’s job to ensure fairness, nor equality, but rather to protect freedom and these issues will take care of themselves.
If a government is operating biblically, there should be very little interaction with its citizens unless the law has been broken, for military operations or taxes are being collected. When governments over step their bounds and venture into unbiblical territory, then peace among the citizens is disturbed and godliness and honesty break down.
It is vitally important that we pray for our leaders whether we agree with them or not—for we are seeing the results of government this has become increasingly hostile to its God-given purpose of carrying out God’s righteousness. PRAY!