Someone recently asked me, “How should we respond to this president?” From the question, I could not tell if the person making the inquiry voted for the person who currently occupies the White House or not. And, if I did know, it wouldn’t matter. My answer would be the same. We are to pray for our leaders.
When I say “pray for our leaders,” I do not mean pray “against” them. If one wants to see a prayer against someone, one can look to Psalm 109. This is called an “imprecatory Psalm.” But I don’t think that is the type of prayer that one should pray, even if the person or persons are our enemies.
Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:1–4, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior …”
When the Israelites of the Old Testament were in captivity in Babylon, they were instructed to, “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).
And then there is this: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)
For those of us who are believers, the biblical record is quite clear: we are to pray for our leaders whatever their political party.
Each Sunday in church, we join in this, or a similar, prayer: “We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world.” And, yes, that includes the United States and, yes, it includes President Donald J. Trump. Before that, it included President Barack H. Obama and, before that, it included President George W. Bush. If Mrs. Clinton had won the 2016 election, we would be praying for her.
I have little sympathy for people who complain about leadership but, for whatever reason, reject the clear biblical mandate to pray for our leaders. I suppose that it is easier for some to gripe, complain, whine, protest, loot, riot, and generally cause a ruckus. But this kind of behavior does not accomplish the work or the will of God.
There is a great deal of anger in the nation, perhaps more than since the 1960s. Non-Christians cannot be expected to behave in a manner that is Christ-like, although many non-believers come closer to it than some believers. But for Christians, certain behaviors are not appropriate. And anger is generally considered a sin.
That’s how we should respond to the president — we should pray for him (or her, when that day comes). Murmuring, cursing, complaining, and always finding fault does no one, including the nation, any good.
And pray for the president as you would your own son, brother, or father. He, or she, is not the enemy. He, or she, is the President of the United States of America. And that person deserves our prayers.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]