What do we owe a President?

 By Denny Burk

At the end of a bitterly fought election season, it is good for us Christians to consider what we owe a president. At the very least, we owe our president a commitment to pray for him. In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Paul writes:

1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Verse 2 specifies the kinds of people Paul wants Timothy and his congregation to pray for: “kings and all who are in high positions.” This phrase obviously refers to the governing authorities in their Roman imperial context. Nevertheless, the command to pray applies to all Christians who answer to governing authorities. We must pray for them because our leaders can implement policies and enact laws that either protect Christians or make them a target for unjust treatment. That is why Paul says that Christians must pray for this purpose: “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

The term translated as “peaceful” means quiet and tranquil, “untroubled from without.” For this reason, Christians must pray that their president might lead in a way that keeps Christian churches safe from mistreatment—from the kind of suffering and persecution that tempts believers to be unfaithful to Christ. Because of the royal law that we must love our neighbors as ourselves, we extend this prayer in behalf of everyone (James 2:8). We pray that our President would make it his business to see that no person be treated unjustly (Rom. 13:1-7).


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