In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, the Apostle Paul instructs us to pray for “all men,” but especially for those “that are in authority.” Why does Paul single out “kings and all that are in authority”? Is it because God cares more about the powerful than the populace? Absolutely not! Since God is “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), there is no difference in His eyes between potentates and peasants.
The reason the Bible specifically exhorts us to pray for those in authority is because they hold such sway over the quality of life in our society. It is not because they have some special favor with God, but because they have such influence over our way of life.
According to Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” If we will clasp our hands in prayer for those in authority, then, God, who holds their hearts in His hand, will sway them to keep our society “quiet and peaceable.” In such a society, Christians can best practice their faith, publicly worship their Lord, and propagate their land with the gospel. As Paul plainly points out, this is the purpose for praying for those in authority; namely, that our society will be open and free so that all within it will have an opportunity “to come to the knowledge of the truth” and “be saved.”
Where is it easier for sinners to learn of Christ and be saved, in a Muslim land where Christianity is prohibited and Christians are persecuted, in a Communist country where the church is outlawed and the preaching of the gospel criminalized, or in a free society where the church is permitted to practice and proclaim its faith? Obviously, it is in a free society. This explains why it is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” for us to pray that God will sway those in authority to keep our society “quiet and peaceable.”
Contrary to popular opinion, God is not concerned with politics, but with the preaching of the gospel. Although God cares for political leaders, He cares just as much for their constituency. God wants all men, from the White House to your house, to have an opportunity to hear the gospel and be saved. Therefore, it is for the salvation of lost souls, not for the blessing of bureaucrats, that the church is instructed to pray for government officials.
I praise you O God our Savior, for you hold the hearts of kings in your hand. I pray that you will keep our society free, quiet, and peaceable by turning the hearts of all in authority whithersoever you will. Use those in authority to keep the gospel from being silenced in our land so that all men will have an opportunity to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. Amen.