Prayers for those in Authority
The exhortation to pray for those in authority is set out clearly in
1 Timothy 2: 1-4 - Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
A position with authority and power
When it comes to praying for authorities, we should not confuse the office with the person in that office.
says Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. The Greek word translated 'authority' is 'exousia' and means 'authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength'.
But Mark 10: 42, for example, uses the word 'authority' in a different sense. But Jesus called them (his disciples) to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them." Here, the word translated 'authority' is 'katesousiazo' and means to 'exercise authority'. There is a difference between a position of authority to which authority and power are ascribed and the exercising of that authority.
An appointment to a position of authority
When someone is appointed or elected to a position of authority they are then responsible for the way they exercise that authority and power. The level of authority and how it is to be used is usually clearly defined. How they exercise that authority is another question. The authority and power wielded by someone in a position of authority stops outside the position. When they leave that position they may still have influence but no power or authority to go with it.
Whatever our personal opinions may be about those in positions of authority, there are no exceptions given when it comes to praying for them. We are exhorted to pray for all. The scriptures tell us that this will lead to being able to 'lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence'. What a promise! More than that, and most important of all, we are being obedient to the Word of God.
FIRST OF ALL pray for those in authority
Many of our activities in church life are geared to helping people meet with the Lord and develop in their Christian experience. In so doing that they will find an answer to their area of need whatever it may be. These needs are right before us but they are not the first matter for which we should pray. We are instructed to pray for those in authority first of all. As we pray for them, there is a divine influence on affairs where those in authority have power.
Has a great opportunity to bring the Lord into national, community and/or local affairs been missed? As we pray for those who are in positions of authority, a door of opportunity is being opened that many more may come to know about Jesus as Saviour and Lord. We are touching national situations that affect how we live on a day to day basis and how we are able to express our Christian faith. Isn't this why Jesus came?
SO LET US PRAY FOR THOSE IN AUTHORITY