While Paul’s instructions are to pray for “those in authority” (1 Timothy 2:1-2), and he specifies praying for “kings” the obvious application is anyone who is in any position of authority over us – President, Congress, Supreme Court, Governor, Senators & Representatives, County, Parish and Local Officials, and Law Enforcement Officers. The benefit of such prayer is that through their wise rule, and under their protection, we might have “a quiet and peaceable life.” Christians are to be peaceful and orderly; and ask of the rulers, that they may not be harassed in the enjoyment of their rights. In the Old Testament the Jews were commanded, and forced, to pray for their heathen rulers (Ezra 6:10; Jer 29:7). Later, the Jews, by Augustus’ order, offered a lamb daily for the Roman emperor. The Jews reached a point where they wanted no more of this. All they wanted from those in authority is what we want: protection that allows us the freedom to live in peace, not just with our fellow-man, but with our enemies, and rescue when we get in trouble. To this end, we pray “for those in authority.” Paul confirms, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” (I Timothy 1:3).
Dan Crawford, Senior Professor at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, is the WestCoast Baptist Association’s Spiritual Life & Leadership Mentor. Follow Dan on Twitter @DrDanRC and Facebook www.facebook.com/dan.crawford.