As part of a global Christian community, we should care about all leaders in the world, not just the ones where we live. While I’m an American myself, I’m writing this post for Christians worldwide. No matter who you are or where you live, it’s important to pray for our leaders.
Which Leaders Need Our Prayers?
I’m publishing this the same week of the presidential inauguration, ending former President Donald Trump’s presidency and beginning President Joe Biden’s presidency. However, Christians need to consider more than just government leaders in our prayers. Leadership doesn’t always involve elected officials, or people in obvious positions of power.
Pray for Government Leaders
Government leaders need our prayers. Think both globally and locally. Here are just a few examples of government leaders to include in your prayers.
- country presidents and prime ministers
- state/region leaders like governors
- state/region leaders like senators, representatives, and members of Parliament
- United Nations delegates
- royal families
- local leaders like mayors
- local leaders like city/council/school board members
- civil servants like police chiefs, sheriffs, judges, and district attorneys
Pray for Community Leaders
While some community leaders are elected officials, many are leaders through their jobs or their volunteer work. Think about your local community. Who do you admire, personally? Who serves the community through volunteer work? Here are just a few examples of community leaders to include in your prayers.
- church pastors (not just at your own church)
- school superintendent
- school principals and vice-principals
- chairpersons of local nonprofits
- local business owners
- president/chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce
- local newspaper editor
- local news anchor/journalist
Pray for Church Leaders
I listed church pastors under community leaders because all local pastors influence their community. When praying specifically for church leaders, however, focus on your own church community. Think beyond leaders with official titles. In a church, many leaders work behind-the-scenes through servant leadership. Here are just a few examples of church leaders to include in your prayers.
- spouses of pastors/ministers
- director of Christian education
- youth leader
- Sunday School teachers
- Bible Study teachers
- prayer circle leaders
- nursery volunteers
- choir director
- administrative staff
Pray for Family Leaders
Family leaders are so important, but also incredibly personal to your particular family. When praying for your family’s leaders, think about your birth family and your chosen family. As applicable, extend your prayers to your in-laws, your close friends, and other members of your family. Here a just a few examples of family leaders to include in your prayers.
- aunts and uncles
- great-aunts and uncles
- your parents’ best friends
- adult children
What Does the Bible Say About Praying for Our Leaders?
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.1 Timothy 2:1-4
1 Timothy is the first Bible passage quoted in every article I read about praying for leaders. This is clear instruction to Christians that we should pray for everyone, including government leaders.
Note these Bible verses don’t give any caveats about which government leaders need our prayers. We should pray for all of them, even when we disagree with them, even when they aren’t from “our” political party.
“All who are in high positions.” Not just political leaders, but all leaders need our prayers!
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.Romans 13:1
After the insurrection at the capitol, many Christian leaders quoted from Romans 13:1-7. They pointed out that biblical scholars don’t always agree on how Christians should apply Romans 13 to our lives, but a violent uprising against the government clearly goes against God’s word.
However we interpret Romans 13:1, we should pray that authorities are instituted by God. We should pray that authorities follow God’s will.
How to Pray for Our Leaders
If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.James 1:5
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.Colossians 3:12
When I am praying for my leaders, I always come back to two primary traits: wisdom and compassion.
I want all leaders to lead with wisdom and compassion. I constantly ask God to enrich my leaders with these two traits.
If you are looking for a detailed example of prayers for leaders, I recommend Arabah Joy’s website. She breaks down prayers for leaders like this:
- Petition (ask)
- Intercession (Kingdom advancement)
- Give thanks
Read more about these simple ways to pray for leaders on her website!
Scriptures to Pray for Our Leaders
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.Colossians 3:16
Christians have two primary benefits to praying scripture: the power and the ease of praying God’s word.
I don’t always know what to pray. Praying scripture can help. Plus, using God’s word in prayer is so powerful! We can better ready our hearts and focus our prayers by beginning with scripture.
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
Happy are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord.
Happy are those who keep his decrees,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways.
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
A king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a vain hope for victory,
and by its great might it cannot save.
Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
to deliver their soul from death,
and to keep them alive in famine.
My child, if you accept my words
and treasure up my commandments within you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
if you indeed cry out for insight,
and raise your voice for understanding;
if you seek it like silver,
and search for it as for hidden treasures—
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk blamelessly,
guarding the paths of justice
and preserving the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
prudence will watch over you;
and understanding will guard you.
It will save you from the way of evil,
from those who speak perversely,
who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil;
those whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.
Proverbs 11: 10-11, 14, 17-20, 24-26
When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices;
and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.
By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
Where there is no guidance, a nation falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Those who are kind reward themselves,
but the cruel do themselves harm.
The wicked earn no real gain,
but those who sow righteousness get a true reward.
Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,
but whoever pursues evil will die.
Crooked minds are an abomination to the Lord,
but those of blameless ways are his delight.
Some give freely, yet grow all the richer;
others withhold what is due, and only suffer want.
A generous person will be enriched,
and one who gives water will get water.
The people curse those who hold back grain,
but a blessing is on the head of those who sell it.
Proverbs 14: 15-16, 21-23
The simple believe everything,
but the clever consider their steps.
The wise are cautious and turn away from evil,
but the fool throws off restraint and is careless.
Those who despise their neighbors are sinners,
but happy are those who are kind to the poor.
Do they not err that plan evil?
Those who plan good find loyalty and faithfulness.
In all toil there is profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.
Proverbs 21: 1, 5, 13, 15, 21
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
he turns it wherever he will.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.
If you close your ear to the cry of the poor,
you will cry out and not be heard.
When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous,
but dismay to evildoers.
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
will find life and honor.
With God are wisdom and strength;
he has counsel and understanding.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Blessed be the name of God from age to age,
for wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons,
deposes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and light dwells with him.
Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Final Thoughts on Praying for Our Leaders
I hope this blog post encourages you to pray for your leaders! All Christians should pray for our leaders. We should look beyond our differences and focus on what we can do for the glory of God.
My next blog post on Muddling Through Together will be detailed prayer prompts for leaders. Like my other 31 Days of Prayer posts, these prayer prompts will help you pray daily.
I’ve also created an additional resource you can download today to start praying for your leaders. This 3-day prayer guide includes Bible readings, prayer prompts, and sample prayers. You will also gain immediate access to the entire library of Faith Freebies!
Which leaders do you include in your daily prayers? If you’re new to praying for leaders, how do you plan to begin?