Political changes in the world occur so rapidly that the names of leaders have generally not been included in the text for individual countries. Yet these leaders need prayer, as the Scriptures exhort us (1 Samuel 12:23, 1 Timothy 2:1-4). As pressures on world leaders increase, so do the uncertainties and dangers in the 21st Century. The ones who lead us need special prayer. Pray specifically for good and just rulers to be raised up. In many instances in history, God has used rulers, whether believers or not, to accomplish His purposes on Earth. Take, for example, Cyrus in the Persian Empire. Neither the collapse of Communism nor the spread of democratic governmental systems has ended tyrannies, autocratic power-seekers or corrupt, greedy dictators. Pray that those who are unfit to rule their lands may repent and change (as did Nebuchadnezzar) – or be removed (as were Pharaoh and Belshazzar).
Those who face major crises. The challenges facing 21st-Century leaders are of an altogether different nature from those of even 50 years ago. As the world becomes more interconnected, crises of many kinds - economic, political, ecological, demographic, military and others - trouble our nations with accelerating frequency. Pray for courage to make right decisions, however unpopular. Compromise of ideals and failure to take decisive action in order to maintain popularity or power are ever-present temptations.
Those who give just and godly leadership, many of whom are committed Christians. The scrutiny under which many leaders work, combined with the complexity of the challenges before them, make leadership an all-but-impossible task. Leaders make difficult decisions for a majority who may not share their faith. Pray that they may continually stand firm for what is good, moral and just for the nations they rule. Also pray that they neither give way to pressure from those who wish to gain advantage for vested interests, nor push to relax laws that forbid what the Bible clearly names as sin.
Christians to actively promote justice, righteousness, honest government and wise rule for the good of all in their homelands. In too many cultures, Christians either opt out of the political process, allowing wrong people to rule by default, or they compromise, becoming part of the problem.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.