As we “discern the times” amidst the turmoil in the world today, one thing that becomes very clear is our need to pray for our leaders.
Most of us are familiar with the passage in 1 Timothy:
1 Timothy 2:1-2 “First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, (2) even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”
There are of course many ways to understand this mandate. But my understanding is based on John Calvin, who understood the interface between spiritual reality—the Kingdom of God—and the human institutions of government.
Here are a few paragraphs from Calvin’s commentary on I Timothy 2:2. (I have put in bold some of the verses that seem especially relevant.)
“Vs 2 For kings He expressly mentions kings and other magistrates because, more than all others, they might be hated by Christians. All the magistrates who existed at that time were so many sworn enemies of Christ; and therefore this thought might occur to them, that they ought not to pray for those who devoted all their power and all their wealth to fight against the kingdom of Christ, the extension of which is above all things desirable. The apostle meets this difficulty, and expressly enjoins Christians to pray for them also. And, indeed, the depravity of men is not a reason why God’s ordinance should not be loved. Accordingly, seeing that God appointed magistrates and princes for the preservation of mankind, however much they fall short of the divine appointment, still we must not on that account cease to love what belongs to God, and to desire that it may remain in force. That is the reason why believers, in whatever country they live, must not only obey the laws and the government of magistrates, but likewise in their prayers supplicate God for their salvation. Jeremiah said to the Israelites, ‘Pray for the peace of Babylon, for in their peace ye shall have peace.’ (Jeremiah 29:7) The universal doctrine is this, that we should desire the continuance and peaceful condition of those governments which have been appointed by God.
That we may lead a peaceful and quiet life By exhibiting the advantage, he holds out an additional inducement, for he enumerates the fruits which are yielded to us by a well regulated government. The first is a peaceful life; for magistrates are armed with the sword, in order to keep us in peace. If they did not restrain the hardihood of wicked men, every place would be full of robberies and murders. The true way of maintaining peace, therefore, is, when everyone obtains what is his own, and the violence of the more powerful is kept under restraint… (Commentary on Timothy, Titus, and Philemon).”
I believe that it is the role of all Christians to pray for their government leaders. We are called to engage in this work of prayer and intercession whether we voted for them or not, or think they are good people or not.
Until the coming of perfect government in the return of Jesus Christ, they will all be flawed, fallen, sinful human beings. I think Calvin above gives some very cogent reasons for this need to pray for earthly leaders.
Further, according to my reformed biblical faith and my prophetic and apostolic calling, this call to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as an intercessor includes engaging in every sphere of reality: from the spiritual to the political. Our role as intercessors is to undertake, with Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the mission of transforming every dimension of human life according to the vision of the Kingdom of God.
As intercessors, that puts us right in the middle of the messy realities of the fallen sinful world in which there are no perfect people and only terrible choices between clashing lesser evils and imperfect goods.
We recognize that this project will only be completed at the end of time with the return of Christ. Until then, we are called in the messy but extraordinarily exciting “between the times.”
This means that we are to move beyond having opinions about politics or even voting a particular way, to actually stepping into the particular places to which we are called. This means discerning what Jesus is telling us to do in order to cooperate with Him in each of those “battle spaces.”
What is Your Particular Place of Intercession?
How is God calling you to pray for those in authority? Is it daily petitions on behalf of those in local, regional and national government? Does it extend to leaders of other nations? Is it an individual call or are you to gather with a group of people who intercede together?
Ask the Lord how you are to respond to Paul’s call to prayer. For some it will be the call from the Holy Spirit to serve as a prayer shield and intercessor for a particular leader.
As you respond, some feel called to step into high-level intercession and spiritual warfare. If this is you, I recommend an online equipping course that Martin Boardman and Mary Ellen Conners are facilitating called Cohort Basics. (Want to learn what a cohort is? Click here)
As an example, I am going to share my particular place of intercession and ask who else may be being given a similar calling.
For me, Jesus called me into praying for government, political, military, cultural, and spiritual leaders to be raised up in both the United Kingdom as well as the United States who have the four characteristics I had determined were necessary for defeating the two-fold attack on Western Culture coming from demonic strongholds based on Islam and Liberal Progressivism.
I was also called to pray that the dangers of Satan building strongholds of despotic reactionary conservatism that are inherent within the Populist movements representing the British Exit from the EU and Trump’s election victory would be exposed and defeated. I continued to receive other guidance as to how to pray.
At this time the Lord has called me to be a prayer shield for President Trump and his administration. I am also led to get the word out and ask if the Holy Spirit has given others a similar call. To begin to help you discern whether you are called to this, see the video below:
Those called as intercessors for President Trump and his administration will be stepping into a number of overlapping battles spaces which include the spiritual realm as well as the human and political. In each of those battle spaces there are major clashes taking place between the plans of Satan and the plans of God.
If you say yes to this invitation, you will need to decide whether you are willing to pay the cost this will require. We will also need strong prayer support for protection from Satan’s attacks, and help to avoid being deceived.
This is where the purpose of cohorts emerges. When we engage in this type of intercession, we must work together as we will need the support and discernment offered by each other.
If you would like to form or join a cohort focused on a particular subject such as intercession for Trump or your national leaders, the persecuted Church, or first-nation peoples, please contact Martin Boardman. He is assembling and supporting cohorts in his work as Prayer Mobilizer.
Some of you may well be called to serve in the Aaron and Hur roles of supporting those of us who are called into those particular spheres of intercession. Please listen to the Holy Spirit!
Let’s keep in touch and support each other in these multi-dimension places (battlespaces) as we are obedient to God’s call to prayer.
With Martin Boardman and the Discernment Team
Learn More: Presbyterian-Reformed Ministries International