Do You Pray For The President As Much As You Complain About Him?

Complaining about our leaders seems to be a national pastime.

Interesting how Jesus never complained about the wicked Roman government of his day. He certainly had opportunity. When he was asked, “Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” he didn’t start ranting, “Caesar? Pay taxes to that idiot? I wouldn’t give him a widow’s mite if I could get away with it.” Instead, he said, ““Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (MT 22: 17,21).

God commands us to honor our leaders, not grumble about them.

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 PE 2.17

Note, Peter didn’t say honor the emperor if he is a good man or worthy of honor. He didn’t say honor the emperor if you agree with him or you think he’s doing a good job. He simply said, “Honor the emperor.”

We tread on dangerous ground when we call the President a “fool”

Psalm 14:1 tells us “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” Proverbs warns us again and again about the danger of being a biblical “fool” or evil person. So without a doubt the Bible recognizes that many are fools. But Jesus had a strong warning about calling someone a fool.

Whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. MT 5.22

John MacArthur says:

Because of the testimony of God’s Word, we know that fools of the worst sort do exist. And it is our obligation to warn those who are clearly in opposition to God’s will that they are living foolishly. We certainly are not wrong to show someone what Scripture says about a person who rejects God. Jesus’ prohibition is against slanderously calling a person a fool out of anger and hatred. Such an expression of malicious animosity is tantamount to murder and makes us guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

He goes on to say:

To call a person a fool is the same as cursing him and murdering him, and to be guilty of that sin is to be worthy of the eternal punishment of fiery hell. (Read MacArthur’s full post here).

Not only is it dangerous to badmouth our leaders, but beyond that let me ask this question:

Do you pray for our President and our leaders as much as you complain about them?

God commands us to pray for our leaders with all kinds of prayers:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 TI 2:1-4

Look at all the ways we are to pray for all people, including “all who are in high positions”: with “supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings.” Do you thank God for our President and leaders? God commands us to thank him – for “ALL who are in high positions.” Do you do this? Do you supplicate, pray for and intercede?

3 reasons WHY we should pray for our leaders:

First “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” This is what we want our leaders to give us right? This is why we vote, and why people run for office. That we might have decent lives. Grumbling and complaining about the government isn’t going to produce a peaceful and quiet life for us. Cursing the President isn’t going to lead to us leading godly, dignified lives.

Secondly, praying for our leaders “is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” It is more important that we please our God and Savior than having great leaders. I may not agree with our leaders. I may think they are doing a terrible job. But I want to please my God and Savior. So I’ll pray for my leaders.

Thirdly, interceding for our government is critical because God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” When we pray for our leaders, it leads to peaceful, quiet lives, which give us more opportunities to share the gospel and people to be saved. So ultimately it is critical to pray for our leaders for the sake of the spread of the gospel.

Sure, we don’t like our taxes going up. We don’t like spending more on healthcare for less benefits. But do my taxes even compare to peace and the gospel advancing? Go ahead and pray for lower taxes. Pray for God to give our leaders wisdom with the economy. Vote. Get involved in politics if God calls you to do that. But don’t complain about our government. Don’t call your leaders idiots. Pray for them. Pray that God would move upon our leaders to work for righteousness and life. And don’t forget Proverbs 21:1

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.”

So let’s pray that God would turn our leaders’ hearts to lead us into peace, so that more and more people might be saved.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.