“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.  Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation.  This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.”

I Timothy 2:1-3, The Message

 As Christians and as leaders, most of us are very committed to knowing and doing the will of God—or at least we should be! The truth is, a good portion of God’s will has already been revealed and doesn’t require any further discernment at all.  We know it is God’s will for us to love one another, forgive one another, bear with one another, and speak the truth in love.  We also know we are to care for the poor, seek justice, and visit the sick and imprisoned for “when you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto me”—that is, Christ himself.

There is another aspect of the revealed will of God that is very clear and pertinent to us today: we are to pray for those in leadership, with particular attention to those who rule our nations. And we’re supposed to be doing it a lot.  On this Presidents Day, we have a unique opportunity to do God’s will together by praying for our President and others who are involved in leading our country. For our friends in countries other than the U.S., you can use this as an opportunity to pray for your leaders as well for this is God’s will for us on any day. With gratitude and humility, with care and concern, with high hopes or dark doubts, let us join together in praying specifically for our highest level leaders–presidents, kings, queens, prime ministers, etc.

Let us also pray for our governmental bodies, those who provide the checks and balances of mutually influencing relationships.  Pray alone.  Grab a few friends or colleagues and pray together over lunch. Pray around your dinner table tonight or with your spouse before bed.  Forward this e-mail to your friends and encourage them to join with Christians around the world in doing God’s will today.

The point is—don’t just think about praying.  Don’t just pontificate about the issues that need prayer or whatever you think is right or wrong about our current situation.  Today just make it a point to actually pray on Presidents Day.  Whether you love our president or not…whether you agree with his policies and positions or disagree…whether you feel hope for our country or despair…the one thing we know for sure is that we are to pray for our president and for those who lead with him.

So let’s do it! Let us pursue God’s will together by praying for our president today.  Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.


Prayers of Intercession on Presidents Day, 2014

[If you are praying with a group, the leader can read the prayers written in lower case, and then allow a moment of silence for quiet affirmation.  The leader then closes that section by saying Lord, in your mercy…and the group agrees together by saying the words in caps–HEAR OUR PRAYER. You may also wish to alternate readers and simply have people take turns reading each section.]


Sovereign God, in obedience to Your Word, we join together this Presidents Day with one heart and one mind in prayer and intercession for our president, Barack Obama. (Silence)
Lord, in your mercy…HEAR OUR PRAYER.

We ask that, in Your great mercy, You would grant our president exceeding wisdom in these crucial days. Give him a spirit of wisdom and knowledge of Yourself this day. (Silence)
Lord in your mercy…HEAR OUR PRAYER.

We ask that his eyes might be enlightened and that he may know what is the hope of his calling, the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and the exceeding greatness of Your power to all who believe—including him. (Silence)
Lord in your mercy…HEAR OUR PRAYER.

We ask that the fear of the Lord would rest upon this administration, that Your sovereign hand would guide the president and his cabinet in all their negotiations. We pray for YOUR purposes to be furthered, for YOUR plan to be accomplished, for YOUR strategies and YOUR wisdom to prevail. (Silence)
Lord in your mercy…HEAR OUR PRAYER.

We pray for a visitation of your Spirit in the president’s night hours and for a revelation of your Presence in his waking hours… that as he endures the pressures and challenges of his office, he would be driven to trust in You as his mighty fortress, he would find refuge and comfort under Your wings, and he would seek Your face before he seeks human wisdom. (Silence)
Lord, in your mercy…HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Lord God, you have placed upon the president’s shoulders a mantle of leadership. By your Holy Spirit, give him the discernment to recognize and resist evil. Grant him the courage to lead with justice and the grace to rule under God.  May he know Your heart and Your mind regarding the important issues of our day. (Silence)
Lord, in your mercy…HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Holy One, as members of the body of Christ, we commit ourselves to continue lifting him up in prayer faithfully and fervently. May we consistently petition heaven on our president’s behalf and may we also petition our president on YOUR behalf.

[Here, a longer silence may be observed with an invitation to spoken prayers and petitions.]
Lord, in your mercy…HEAR OUR PRAYER. 

Lord Jesus Christ, we ask for divine protection and blessing over our president’s family, his marriage and his physical life. Preserve him from being cut off prematurely; protect him and his family from sinister schemes. May he run the race that that is laid out for him in this time and in this place, looking to you as the author and finisher of his faith. (Silence)
Lord, in your mercy…HEAR OUR PRAYER.

©Ruth Haley Barton. 2014. Not to be reproduced without permission. 

Ruth Haley Barton (Doctor of Divinity, Northern Seminary) is founder of the Transforming Center. A teacher, spiritual director, and retreat leader, she is the author of numerous books and resources on the spiritual life including Pursuing God’s Will Together, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Sacred Rhythms, and Invitation to Solitude and Silence.

Share this article: