The late conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh ignited a firestorm back in 2009 when he told listeners he was rooting for the new president to fail. He was incredulous concerning the criticism.

“What is so strange about being honest and saying, I want [him] to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation?” he asked. “Why would I want that to succeed?”

What followed was a long national conversation on what constitutes and defines success. When it comes to policy, it’s often in the eye of the beholder. Social conservatives hold a very different perspective than social liberals, especially when it comes to issues like the sanctity of life, marriage, religious freedom, and parental rights.

As Christians, we’re commanded to pray for our leaders, regardless of party or position. “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,” wrote the apostle Paul to Timothy, “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

But how we pray for our leaders is different than praying and asking the Lord to bring our leaders’ plans and policies to fruition.

As we lift up elected and appointed officials in all three branches of government, here are some ways to pray:

For Wisdom and Discernment

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you,” advised James (1:5). There are plenty of clear moral choices in government, but there are also significant areas where the way forward is a bit murkier. We need leaders who are wise, thoughtful, and clear-headed.

For Truth and Clarity:

We desperately need leaders who value human life and are committed to preserving and protecting it at all ages and stages. Strong nations are led by righteous individuals who are not blown about by the spirit of the age. 

For Grace and Gentleness

The strongest leaders are humble, selfless, and gracious. “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,” counseled Jesus (Matthew 20:26).

For Boldness and Courage

We live in a time hungry for heroic, unwavering, and unapologetic leaders. Despite censors who may want to silence people of faith or those who champion Constitutional principles, we need those who won’t back down or wilt when the woke mob tries to rise up.

For Peace and Impartiality

Social conservatives have often been accused of starting the so-called “Culture War” – but nothing could be farther from the truth. For decades now, radical revolutionaries have worked tirelessly to upend multi-millennia traditions. They’re the instigators and agitators. Instead, we pray that our leaders will respect our deeply held convictions and acknowledge the pluralistic nature of our country.

When things aren’t going our way policy-wise, it might be natural to fret and feel burdened to take things on and make things right ourselves. The Lord uses us and extends to us the privilege of partnering with Him in the battle, but the Psalmist should allay our worries “For kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations”(Psalm 22:28).

So, pray regularly and fervently, not for our leaders to necessarily succeed, but for them to draw and grow closer to God’s will and ways.


Image from Getty.