Praying for Our Leaders
In the book of Daniel we are told about King Nebuchadnezzar who ruled over Babylon about 600 years B.C. He was an interesting fellow, who seemed to have a bit of a wild, prideful temperament, but also a soft heart and one that God was ultimately able to use for His glory.
Recapping the story, Daniel was exiled to Babylon and chosen to serve as a slave in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Not long after, Daniel had the opportunity to interpret the King’s dream, to which Nebuchadnezzar replied:
The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel 2:47-48
In the next chapter we read that Nebuchadnezzar set up a huge golden idol and required everyone to worship it. Daniel refused, and was then put into the fiery furnace where God miraculously saved him and his friends, much to the king’s joy (Daniel 3:28-30). Following this, Daniel interpreted a second dream for the king, one where God was going to ordain something very painful and yet very important in Nebuchadnezzar’s life. With Nebuchadnezzar’s pride at its peak, God humiliated him in front of everyone:
“Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers, and his nails were like birds' claws. Daniel 4:30-33
What’s so fascinating is that in the next verse we get a first-person report from Nebuchadnezzar, as he comes to his senses, truly repents, and praises the sovereign God Most High. He learned his lesson, turned to God, and I’ll go so far to say we will likely one day meet Nebuchadnezzar in heaven.
It’s stories like these that remind us to earnestly pray for our leaders, especially those in power over our country. They are given enormous responsibilities and will be held accountable for decisions made in those positions (Rom 14:12). It is our duty and calling to pray for them to be saved and to have wisdom in leading our nation toward God (2 Chron 7:14, 1 Tim 2:1-4, Rom 13:1). It is not for us to decide if a person is worthy to be saved or even prayed for – that’s God’s business. It’s just our job to pray for them and hope that even those who are vehemently opposed to Christ and full of pride right now will one day see the error of their ways and turn to Him in repentance, all to the glory of God.