Why it’s imperative to pray for our leaders
By Apostle Frederick K.C. Price

The following is an excerpt from Apostle Price's book, Living in Hostile Territory.

In Acts 4:18-22, the Holy Spirit shows us a situation that every Christian should take to heart. It clearly illustrates why we need to pray for our leaders, and what can happen when we do not.

Far too many Christians have ignored or been ignorant of the fact that we need to pray and intercede for those in authority. It is a covenant right we need to exercise. It is also a spiritual survival skill we must learn to practice, particularly in light of satanic forces that would try to dominate us and stop our witness from going forth.

Before I go any further, however, let me give you a little background to the scriptures we need  to read. Shortly after the day of Pentecost, Peter and John were going into the temple at Jerusalem to pray. There was a lame man begging at the gate called Beautiful, and they healed him in the name of Jesus. The man ran into the temple, leaping and praising God. The people inside the temple knew the man and had undoubtedly seen him many times when they came to pray. Now they rejoiced with the man in what the Lord had done. However, the religious leaders soon got wind of what had happened, and they summoned Peter and John to admonish them.

And they commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

"For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.

For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

We have a dilemma posed in this segment of scripture. That dilemma is this: Do we obey God, or do we obey man. The religious leaders told Peter and John, "Don’t teach the people any more in this name." In other words, they were telling them, "Don’t preach." But Jesus had told Peter and John, along with the other apostles, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15), and Jesus is the head of the Church.

Some of us may have to make a choice like the one before Peter and John. That choice may cost some of us our lives. This is why we as believers desperately need to hold up places like this nation, the United States of America, in prayer. We need to pray for the leaders of this nation on a daily basis. We need to uplift them before God and ask Him to guide them, through the Holy Spirit, to make sound judgments and decisions. Otherwise, the devil will take full advantage of our indifference, just as he has in the past. All we have to do is look around to see that the enemy has been extremely busy.

We have a wonderful, precious opportunity in this country. We can gather together to worship the Lord and study His Word without any fear that the secret police will arrest us. People in countries with more repressive governments do not always have the freedom to proclaim the Gospel. They have been thrown into prison, and some of them have even died there.

Picture this situation: You walk out the door of the church. Someone walks up to you, and puts a gun to your head. The person says, "You have two choices: No more preaching or speaking about Jesus, or go to prison for the rest of your life." I really do not ever want to be in a situation where I have to make a choice like that. Do you?

Why Can’t God Just Do It?

As I just mentioned, we need to pray and lift up our leaders. That way, we can make sure not to fall into situations like the one I have just illustrated. Some people may wonder, "Why can’t God just act on our behalf if He cares that much about the situation? After all, He knows what is going on down here." Of course, God knows.  But He cannot act independent of our asking Him to intercede. It is not a case that God does not want to help us if we do not ask. It is a case that He cannot. For God to act on our benefit, we have to enable Him.

When Adam sinned, he gave legal control and ownership of this planet to Satan. That action locked God out of the earth realm, and made Satan the god of this world. The only way God could re-enter the earth realm to act on man’s behalf was by having us invite or ask Him to do so.

Remember that when God made Adam, He formed him from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). We are of this planet, so this is our home. That is why we can invite our heavenly Father into the earth realm to work in our interest. The way we invite God is through prayer. Inviting God allows Him, by His Spirit, to move on our behalf. It enables Him to move on governments on behalf of His people.

Because it is our responsibility to enable God to help us, Paul gives us some very important instructions in the thirteenth chapter of Romans. We need to read these instructions very carefully. Otherwise, we will misconstrue what Paul is writing to us, and we will miss out on a very important principle. In Romans 13:1, we read:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

What exactly is Paul saying in this verse? I believe Paul is saying that God has appointed the authorities.  In other words, He has appointed the offices of government on a local, state, and national level. For example, I believe that God has appointed the police force. I am not saying that God has appointed a particular person to be a police officer. What I mean is that God has appointed that there be an organization that operates as a police force. Without a police force, we cannot have an orderly society.

Our heavenly Father has appointed the offices of government. However, it is up to us to help maintain government in an orderly and godly fashion. Many times, we abdicate our responsibility as Christians. We do not become involved in areas where we can participate. One of those areas, without a doubt, is prayer. But there are also some very important activities in the natural in which we should participate.

One of those activities is voting at election time. The fact that so few Christians go to the polls is shameful, particularly in a country where we can freely vote. We should make it a point to vote in every election. We should also make sure to go before the Lord and seek Him as to whom we should vote. That way, we can make sure to elect officials who will be sensitive to the leading of God.

When we do not vote or pray for our leaders, that gives Satan the opportunity to put corrupt people in positions of government. Those corrupt people then have the opportunity to abuse the privilege of the positions they occupy. Remember that Satan is still the god of this world. He is still in charge of this world system. So even though God has appointed the offices or positions of the authorities that exist, the devil has the power and ability to influence the people placed in those positions. He also has the ability to reward them for listening to him, as well as for acting upon what he suggests.

We are all free moral agents. We can allow the devil to influence us to do evil, just as we can allow God to influence us to do good. So yes, because of satanic influence, and because we do not always pray as we should to let God influence people, there are some corrupt police officers. There are some crooked politicians, and dishonest individuals in other positions of authority. But the police force and other offices of government exist for our benefit. And I will guarantee you that, even with the few "rotten apples" we hear about, not every police officer is rotten. If every police officer were corrupt, we would all be in serious trouble.

Paul goes on to write in Romans 13:2-4:

Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.

For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

Again, I am not saying that God necessarily appoints an individual to be a police officer. I am talking about the police force in general. Now, I believe that God can place the desire in a person’s heart to select a particular career. Granted, there are people who choose a career path simply because of what they can get out of it personally or financially. These people generally do not have the welfare of society in mind when they make their choices. But I believe that, sometimes, the Lord puts it into the hearts of people to make the career choices that they make, because a person needs an anointing to fulfill a particular job.

God’s Law or Man’s Law?

I cannot emphasize this point enough: We need to continue to pray and believe God for a nation like this one. Here, we can practice our Christianity with impunity, and not have to put our lives on the line to worship God or to spread the Gospel. However, when there is a conflict between God’s law and man’s law, then we are going to have to do as Peter and John did in

Acts 4:19-20:

But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

"For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

Jesus had given Peter and John a command, and no command of people can abrogate the command of God. It may cost some of us something to obey God, depending on where we are on this planet. However, we as children of God have a responsibility. We cannot allow anyone to force us to not pray, not read the Bible, or not worship the Lord. We can very easily pay quite dearly to do those things if we are not careful, particularly if we do not become involved in voting and the other little things we can do. If the government takes "little" things like voting away from us, there is no telling how fast the price of prayer and worship can go up.

We can see how the devil and demons have worked through people to erode things little by little, and take God out of the fabric of society. For instance, I believe there should be prayer in the schools. It does not bother me that they do not have it there now, because the people who prayed were not praying right anyway, in terms of those prayers producing any results. However, if the government took away the right to freely pray anywhere, we would have a huge problem on our hands.

The same thing holds true for reading the Bible. We have a command from God to study to show ourselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15). But if the conditions of the world are not right, we may have to pay an awful price to read our Bibles. This is why Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2:1-2:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,

for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

If there are riots in the streets, or a war going on, or the military takes over the government, we will not have any peace. If we do not pray, then the leaders can do only what the devil leads them to do, because we will not have any influence over what happens. We may not be able to go to church, carry a Bible, or dare say we are Christians. So we need to pray, and hold up the leaders of our nation.

Not the Person, but the Office

When we pray for our leaders, we must not to allow any personal likes or dislikes to influence us. We may not necessarily like the individuals who are our leaders. However, we are not praying for the individuals. We are praying for the positions and offices those persons occupy. When we pray, God can speak to those individuals, no matter who they may be. He can influence them regardless of whatever doctrines they may espouse.

In the book of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were taken into slavery. Yet because of their steadfastness, God moved on their behalf. The Lord will cross over 27,000 people to get to one person who will dare to believe Him, and He will do wonderful things for that individual. It therefore behooves us to remain steadfast in building up our leaders through prayer.

We cannot afford to merely sit around, criticizing "those crooks in Washington," or Los Angeles, or wherever. We need to do our part so that God can move upon the offices of government. That way, the rights we enjoy as Christians and citizens can stay in effect. By our actions, we will ensure that we can live quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and reverence.

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