In Matt 22:34-40, Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to, “love God with all of your heart, soul, and strength” (Deut 6:4-5), and “love your neighbor as yourself (Lev 19:18). 1 Tim 2:1-8 says to pray for all people and give thanks for them, including those in governmental authority. In verse 8 Paul says to do this “free from anger and controversy”. The government itself is an institution from God that exists to keep peace in order and it’s for our benefit according to Romans 13:1-7. However, it is made up of fallible and corrupt humans so we must pray for them.
1 Tim 2:1 (NLT) I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. 7 And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth. 8 In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.
The definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says: Love is patient, kind, not jealous nor boastful, not proud nor rude. Love is not demanding, nor irritable, nor does it keep track of being wrong. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
This means praying for all politicians whether you agree with them or not. In Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 6:26-36 Jesus said to bless and pray for those who abuse and persecute you, but before he said that, he said to “love your enemies”. Praying for someone is an act of love, so you can’t really pray for someone you haven’t chosen to love. You aren’t praying to support the agendas you don’t agree with but you are praying out of love for their well-being, safety, families, and success in every agenda you do agree with that will help your country, as well as wise counselors in their midst leading them in the right direction, and for them to be resisted when standing for corrupt ideas. God put Daniel, Esther, the Hebrew boys, and Nehemiah in Babylon and Persia’s court, and Joseph in Egypt’s government so he can place righteous people in the midst of even wicked or corrupt leaders.
A prayer without faith is a complaint. We should pray for them instead of complaining about them. Complaining is the opposite of prayer and is done out of fear and anger and not out of love. When we complain about things it means we don’t trust God. The Israelites were rescued from Egypt by God but then complained the whole time to Mount Sinai (Exodus 16-17). They saw what God could do and they still didn’t trust him. Trust and love go hand in hand so let’s love and trust God’s word enough to act on the command to love those whom we don’t agree with by praying for them. They will be condemned by God if they refuse his push to turn to righteousness but that is his prerogative, NOT OURS.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Paul sums this all up in Romans 12:9-21. It says not to pretend to love others but actually show that you care. Hate what is evil and hold tightly to what is good v9-10). Don’t be lazy is serving God, instead rejoice in confident hope, being patient and prayerful in times of trouble (v11-12). Be eager to show hospitality to God’s people in need (v13). Bless your enemies rather than curse them and love others no matter whom they are by being caring and compassionate (v14-15). Live in harmony with people rather than being too proud to associate with them and don’t be condescending (v16). Don’t pay back evil with evil, do things honorable and make peace with everyone (v17-18). Romans 12:19 quotes Deuteronomy 32:23, which says vengeance is the Lord’s. In Romans 12:20 Paul quotes Proverbs 25:21-22, which says, “if your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat, if they are thirsty, give them water to drink, and in doing so you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the God will reward you”. This is similar to what Jesus says about how we treat people in Matthew 25:31-46. Then in Rom 12:21, Paul wrote, “don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good”.