Should we pray for our public leaders as much as we pray for ourselves?

Should we pray for our public leaders as much as we pray for ourselves? When praying for our elected officials, what should we be praying for?

These are the questions I ask myself every year around this time in October as the first of the month marked the start of a new fiscal year for our federal government. That means some reflection on the past fiscal year, including major accomplishments and major deficits regarding federal policies. In my position at World Vision, these are especially important.

October 1 is also the first day of a new fiscal year for World Vision offices. To appropriately honor the day, our staff members, volunteers, and World Vision supporters from all around the world commit the day to prayer for direction, encouragement, and renewal in the fiscal year ahead. It's an important tradition that World Vision looks forward to each year.

Although our federal government isn't tied to the same Christian mission as our organization, my role working in government relations calls me to reflect on the previous federal fiscal year, too. This includes the bills enacted with the support of World Vision's advocates and campaigns -- like the Child Soldier Prevention Act, the Sudan Peace Act, and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, to name a few.

My role also calls me to pray for the federal fiscal year ahead -- including our governmental leaders and the critical issues they'll address this year, such as:

  • U.S. federal budget: Protecting the International Affairs Budget from disproportionate cuts, and ensuring that we meet commitments America has made to global health, as well as programs such as food security, child protection, and disaster relief.
  • Child protection: Effective implementation of the Child Soldier Prevention Act and reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
  • South Sudan: Working with South Sudan and donor governments to ensure that they "get it right from the start" in developing the world's newest country.
  • G8 Summit: The United States will host the 2012 Group of Eight summit of world leaders next May -- a pivotal moment for these nations to hold to their commitments to fight extreme poverty and hunger, and to enhance global health, survival, and prosperity.
  • Youth in the United States: Domestic priorities include addressing youth violence through prevention, such as with the Youth PROMISE Act, and ensuring quality education for all children.

As an advocate for the poor, an American citizen, and a Christian, I'm committed to praying for our elected leaders and the major issues they will address this fiscal year as much as I pray for World Vision and for myself. My hope is that you would commit to this, too.

Consider what Oswald Chambers said: "Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don't want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time, because His idea of 'good time' is seldom in sync with ours."

With the ongoing budget debate, as well as global crises such as the Horn of Africa drought, our elected leaders face difficult decisions that will ultimately impact millions of people across the world. Perhaps now more than ever, our prayers are needed.

With this in mind, I invite you to pray and take action. I ask you to also include children around the world in your prayers as you pray for our governing authorities, whose daily decisions impact communities here in the United States and beyond.

Specifically, we can call be praying for:

  • Wisdom and perseverance for lawmakers and their staff
  • Children and families affected by global poverty, injustice, and human suffering
  • Legislative priorities that positively impact the poor

You can also download the Justice Prayer Guide (pdf) to help inform your prayers. And send a message to your elected leaders to let them know you are praying for them today and in the coming year.

What do you think -- Should we pray for our public leaders as much as we pray for ourselves? Do you ever include your elected officials in prayer? What do you pray for?

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    We are told to pray for those in authority. I believe that to be political as well as spiritual leaders. I doubt that I agree with you on every point. But we must trust God to direct our prayers in His way. Most certainly suffering people in the world need prayer. They need More than money, they need help finding a way to support themselves. They will never have that with socialistic/authoritian governments.

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