Pray for Leaders During the Spread of the Coronavirus

Prayer, Coronavirus

The topic that has everyone’s attention this week is the spread of the Coronavirus that has turned into a global pandemic. I discussed this topic previously on the podcast, focusing on some things that we as Christians need to do during this situation. One of those things is prayer.

In this article, I want to expand on the need for prayer – particularly the need to pray for our leaders (civil authorities) as this crisis moves along.

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

Paul told Timothy to pray for those in positions of civil authority. It should be especially apparent at times like this that we need to be praying for these individuals. They have a difficult task before them in trying to contain the spread of this virus. We need to remember them in prayer.

However, praying for our leaders at a time like this is not just about praying that they might find a solution, remain in good health, and be able to handle the stress of the present situation. We need to remember the specific reason why Paul told Timothy that Christians are to pray for civil authorities: “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”*

Right now, throughout the country, there are men in positions of authority recommending and/or requiring churches to not assemble in order to help stop the spread of this virus. We should note that this is not necessarily an example of persecution since churches are not being singled out – this is being directed to all sorts of businesses and public gatherings. We might even be gracious, giving these officials the benefit of the doubt, and assume they have the best of intentions in this.

There may be situations when local churches decide to cancel certain assemblies (such as during severe winter weather); so currently there are brethren debating and deciding whether their particular local churches will assemble as usual, alter their assemblies, or cancel them temporarily. These are decisions for autonomous churches to make. However, it is not the government’s God-ordained role to force churches to close their doors for any reason. God ordained civil authorities with the task of punishing evildoers (Romans 13:3-4). Christians who assemble to worship God do not qualify as evildoers.

However, looking past this “present distress” (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:26) – and we will get past it – there is always the danger that when governments take power over certain segments of a society, they often do not relinquish that power. If civil authorities decide, due to the present conditions, that they can order churches to close their doors, it is likely that they will think they can do this again down the road whenever it is convenient or politically expedient for them to do so.

This is not meant to be a political article. Instead, it is a reminder that as Christians we need to pray for our leaders that they will fulfill their God-ordained role, allowing us the freedom to “lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” – which includes the freedom to assemble with our local churches without harassment, threats, or some form of punishment from the civil authorities.

There are many things for which we should pray during this time. Let us not forget to pray for our leaders.

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*For more on this, see the article, Pray for Those in Authority


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