Giving thanks for our leadersAs Christians, we are enjoined by the Bible to pray for our civil leaders. The Apostle Paul offered this guidance in 1 Timothy 2:1-4,
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings [presidents] and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For 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."
When Paul wrote this, Nero was the "President" of the Roman empire. He was a cruel leader, especially towards Christians. Despite this reality, Paul recognized the importance of not only offering "supplications, prayers, intercessions," but also of "giving thanks" for "kings and all who are in authority."
How can you thank God for someone with whom you disagree? Why should you thank God for someone whose policies you consider to be wrong or unbiblical?
The purpose of giving thanks is to keep our hearts clear of bitterness and darkness. (Romans 1:20-22) Giving thanks for all people, and especially leaders, promotes civility among citizens, so that we all may "lead a quiet and peaceable life." It is also necessary to recognize the principles of government, even while we work to change bad policies. As Christians, our assignment in sharing the Gospel of Christ with willing hearers is unaffected by whoever occupies a civil office.
That said, let us pray and thank God for President George Bush, President-Elect Barack Obama, Governor Mitch Daniels, Mayor Greg Ballard, and for all others.