1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-5
One of my all time favorite movies is Sergeant York starring Gary Cooper. It tells the the story of Alvin York, a World War 1 Congressional Medal of Honor winner. During an attack in France his battalion was cut down by murderous machine gun fire. He and others were ordered to silence the machine gun nests.
His small group was raked with machine gun fire as they captured a command post, killing all but eight including then Corporal York. When all was said and done the small group had captured 32 machine gun nests and taken 132 prisoners, mostly by York himself.
As they returned to their lines with the column of prisoners york was asked how he had captured all those Germans. He replied “I guess I just surrounded them.”
Paul exhorts Timothy, and us, to pray for all men, especially our leaders and the lost. He tells us that God desires all men to be saved. He also implies that when we pray for our leaders we may be able to lead quiet and peaceful lives.
Many Christians feel overwhelmed in praying for their leaders, or they may feel that their prayers don’t do any good. James tell us that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” One person can make a big difference. Just like Alvin York one believer can surround many others with prayer.