DEAR REV. GRAHAM: Every week in our church service our pastor prays for our leaders and for world peace, but I can’t see that it does any good. The world is in just as big a mess as it has ever been, if not more. I guess I’m cynical about anything ever changing.
— N.T. DEAR N.T.: God hasn’t promised that our world will ever be the peaceful and trouble-free place we all seek — not until Christ comes again to bring the present age to an end and establish His perfect rule of justice and peace. Then, the Bible says, “Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).
Does this mean it’s useless to pray for our leaders or for peace? Certainly not. For one thing, God has commanded us to pray for them, and failing to do so would be an act of disobedience on our part. Think how different our world would be if we prayed regularly for those to whom God has entrusted leadership. I often think of Paul’s words to his young pastor friend Timothy: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
In addition, what if everyone stopped praying for peace, and for those who are trying to bring it about? I have no doubt that the world would be in even worse shape. We don’t always know what effect our prayers have — but that mustn’t keep us from praying.
Don’t let cynicism, or doubt, or anything else keep you from praying for our world and its leaders. God’s promise is sure: “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).