A few days ago John S. Harvey sent the M* editors a question regarding the purpose of prayer. John particularly wondered what the M* community thinks about praying for the leaders of countries throughout the world.
“I’m curious *what* we should pray for? I assume God has a plan in mind and that my asking him to change any aspect of that plan isn’t going to change the plan. And likewise if I happen to pray in ways that are consistent with His plan I don’t think it would increase the efficacy of the plan in any way. I assume that God is already trying to prompt leaders to do what is right (obviously many don’t).
“If I pray that hearts will be changed/softened that sounds nice, but wouldn’t God already be trying to get them to do what is right? I know we have been commanded to pray that the opportunities for missionary work around the world will increase. And so I do that.
“At the end of the day I’m left with the question of what should I be praying for with respect to leaders of countries throughout the world? It seems like almost any prayer is either asking for the leader’s agency to be taken away, or for God’s plan to be changed given that God would already be trying to get them to do what is right already.”
John said that praying for Church leaders is different for him. “In the case of Church leaders much of what I am praying for is to bring my will into harmony with God’s will and for the leaders to be able to understand and accomplish God’s will. That seems to be a very different set of motivations than any of the leader’s of countries I can think of.”
What think ye? How do you envision that prayers for world leaders work?