It’s easy to look around us and see what’s wrong. We shake our heads when we see the news and lament, “What is the world coming to?” However, I believe the Lord wants us to do more than turn away in disgust at everything happening in the world. God doesn’t want us to sit around and condemn the world. No, he wants us to pray for it.

After the Israelites had been carried off to exile in Babylon, the Lord gave this message to the prophet Jeremiah.

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Jeremiah 29:7 (NIV)

The Israelites had been carried off to a foreign land surrounded by their enemies, and what did God tell them to do? Strive for the peace and prosperity of the place they had been taken. Therefore, what should we do as Christians? We should also pray for the peace and prosperity of our city. Indeed, even the county, the state, and the nation. Where there is a peaceful city, there can be a peaceful county and state moving into a country. If every Christian in every nation prayed for it, we would see a peaceful and prosperous world.

This isn’t an “Old Testament” concept or something that was only for the Children of Israel during their exile. We see evidence from 1 Timothy 2 of what we ought to be doing.

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 in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (NIV)

Typically, when we’re thinking about how God can be pleased, we look to Hebrews 11:6; “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (NIV), but here is another way to please God. Praying for those around us.

As you’re reading this, I encourage you to stop and pray for your city, state, and the nation you live in. Pray for those in authority, whether or not you agree with their politics. We were once enemies of God, and yet he saved us. How much more then ought we to pray for those who have rule over us?

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)