Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
Paul was a firm believer in prayer. His letters, with which we are so familiar in the Bible, talk about prayer much more than the rest of the New Testament books. I can just imagine him in daily conversation with God, for that is what prayer is at its core .... a talk with God. And lest you profess a difficulty in knowing how to do that, Paul gives us four different ways we can pray; in short letting us know that it is that important. What's more we are to pray for others, and that includes "all who are in authority". That is particularly true today as we find ourselves mistrusting those who have authority over us. And if you find it hard to do that, remember that Paul was living in the time of Nero, certainly one of the most profane persecutors of Christians in all of history. If he could do it, we can, too!
So let's take a look at how we can pray for our leaders. The first way is through Supplications [or Petitions, as your translation might say] which would be a solemn and humble appeal to our God with respect to a particular issue; perhaps that our leaders would respect our Bill of Rights, or not sign a specific piece of legislation. Prayers is the second way Paul asks us to intercede on behalf of our authorities. We are to talk to God and let him know our sincere wishes and hopes that our authorities would maintain hearts that are pleasing to God; it is our devout desire that our leaders would return to the Godly principles this nation was founded upon.
And because the gospel is for everyone, we are to make Intercessions for all men and that includes leaders we may not agree with. Just as Jesus intercedes and mediates on behalf of us sinners, we are to do the same for others. We are to speak to God on their behalf, asking Him to forgive their sins and turn them towards Him. As Christians, we are called to become like Jesus, and that includes learning how to go to God for the benefit of another.
Finally, Paul exhorts us to Give thanks for all men. I will admit that this is the hardest thing for me to do. How do you give thanks for someone you perceive is hurting you? If we realize that all Authority has been put in place by God, we can give thanks that our leaders have been placed there by our Father, whether to bless us or discipline us. Remember Romans 8:28? We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Our leaders are serving because it is part of God's purpose and we are not to question it.
But in case you're feeling despondent and like God isn't listening, there is a promise at the end of this Scripture ... if we pray in obedience to God, we can lead a quiet and peaceable life, in godliness and reverence. We can step outside this earthly realm and abide in God's domain, where we feel apart from the chaos and noise of this world and rest in the peace of knowing He is in charge.
We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that we are the only ones in all the history of the world that are undergoing such difficulties. Well, let me give you some wise words from Tertullian, an early church father. He lived in the Second Century and wrote this concerning Paul's words, “Without ceasing, for all our emperors we offer prayer. We pray for life prolonged, for security to the empire, for protection to the imperial house, for brave armies, a faithful senate, a virtuous people and a world at rest.” Look carefully at what he prayed for --- Are our interests really that different today?
Notice that he didn't pray for the end of regimes, but for the good health and long reign of the rulers; alongside hopes for widespread virtue and peace—and this for emperors who were no friends of the faith! This may seem contrary to everything our minds and hearts are screaming, but there is no doubt that this is the bidding of our Father in Heaven. And what could be more evident of the healing power of Jehova-Rapha (The Lord Who Heals) than to see the Leaders of our Land experience a rebirth of their hearts and souls? Keep praying, folks, because that will truly result in a Godly peace across our nation.