The election is over. The pundits have dissected this presidential race with greater interest than medical students in an anatomy lab.
It's time to stop talking and start praying.
Prayer is precisely what was on Paul's mind as he wrote to Timothy, the young but gifted leader of the church in Ephesus. Apparently, the church was neglecting to pray for their political rulers when they gathered to worship. Not good. Paul writes to address this issue: 
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 ESV
"Timothy," Paul counsels, "this is top priority!" Ever the teacher, Paul adds education to his exhortation. He uses four different words to instruct Timothy (and us) how to pray for leaders:
- Supplications -- making requests in light of specific situations in which God alone can furnish the help that is needed. Leaders face unique challenges that cannot be solved overnight. Our president is confronting a divided Congress. A nation in gridlock is like a rush hour traffic jam. It serves no one. So pray. Ask God to solve these issues that divide and separate us.
- Prayers -- making requests for needs that are always present.
- Leaders always need wisdom and physical stamina. They always need wise and godly people around them. They always need tenacity to pursue justice and truth.Take time to name these needs and lift them to God.
- Intercessions -- presenting a petition on behalf of someone else. Amazingly, we have the privilege of entering the throne room of God Almighty to plead on behalf of our leaders. Leaders have real-life struggles, big-time hopes, long-standing conflicts, and hard-to-answer questions. Identify them and then intercede for them.
- Thanksgivings -- expressing gratitude to God. When we express gratitude to God for our leaders we acknowledge that God is indeed sovereign over all. Thanksgiving is a tangible expression of our faith in God. So thank God for the President -- even if you didn't vote for him.
Why is prayer so important? Because peace and calm help promote the spread of the gospel. God is passionate about drawing people to himself. And in some mysterious way, your prayers matter!
Today we can read the news, gripe and complain. Or we can read the news, pray and take action. I know that I've complained enough. It's time to pray!
 William Hendriksen provides an excellent treatement of 1 Timothy 2:1-4, in New Testament Commentary: I & II Timothy and Titus. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House. 1957, pages 91-96.