Prayers for Leaders

Opening Prayer

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Almighty and faithful God,

we come before you in obedience to your word, which implores us to pray for all people and those who serve in leadership positions.

Give leaders your divine wisdom.

In the exercise of their authority, might they always seek to serve with humility and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             to act justly.

Broaden the vision of all leaders so that they will see beyond the parochial borders.

May your love and compassion envelop their hearts,

enabling them to look after the interests of others with diligence.

May they not grow weary in doing good, in serving all with joy and a sense of purpose.

We pray for leaders who serve in every capacity and at every level:

churches, governments and civic organizations, finance, health, education.

As they lead, we pray that your Holy Spirit will grant them wisdom and courage in these times. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Scripture Reading: Luke 7: 1 – 10   

1After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.” And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


Leadership counts. And especially in times of crisis, leadership matters. The past year has exposed various leadership styles from small communities and villages to political leaders with a global profile. We witnessed some responses that left us astonished and speechless. At the same time, without being prompted, we spontaneously applauded the performance of others. Whether we gave a thumbs up or down, the response and ensuing actions of every leader had an impact in some way on the lives of others. While the visible impact made some leaders heroes, it also made some villains according to the court of public opinion.

In today’s reading, we encounter a man who was not only sick to the point of death but who also found himself in the unfortunate and regrettable place of being a slave. I wish not for anyone to be a slave to another human. However, in this story, as we reflect on leadership, I draw our attention to the centurion who demonstrated some very noteworthy characteristics. He valued people and affirmed their humanity without regard to their ‘status’. It was this attribute that would have caused him to send messengers to Jesus to plead for healing for one over whom he exercised authority. The messengers too lauded his virtues as they sought to convince Jesus as to why his request was worthy of being answered. This leader’s focus was not on himself or his own welfare. Rather his attention and energy were invested in bringing healing to one whom others might have not even thought of as being worthy.

Added to his sense of deep compassion and care, the centurion exhibited an unusual balance of deep humility and profound faith. One would not have expected these qualities in a leader whose life was not nurtured by the religious practices of Judaism. And it is precisely this surprising portrayal that results in Jesus’ commendation of this leader. In this man’s actions and words, we see an example of the type of leadership that is crucial to help communities, cities, countries and, indeed, our world to navigate us safely through this pandemic. We pray for God to give us in this compassionate season, caring, humble and faith-filled leaders.

Prayers of Intercession

Lord, we pray for our leaders’ health and well-being, who themselves face risks to their health as they serve the wider community.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray that they lead by example, guiding society, equipped with reliable and accurate information, inspiring faith communities to serve our common humanity with unconditional love.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray that the leaders of different faith communities, leaders from the government, civil society and the scientific community work together with humility and mutual respect across boundaries and borders to overcome this pandemic. 

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for leaders of the pharmaceutical industries, states, and inter-state organizations, that access to the vaccination against COVID-19 may be granted to the most vulnerable everywhere, regardless of their purchasing power.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray that you grant each of us the grace and courage to take our responsibility and leadership in our contexts, to act with deep compassion and care for the people and creation we have influence over. 

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

We join together in praying as Jesus taught us: Our Father . . .


The Lord bless you and keep you,

the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you,

the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.


Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, © copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission.