1 Timothy 2:2
For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
Note 4 at 1Ti 2:2: We should never forget our leaders, whether we like them and agree with them or not. They may not be godly, but we still need to pray for them. In the Old Testament, God commanded prayer for heathen rulers (Ezr 6:10 and Jer 29:7). When Paul wrote these words, Nero was emperor. He was one of the cruelest emperors who ever lived (see note 3 at Ac 11:28). He persecuted the Christians bitterly, yet Paul wrote to Timothy and said supplications, prayers, and intercessions should be made for Nero.
Note 5 at 1Ti 2:2: Paul's instruction for Timothy to have the church pray for leaders was not limited to the king. He specifically mentioned "all that are in authority." This could be taken to the lowest level of local government and include those who hold any positions of authority, such as teachers.
Note 6 at 1Ti 2:2: The end result of these prayers is so "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." This means that our prayers play a part in the way governments function. Failure to believe this means that no prayers will be offered, and their preserving effects will be lost. Praying for government leaders moves them toward enacting laws that give us freedom to proclaim the Gospel without censure.
Paul and the believers of his day certainly followed this admonition and prayed for their leaders, yet they endured some of the worst persecution the church has ever known. Our prayers of intercession for government leaders don't guarantee a favorable atmosphere for spreading the Gospel, but failing to pray will produce an adversarial relationship. It's better to pray.
Note 7 at 1Ti 2:2: This raises a question: If there isn't a favorable relationship between government officials and Christians, can we live godly and honest lives? The answer is yes...and no.
Yes, we can be godly and honest regardless of how we are treated, but under an oppressive government, we Christians may not be able to display our piety as openly as we can under a favorable government. Therefore, we can be honest and godly regardless of our circumstances, but we should pray for optimum conditions where godliness and honesty are respected and displayed publicly as a positive example.