Pray for All
Read 1 Timothy 2:1-15
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, There is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth.
(1 Timothy 2:1-7)
Paul’s command to pray for kings was remarkable considering that Nero, a notoriously cruel ruler, was emperor at this time (a.d. 54–68). When Paul wrote this letter, persecution was a growing threat to believers. Later, when Nero needed a scapegoat for the great fire that destroyed much of Rome in a.d. 64, he blamed the Roman Christians so as to take the focus off himself. Then persecution erupted throughout the Roman Empire. Not only were Christians denied certain privileges in society, some were even publicly murdered in cruel ways.
Although God is all-powerful and all-knowing, he has chosen to let us help him change the world through our prayers. How this works is a mystery to us because of our limited understanding, but it is a reality. Paul based his instruction about prayer for everyone (1 Timothy 2:4) on his conviction that God’s invitation for salvation extends equally to all people. The word everyone captures the nature of the gospel. The world that God loves includes every person (John 3:16). He loves us as individuals whom he knows intimately (Psalm 139:13-18). Paul urges us to pray for “all people.” Our earnest prayers will have powerful results (James 5:16).
When our lives are going along peacefully and quietly, it is difficult to remember to pray for those in authority. It’s easier to remember to pray when we experience problems. Pray for those in authority around the world so that their societies will be conducive to the spread of the gospel. Ask God to raise up wise leaders.
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