PRAY FOR EVERYONE
Holy Spirit, as I read today, conform my heart more closely to that of my Savior.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 2:1-7
Instructions on Worship
2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘As so often in the New Testament, the call to prayer is also the call to think: to think clearly about God and the world, and God’s project for the whole human race’ (Tom Wright).*
Paul now turns to giving instructions about public worship, which he says should be of primary importance (v 1). Worship should not be insular, inward-looking and exclusive, but should reflect a concern for the whole community or society within which the church operates. Notice the number of times Paul says ‘all’ or ‘everyone’ in these verses—what does that tell us about God’s concerns? And what does Paul say about the outcomes of prayer for leaders?
It might be easier to pray for those in authority if you live in a democratic, just society, but how do you pray for the leaders of a corrupt dictatorship? It is worth remembering that Paul’s instructions here come at a time when Nero, who was famously cruel and hostile to Christians, was emperor. In the Old Testament, Jeremiah told the exiles to pray for the peace and prosperity of Babylon (Jeremiah 29:7). In Romans, Paul states that ‘all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God’ (Romans 13:1, NLT).
Who are the people in positions of authority in your community or country? Bring them before the Lord. Pray for wisdom, for personal well-being, and for decisions that encourage peaceful communities.
God, I confess that the order in my prayers has to do with my priorities and concerns. Show me your priorities and concerns as I come before you.
*Tom Wright, Paul for Everyone: The Pastoral Letters, SPCK, 2014.
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