Isaiah 65-66 1 Timothy 2
“First, I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to him. Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to know the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4 NCV)
One of the conditions that allowed Paul the freedom to spread the gospel that he took advantage of is the period of history known as the Pax Romana, or the Peace of Rome. While the Pax Romana had some drawbacks, if you were a subject nation instead of a Roman for instance, travel was fairly safe because the Romans protected the roads and enforced the laws. As Paul urged Timothy to pray for all people, including those in authority, I’m sure that he was grateful for that sense of peace he felt while traveling. Still, I have no doubt that he would have continued his journeys were his safety less certain, knowing that his ultimate goal was to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ. Persecution was still in its early stages at this point, being instituted more at the local level. Paul’s prayers for those in authority included those participating in the persecution. Paul didn’t have to like the ruling authorities to pray for them or to ask others to pray for them; he recognized God’s love for them and willingly prayed for them.
Many years ago, I won’t say how long, I was making snide comments about the president and someone asked me how I could pray for him if I was talking like that about him. I was convicted. I (mostly) stopped speaking negatively about my president and began praying for him, as I’ve prayed for every president since. When we recognize that Paul called for prayer so that we could have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God, and we compare that idyllic principle with what we see in the world today, I would make a guess that we haven’t had full participation from Christians in this command to pray for our political leaders. Either we didn’t like the last president, or we don’t like the current president and so we didn’t pray for one or the other. Perhaps we disliked both and prayed for neither. Maye the world would be a better place if Christians spent more time praying for others, especially our political leaders. I’ve often found it easier to pray for people I disagree with. I ask God to change me if I’m wrong, or work on the other person if they are. With our country so terribly divided and divorced from peace, what would happen if God’s people stopped griping about politics and prayed. What if we prayed for the people who think violence is the action to political issues? What if everyone reading this prayed for the president and his cabinet; then prayed for their congressperson and the leadership of both parties in the House and their senators and the leadership of both parties in the Senate? What if we expanded that prayer to governors, state reps, state senators, county leaders, and city leaders? Pray for them to have God’s wisdom and to make godly decisions. You don’t have to agree with them as you pray for them, you just need to agree with God and trust Him.
Lord, thank You for Your control in the affairs of mankind. Thank You for the freedom we have in America to share our faith and to live for You. I pray for my president, my senators, my congressman, the leadership in both parties, my governor, state rep, state senator, county judge and commissioner, and mayor and city council members. Help them to know when to speak and when to be silent. Give them wisdom as they govern that we might experience Your peace and see people come to faith in You.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.