Pray for everyone: 1 Timothy 2:1-4
In our last section Paul was urging Timothy to fight the good fight of faith with a good conscience. Timothy’s ministry must be grounded in solid doctrine so that he does not make a shipwreck of his faith as others had done.
There’s a misconception that those who hold tight to Biblical doctrine are unloving, hard-edged people. If only these people would relax and agree to disagree on certain issues. But the New Testament doesn’t allow us that option. Even John, the apostle of love says that if someone doesn’t hold the faith of the Apostles then “do not receive [them] into the house or welcome [them]” 2 John 10.
But that doesn’t make Paul – always urging the churches to ensure pure teaching – a hard, unfeeling man. No, his letters are full of his soft-hearted appeals. And here, to Timothy, he shows that side once again.
For the first thing he urges Timothy to do in the congregation is that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone. Timothy’s ministry should be a prayerful ministry, coming before the living God to plead for the souls of all. There is not much real difference between the types of prayer mentioned here. Paul is using these four words to really hammer home the lesson: Pray for people.
How many of us have this as the first thing? How many of us can be quick to judge others yet slow to pray for them? How many of us plead with God that he would change the hearts of our family, friends, enemies and politicians?
Paul singles out kings and all who are in high positions as those who especially need our prayers. Remember, this was being written in a time when the church was meeting opposition in every quarter. And persecution at the hands of the Roman authorities was beginning to be a daily reality. Timothy was to pray for Caesar and his governors, so that Christians would lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.
Similar days may be upon us. The Book of Common Prayer and the Directory for Public Worship made provisions that the Royal Family was to included in the public prayer of the church. We, too, must be praying for our leaders. We must pray that they would come to the knowledge of the truth, as well as to defend the freedom of the Christian to worship in a godly way.
Salvation is not just for current Christians. Neither is it just for the poor. Salvation is for everyone who believes regardless of their social background. This week let us pray for the government because to do so is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.