First Pray (Life Journal – 6/20/2015)

I’m back after a week of limited internet access and some vacation. Still on vacation today but time to get back to writing and reflecting. Blessings!

Scripture

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. (1 TImothy 2:1-4 NIV)

Observation

– Paul is writing to Timothy, a leader in the church: this is pastoral advice, leadership advice more than personal instruction
– What is the distinction among these listed “prayers:” petitions, prayers, intercession, thanksgiving?
– Why are kings and those in other places of authority (political authority?) specifically mentioned as subjects of prayer?
– The result of these prayers is peaceful and quiet lives
– These lives are lives of “godliness and holiness” — how do prayers lead to this???

Application

Paul advises a young man and student of his how to lead, how to live, in Christ. Paul’s first advice is these various forms of prayer: petitions (or supplications), prayers, intercession and thanksgiving. The principle is that prayer changes even those in authority. And therefore changes the context, the culture. God is not a passive observer or quiet lover of humanity but the God who hears and does, who desires the salvation of all people. Verse 2 suggests that the peaceful and quiet lives that they will lead due to prayer are God’s will for all.

The specific mention of those in authority… one reason is that submitting kings and others in authority to God is an acknowledgment of God’s authority over all, even kings! Also it reminds us how the world works matters to our prayers. We are not praying in isolation from the world but for it – understanding and discerning it.

If I want things to change – my world, my context, myself the first thing Paul reminds me to do today is to pray.

Prayer

King of All Kings – the rulers and leaders of our world are under your authority. You are the authority that trumps all others. Bless those in authority over me today  – in the political realm, in the church, in other places where I serve and work. May they be blessed by you who are the real authority and the ultimate giver of peace and quiet. In the name of the King, Jesus. Amen.

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