Our Epistle reading for this week, 1 Timothy 2:1-15, discusses the prayer life of the Christian and the general demeanor and attitude which Paul considers appropriate for Christians. Let’s look at the first portion of the passage. It calls for prayer for all sorts of leaders, in order that we may have a “quiet” life. Just as we pray for our friends and neighbors, we are also to pray for kings and other leaders. They all need prayer. In this world, Paul observes quite rightly, there is not one person who does not need God’s wisdom and grace. While the challenges and temptations faced by different sorts of people will be different, all people face trouble.
Paul doesn’t really tell Timothy what kind of prayers to pray for rulers. He just tells him to pray. However, immediately after the command, we have some hints about the content of the prayers. The outcome of the prayers is that we can live a quiet and peaceful life. Maybe we pray that our leaders will have the wisdom to keep us out of war and turmoil. Paul also moves on to talk about Jesus as the mediator between God and man. Jesus’ desire is that all should be saved. This, again, points to the desired content of our prayers.
What about the situation in which the leaders are evil? Paul was certainly familiar with that situation. He was executed in prison by imperial command. The truth of his political climate did not change Paul’s resolve that God’s people should pray for their leaders. Just as Jesus cares about Nero, he cares about the leaders of our modern societies.
So let’s pray! All levels of our society, from the unemployed and homeless to the CEO to the political leader, require prayer.
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