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4th March 2012
If you write down your priorities in life, what would come first? The apostle Paul writes clearly in this letter to Timothy: First of all, pray. He lists different types of prayer – supplications, thanksgivings, intercessions – to demonstrate that we're to pray in all sorts of ways for all sorts of people and to provoke us to make our prayers broad and far-reaching.
Why is prayer so important? Because we believe in a God who shapes the nations, transforms lives and can change situations both close to home and thousands of miles away. As Spurgeon put it, "Prayer moves the arm that moves the world."
Paul writes that we're to pray for all people, but he specifically highlights "kings and all those in authority" (v2). He's writing this letter having just been released from prison, and his experience of those in authority included being flogged and stoned, arrested and imprisoned. Yet his instruction is clear: we are to pray for those in authority. Not only those in authority we like; not only those in authority we agree with; not only those in authority who treat us well. But for all in authority, because they have been placed there by God (see Romans 13:1-2).
Why do we pray for those in authority? So that "we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (v2) and because God "wants all people to be saved" (v4). As followers of Jesus, we are to live differently to those around us, thinking not only of how decisions by those in authority affect us, but about how they affect society. Rather than mocking and undermining authority, God's people are called to honour, support and speak well of those who govern us!
Verses: 1 Timothy 2:1-7 (see also Romans 13:1-6)
Food for thought:
Posted by Paul Mann