1 Timothy 2:1-4
“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.”
In this the first of Paul’s Pastoral letters, we find that he’s left Timothy to continue establishing some of the churches Paul’s team had planted in the region of Ephesus. Among the many issues in the churches, they had to confront false teachers who were leading some away from the sound teaching they’ve received; Paul had already removed two of them (see 1 Timothy 1:19-20).
Praying For All People All The Time
In our passage Paul raises the matter of united prayer as the highest priority in God’s Family (the Church). Timothy is to train the Churches to be praying together for “all people” in all sectors of society all the time, because God desires “all people” to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. The Church is God’s appointed agency sent to model the truth and disciple the nations.
Paul mentions four aspects of prayer, all of them are plural. “Petitions” are simply requests, “prayers,” literally all kinds for all people (Ephesians 6:18), “intercessions,” a word which eventually took on the idea of coming before a king with a special request for ones self or on behalf of another. The last of the four is “thanksgivings” which is the Greek word Eucharistia from which we derive the word Eucharist – the “Lord’s Supper.” Praying for others is in the context of “showing the Lord’s death until He comes;” The purpose for Christ’s death and resurrection is why the Church prays for all people all the time. When properly understood, prayer becomes a feast at God’s banqueting table!
Paul is reminding Timothy of the high priority of keeping the lines of communication with heaven open; so God’s ideas, plans, and blessings will continue flowing into the earth through the Church! God’s people throughout history were always people of prayer. Answered prayer on behalf of others, was always the norm for God’s people.
Set Apart To Pray for Others
The Scriptures are replete with numerous calls to pray, encouragements to pray, and testimonies of how God has answered those who did pray. There is not a single sector of society that has not been made a subject of prayer, or hasn’t been influenced because of it.
Prayer has always been the highest priority for God’s people. Note that “I urge” in verse one of our passage is in the present active tense. Paul was always encouraging the Churches to pray without ceasing as a lifestyle, praying for all people everywhere all the time. Taking time zones into consideration, and that the Church all over the world is praying at different times, prayer is in reality, going up to God every minute of every day, in every part of the world, for people everywhere!
The Prayers of the Church are Covering the Earth
The whole purpose for the Church to be praying night and day is to ensure that there is not a minute of the day when the prayers of God’s people are not being offered on behalf of planet earth. Our praying is like incense, a sweet aroma that is rising continually from all over the earth up to the Lord of all creation. So regardless of what time of day you and I are praying, there are multiplied hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters in Christ the world over speaking to God along with us!
There is the truth of common grace where God continues to be kind to the ungrateful and wicked, causing his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sending rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike (Matthew 5:45, Luke 6:36). We the Church partner with God in this through our continual praying the world over!
You are a part of the history of God’s amazing family of redeemed people the world over. By the Holy Spirit’s power and direction, our praying floods the earth with light, exposes darkness, disrupts the devil’s strategies, opens doors for the gospel, and advances the cause of Christ. We the Church are always causing God’s Kingdom influence to come, and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven by our continual praying. So, Be filled with faith, Be always praying all kinds of prayers for all people, Be victorious, and Be encouraged! -JSP