This is 1 Timothy 2:1-8:
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.
I think that, as far as the local church is concerned, these is some of the most overlooked and disregarded instruction in all of Scripture. I know that it has been, regrettably, in my own life, and I speak specifically about the first two verses.
How often does your church corporately pray for kings and those who are in authority. How often are people in all different walks of life, which I believe is the correct understanding of “all men” in this context, lifted up in prayer in your church? I don’t get on my high horse here. This is on my mind today with regards to my own church.
Do you realize that we are commanded to pray for our president? That it is not optional as to whether or not we pray for our governors, legislators, judges, etc? I’m not talking about the sappy prayers, and the National Day of Prayer type stuff. I’m talking local church corporate prayer. Serious, biblical, legitimate, God-honoring prayer. This is the instruction as I understand it. Paul is giving Timothy these instructions in 3:15 so to know how one ought to conduct oneself in the household of God.
The context of this instruction is Paul writing to Timothy about how the church is supposed to look, how to further the administration (”house law”) of God. In Timothy’s day the church was persecuted, and so it would make sense, humanly speaking, not to want to pray for, say, Emperor Nero. But that’s not in accordance with obedience to God. We are to pray for those in authority, and for all types and kinds of men, so that we might live a peaceful and tranquil life in all godliness and dignity. Our prayers for others should be directed with the idea that the church can continue being the church, as peacefully as possible, to the glory of God.
I find that idea interesting. It seems our prayers regarding all of these types of men are not to necessarily be FOR these men (meaning for their purpose). Instead, we are to pray for all types of men for the health of the church and the promulgation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s what Paul goes into in verses 3-8.
In the oft-misinterpreted verse four Paul states that God desires to saved all (types of) men, even kings and those in authority who may be responsible for your persecution. After all, those kings and those in authority only have one hope, just as you do. There is only one mediator, Jesus Christ, who died as the only Way to God the Father. He is the only way any man, king or fisherman, congressman or tentmaker, can be saved.
We pray for all types of men so that the gospel might go out as efficiently and as widely as possible to the glory of God. Just something to consider for your personal life and that of your church.