I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;
1 Timothy 2:1-3
Paul exhorted Timothy to instruct the believers that first of all, no matter what they heard was happening to him and regardless of how dark the world was getting due to the Roman Empire, that four distinct elements of prayer are advocated. These four things are:
These prayers are to be for three distinct groups of people:
Paul never advocated any type of political activation, revolt due to unfair laws, military action against the evil Empire or even publicly debating or browbeating Romans leaders. Paul advocated only one thing and that was prayer. Not for the Roman Empire per se, but for everyone and specifically anyone in authority.
What kind of prayer did Paul exhort Timothy to do himself and teach others to do also? At the top of the list is supplication which is the Greek word deesis which means a petition for a special object, having regard to our necessity rather than to God's sufficiency to supply it. The element of prayer gives prominence to personal need.
This element of prayer comes first due to the spiritual and political climate at the time. Christians were being persecuted and executed at an ever increasing rate. Paul had recently spent more than two years under house arrest for crimes he did not commit. This epistle was probably written around 67 A.D. Paul was captured again in 68 A.D. and executed shortly thereafter. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Needless to say, this was indeed a perilous time in which to be a Christian.
The next element of prayer Paul mentions in verse 1 is prayers which is the common Greek word for prayer proseuche which is prayer offered to God having regard to the power of Him Who is invoked and giving prominence to personal devotion.
The next element of prayer that comes up is intercessions which is the Greek word enteuxis which is to have confiding access to God, giving prominence to childlike confidence in prayer. This prayer is specifically addressed to God for oneself or others.
The final element of prayer Paul mentions is giving of thanks which is the Greek word eucharistia which means thanksgiving, thankfulness and gratitude. Instead of grinding our teeth in anger toward people we should instead be thankful that we can pray for them. This is perhaps the most difficult of these four types of prayers especially during times of persecution or tribulation caused by others.
These prayers are to be made for all men, kings (heads of state) and everyone in authority. It is interesting to note that the word for is the Greek word huper which implies the pleading of a case on behalf of another instead of a mere description of the circumstances. This active pleading is not limited to fellow believers but to all men. Why is this? Because 1 Timothy 2:4 says:
Who [God] will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
We plead for all men because the will of God is that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. We pray for heads of state and all those in authority for different reasons. Those in authority are those who sits in a prominent position where decisions are made that directly impact other people's lives. Paul is exhorting that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for any and all people who are charged with making the hard decisions that determine how we live, the laws we live under and the restrictions to our freedoms.
The reason we devote so much spiritual energy to praying for worldly leaders is specifically so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. Next time we will delve into the four intriguing words brought up in verse 2 which are:
If we can understand what Paul is writing about and then DO IT, we can be assured that in the sight of God we are doing that which is both good and acceptable. Isn't that what we desire? I certainly hope it is! Until next time;
Blessings 2 You
[quote]Paul never advocated any type of political activation, revolt due to unfair laws, military action against the evil Empire or even publicly debating or browbeating Romans leaders.[/quote]
Neither did Jesus and this, in fact, was a key factor in popular opinion turning against Him. While Jewish leaders feared He would lead a revolution which would cause them to lose their positions of power allowed to them by the Rome, the crowds that flocked to Jesus believed that He had come to overthrow Rome and set up an earthly kingdom. In fact, this was why the crowd responded as they did at the Triumphal Entry. He had come to establish a kingdom but it was not an earthly kingdom, it was the Kingdom of God. When He made no move to ascend to an earthly throne, the cry "Hosanna!" changed to "Crucify Him!"
I believe that we should certainly exercise the rights we have been given, vote and so forth and I even know some Christians in politics at the state and local level. They work hard to serve their constituents and I believe God has placed them in those positions for a reason. At the same time, I believe that too many Christians have become obsessed with politics. Rather than reaching out to the world around them, sharing the Gospel and ministering to those in need, they are walking picket lines and getting into people's faces. I had to cross a picket line of Christians once when I had to go to a hospital for cancer treatment! I am sorry but I do not think sick and injured people should have to cross a picket line to get treated!
If we would do our job, we would begin to see changes in our society. Anyone who is familiar with the history of western civilization knows that the early Christians made a profound impact on society and that impact is still influencing us today.