1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2: 1-4
It kind of sounds too obvious to bother saying, but God really is in the business of saving people from the power of sin and death, Satan, despair and sickness by bringing us into saving knowledge of Jesus… He is a good God!
However, this is not to say that all people will be saved (universalism), because the rest of Paul’s letter makes it clear (as does the rest of the Bible) that some will not (4:1; 5:24; 6:10; Rev. 14:9-11). Also, this does not therefore mean that God is unable to fulfil something that he desires to happen (all people to be saved)!
When Paul says that ‘God wants all men to be saved’, he is stating that the good news about Jesus is an offer of salvation for all people, it is an authentic expression of the goodness of God’s will to not only save them from the power of sin and death, but to bring them into relationship and new life.
It is for this purpose that Paul encourages us to pray evangelistically. Your prayer will (and does) influence the atmosphere of the nation:
- As we pray for our rulers and leaders for wisdom and courage, it helps to create a stable nation.
- Stable nations that seek justice and equity are evidence of God’s grace at work in the world.
- The result of this is that “we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (v2), an environment where Christians can publicly gather together to worship God and where the gospel can be proclaimed freely, (as opposed to when the church faces trouble and persecution).
- This in turn is good news for ‘the lost’ in our communities.
- Because God “wants all people to be saved” (v4)
Paul instructed the church to pray for everyone, rulers and kings, even though there were no Christian leaders at the time – the reigning emperor was Nero, whose vanity, cruelty and hostility to Christians was widely known!
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 personally, but also about how they affect society. Rather than mocking and undermining authority and blaming them for the problems in society, God’s people are called to honour, support and speak well of those who govern us!
The church has a global mission, which is to be worked out through each and every local church having a global concern for all people, as this reflects God’s desire for all people to be saved.
Come on church, let’s pray for God’s ever growing Kingdom to transform this nation.
- Does your life show the transforming power of the gospel? Do you live a peaceful and quiet life?
- Do you pray for the leaders of the land (regardless of who is in power)?
- Take time to prayer for the nation’s rulers and leaders: for wisdom and courage to do what is right, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives.