Maybe more than ever, we need to exercise Paul’s admonition given in 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
We often preach about the power of prayer. We read the passage. We talk about it. We suggest it. But, in reality, are we actually practicing it?
There are at least seven Greek nouns for the word prayer. Four of them are found in this passage.
Prayer. This is the most common term for this activity. It is an entreaty addressed to God. It involves communication with God.
Supplication. This word indicates a more intense type of prayer. It is seeking. Asking. Begging. This is much more than just “saying our prayers,” it is pouring out our heart to God.
Intercession. This word can be translated “petition.” It is often used to specify prayer offered on behalf of another person. Intercessory prayer is common among the Old Testament patriarchs and is often employed by Paul as prayed for his fellow laborers and local churches.
Thanksgiving. This is simply an acknowledgement to God for the blessings He has already supplied.
In this text, such prayers are to be offered on behalf of “all men”. Everyone. Family. Friends. And brethren. But, specifically mentioned is for “kings and all who are in authority”. In our country this would include all elected officials. Local. State. And federal. Our Governors. Our Representatives. Our Senators. Our Vice-President. And our President.
One commentator opined, “there is nothing which so tends to allay irritation, to excite compassion, to restrain envy and revenge, to calm the turbulent passions of every kind, as (fervent) prayer.”
Imagine praying for our President instead of picking apart his policies or reacting negatively to his prickly personality or being aggravated over his controversial tweets.
Imagine offering supplication for Congress instead of finding fault with every piece of legislation and unpopular positions they espouse.
Imagine interceding in prayer for all elected officials instead of castigating them on facebook.
Imagine giving thanks for the privileges and blessings we enjoy in our country instead of complaining about the economy or other social ills to all who will hear.
Imagine God’s people united in prayer for “those in authority” instead of being divided by partisan politics.
Prayer, Supplication, Intercession and Thanksgiving provide power and peace for living a purposeful life according to God’s plan. Prayer evicts selfishness. Eliminates envy. Eradicates worry. Expels contention. And defeats the devil. John Newton said, “The devil trembles when he sees the weakest saint on his knees.”
On the brink of a new administration, and a culture that may concern Christians with its carnal tendencies, let’s pray. More than ever.
Someone has said, “We keep asking God to bless America. He already has. Now it’s our turn.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman