Friday, June 19

First of all, pray

Scripture: 2 Kings 4-5, Psalm 83, 1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 2:1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.

Observation/application

Paul writes instructions to Timothy, a young pastor, and he begins by saying, “First of all, pray.”  Pray for all people, and pray specifically for civic authorities. 

We are to pray “for kings and all who are in authority” so that “we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.”  In these turbulent times, our prayers for our leaders are more important than ever.  We need to pray for our civic authorities, whether we agree with them or not!  Some Christians seem to think they can pray for a president they agree with, and conversely not pray for the one they disagree with.  Not so.  First of all, pray—pray for our leaders!

We are to pray for all people.  What should we pray for them?  The context indicates that God wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.  Start there.  Pray for that.  Perhaps Paul is saying, “Here is God’s will—that everyone be saved.  You should want that too, and you can partner with God by praying and living and sharing the gospel.  First of all, pray.”  Pray for all people, and specifically for those you know.  I’ve been reminded that if I don’t pray for the people I know, who will?  First of all, pray.

This requires some intentionality.  It means setting aside some time to pray deeply—to wait on God, listen and bring our broken selves and world before Him.  And it means keeping the conversation going all day long—to pray through the day as I meet people or they come to my mind.

Prayer: Lord, I want to be a better pray-er.  Help me!  Help me to pray first.