1 Timothy 2:1-6 - First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself as a ransom for all."
News is coming fast and furious these days! The Jews and Arabs are at it again. World leaders are flying all over the place. The energy crisis of the ages is upon us. And the country's top executives have our heads spinning. What is the concerned Christian to do about all these chaotic conditions? Should we throw up our hands in despair? Should we repent "in sackcloth and ashes"? Should we try to take over the world and straighten things out? Should we run to the mountains and escape? The Bible tells us we should PRAY! What a canned answer! The old "Christian cop-out"--pray! Anyway that lets us off the hook, we say, because we put in our few minutes of prayer time each day. But wait a minute! After reading the Scripture above we could ask ourselves a few incriminating questions. Did I pray for Golda Meir and Anwar Sadat this week? Did I pray for Nixon and Brezhnev this week? Did I pray for Kissinger and my congressman this week? I feel guilty already, don't you? Notice the importance of such praying. Verse 1 urges us to pray on behalf of all men "first of all." So much of our prayer time is spent on our own personal hang-ups, our selfish desires, or even our own area of service "first of all," that we only have time to throw in a few token prayers for others. Now there's nothing wrong with praying about our personal problems and requests--in fact Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to do just that. But here Scripture is telling us that "first of all" our concern in prayer should be "on behalf of all men"--that is, others first and ourselves last. The "kings and all who are in authority" of verse 2 includes not only the Nixons and the Brezhnevs but anyone who is in a position of authority or prominence and can influence "the masses." This would include political leaders, educational leaders, industrial leaders and religious leaders at all levels. We should pray for the mayor of our city and the governor of our state. We should pray for the principle of our high school or the president of our college. We should pray for Billy Graham and the church leaders in our area. We should pray for George Meany as well as our boss. We should pray for authors and celebrities, whether famous or notorious. What do we pray about? That the leaders of Israel will be given wisdom to win the war? No! The end of verse 2 gives us our answer. "That we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." Now that is a beautiful mind-blower! Pray for peace and quiet! But what about the verses like 2 Timothy 3:12 that say a Christian is to expect suffering and persecution? Yes, that's right, but we are never told to pray for persecution or suffering or trials. We are to pray for peace and quiet! The Bible assures us that world conditions are not going to get any better (see 2 Timothy 3:1), but still we are to pray that the God of all grace would grant a measure of peace and quiet to our lives. "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior" (verse 3). Notice that our passage does not in any way suggest that we are to pray for peace and quiet so we can sit around, goof off, and enjoy the good life. No! We are to pray for this so we can live godly and dignified lives--peace and quiet for the purpose of worshipping and serving God in all seriousness. Verses 4 and 5 show us that God's desireis that all men come to know the truth in Jesus Christ. A godly (what God desires) life for all of us, then, would also involve concern and action directed towards the goal that mankind come to know Jesus. In other words, we are to pray that conditions of life will be such that our worship of Jesus Christ as Lord will be unharassed and our service in making Christ known to others will be unhindered. During the persecutions of the early church, Christians could not worship and serve openly. Christians in mainland China and Cuba today cannot worship and serve the Lord in freedom. The world situation today is such that even in this country conditions of life could change quickly and drastically. And for the openness and freedom which we enjoy in our country at the present time we should be very thankful to God (note the word "thanksgiving" in verse 1.) So pray that your school administrators will continue to let you talk about Jesus. Pray that your local government will continue to permit Christians to give out the gospel in public. Pray for the salvation of prominent authors and celebrities who influence our society so greatly. Pray that God would give strength and power and wisdom to the prominent Christian men and women of our time. Pray that decisions made by the world leaders in high level councils would be such that Christians can "lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity". Pray for peace and quiet!