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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

PRAY FOR ALL IN AUTHORITY

1 Tim 2:1-4 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Prayers should consistently be made for all people of the world. In the lesson text, Paul's exhortation is directed to Timothy, but seems to be a commandment of God that is to be taught to all Christians, whether in the privacy of their homes, or as they are gathered together as a congregation of God's people, for worship services. It is a great sermon topic that needs to be understood and practiced by churches of Christ in all ages. Wherever prayers are made by Christians, and especially in gatherings for bible study and worship services, prayers should be made to God on behalf of all men (and women). The necessity for such universal prayers is given in the final verse of the lesson text: because God wills all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Four different kinds of communion with God, are given in the lesson text: supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks. It is more easily understood that we are to give thanks to God for providing all material blessings - all things, that sustain our lives here on earth, and make it more pleasant. However, it is a little more difficult to make distinctions between the other three types of entreaties, that should be made, by Christians, to our Heavenly Father. The broad definition of prayer seems to include all of these specific petitions noted here. Some scholars propose and debate these differences. Supplications seem to be petitions to God for protection from all harm and evil that confront us in our daily lives. Prayers, in a more narrow meaning, seem to be petitions to God for spiritual guidance, that will enable us to be obedient children, while here on earth, by using the talents, abilities, and physical blessings, given us to further the cause of Christ. Intercessions seem to be petitions on behalf of others - for their physical and spiritual well-being.

Also, intercessions seem to be the prayerful petitions that we should continually offer to God, requesting His divine guidance. These entreaties should be made to God, not only for ourselves, our families, and those of the body of Christ, but also for kings, and for all that are in authority. Men and women, to be right in the sight of God, must have an obedient will, and reverential awe toward Him. But we must also petition God on behalf of all that are in positions of authority. This includes, but is not limited to, parents, teachers, employers, military leaders, etc. But, as it is used here, we should also make intercession for all men and women having governmental authority over us (See Prov. 24:21; Eccl. 8:2-5).

The apostle Peter makes clear the responsibility all men and women have toward those that govern us here on earth. He tells all children of God to submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well (1 Pet. 2:13-14). Because their position of authority has an effect on the lives of so many people, we need to pray for their divine guidance that they will rule righteously and justly.

Christians must be thankful for, and offer prayers of intercession on behalf of, all governmental powers that provide for, and protect, the physical well-being of all citizens under their authority. After he gave us this inspired commandment of God, Paul then told us why this was necessary: that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. That all faithful followers of Christ be able to lead a quiet and peaceable life,is one of the highest priorities of every Christian. Why? Because only under such peaceful freedom are we able to exercise obedience and spiritualgodliness toward our Heavenly Father, and worship Him without fear of governmental interference.

And also, only under a quiet peace can we freely demonstrate sincere love and honesty toward our families, neighbors, and fellow Christians. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. To pray for all in authority is God's command, and that governments throughout the world allow the gospel message of salvation to be preached to all mankind, will be the positive consequence. This should be the prayer of every Christian, because God wills all to be saved. This does not mean that He will save men and women by His power alone, but they will come to the knowledge of the truth, and in obedience to His will that can be found in these truths, accept Jesus as their Savior, submit to baptism, and join the saved, within the body of Christ.