1 Timothy 2:1-4 – First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, in order that we should live a peaceful and quiet life, in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come into the knowledge of the truth.
Romans 13:1 – For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
Proverbs 21:1 – A king’s heart is like a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.
In the troubled times and context of the Roman Empire in the first century, the Apostle Paul admonished Christians to make praying and giving thanks for “all people, for kings and all those in authority” a top priority. He gives two supporting reasons.
First, so that, having committed all those who rule over us to the Lord who rules over them, we may quiet our hearts and live in peaceful and thankful submission. Second, so that we will align our hearts with the Savior’s, who yearns for all people to turn to Him, believe the truth, and be forever saved.
It is so easy, especially in hard times, to live and pray for the cares and concerns of ourselves and “our people,” but Jesus wants us to open our hearts and care and pray for “all people.” It is so easy, especially in hard times, to focus on our temporal hardships, but Jesus calls us to let Him stir our hearts and prayers on behalf of the eternal peril of all people apart from Him.
As we watch our President and government leaders, along with the leaders of all the world’s nations, wrestle with the difficult decisions required by the global coronavirus pandemic–decisions with huge consequences, radically affecting our present lives and futures, let us pray fervently and daily for them, for God to guide them! God can and does direct their hearts as if channels of water in the sand. Then let us peacefully submit to their rulings.
And as we hear the news of China, Japan, Korea, Italy, Iran, Spain, and the rest of the world, as well as our own nation, let us care, God would move us to care and to pray, certainly for God’s merciful relief from their sufferings, even as our own. But above all, for their greatest need, their eternal destinies.
With whom will you today spend time offering “requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings,” not just for yourself and your own, but “for all people, for kings and all those in authority,” and not just concerning the urgent needs in the current medical and economic crisis, but especially for the supreme need “to be saved and come into the knowledge of the truth”?