“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”
(1 Timothy 2:1-4, NIV).
Honestly, when I pray so often the material and physical needs come first (recall prayer requests during prayer meeting you attended lately). The early Christians certainly had reason to pray for their physical safety and for their material needs. However, in praying for those in authority, verse 4 demonstrates that which is important to God – was important to Paul – and should have priority in our prayers, namely, for their salvation. Of course we should pray for wisdom for governmental leaders that they will be kept from temptations of bribery, rule justly and other temptations which are uniquely theirs. But most important of all, we should pray for their salvation. Not just their but also for “everyone” or “all men.”
Here we read, “God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved.” Question: Why today aren’t all men saved? Can’t God do anything He wants? Some Bible translations translated “wants” to “will” and “desires.” The word “desires” (thelo) is the best translation in context here. God desires all men to be saved. God’s wish or desire just like in 2 Peter 3:9, God “not wanting anyone to parish.” Not that all men will eventually be saved someday (I don’t believe in universalism) but it simply stating God’s desire. God is not a God who force salvation on anyone. God through Jesus Christ has provided salvation for all, He desires all men to be saved, but the choice is ours to receive or reject His Son. You see, Jesus Christ is ultimately that “knowledge of the truth.”
When we pray for leaders (and anyone else) for their salvation, we are praying in the will of God and it will be “good and pleases God.” During Paul’s time, Roman emperor was called saviour. In contrast to the saviour of the Roman emperor is the Christian’s saviour – “God our Saviour.” For the Romans, the emperor might be a saviour in the sense of providing temporal security and prosperity, but for Christians – Jews, Romans and Gentiles believers alike – only God can provide eternal salvation. So pray, pray and tell, pray and live, pray and share, pray and preach the Gospel! “This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”
May God’s desire be done. Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.