Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Timothy, Pray Especially for Governmental Authority that Persecuted You (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

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
(1 Timothy 2:1-2, NIV).

The apostle Paul first urged Timothy and the church to pray “for everyone.” This, I think, doesn’t mean that everyone on earth is to be mentioned individually name-by-name, nor it mean a general, all-inclusive kind of prayer. Not too details I guest and not too general but be specific in prayer. This also mean that all of us –believers and not-yet-believers – come under the umbrella of intercessory prayer. As I write this, someone(s) is praying for me! Thank you.

This is the hard part. A specific order is given here to pray for governmental authority – “for kings and all those in authority.” That covers every government officials from the highest to the lowest. Paul, throughout his epistles, proclaimed that God is absolutely sovereign! This mean that, for reasons I might not necessary like or know, He has placed government leaders in their place, even the ‘bad’ ones (Think Malaysia). Historically, when this letter was written Roman Emperor Nero was on the throne. I assumed if Paul and all the faithful Christians who were persecuted (even martyrs) by the religious authorities and government leaders for preaching the Gospel could pray for them especially the brutal Nero, surely, we should and ought to pray for our government leaders no matter what political party they might be! Because of the persecution they were experiencing, it would have been easy and logical for Christians to allow hate to come into their hearts. But Paul knew – Jesus exemplified and taught him – that the best counterfeit for hate is love in a form of prayer. If you pray for your enemies, you’ll learn to love them.

What are the aims for such prayer? Paul wrote “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” This desire was very real to the early Christians because of their suffering at the hands of the government. In Malaysia, we may not suffer physically like those during Timothy’s time but for sure economically we’re suffered (even that is not close to anything the word suffering imply in the Bible). As Malaysian Christians, we face only little persecutions especially Sarawakian Christians. So far we are quiet safe and peaceful. This we shouldn’t take for granted and thank God for it. But on the other hand, we as Malaysians are facing embarrassment and injustice mainly due to our government leaders. Let’s pray especially for our Prime Minister and the government officials. Let’s pray for our spiritual leaders as well.

Pray for our leaders and soon you’ll learn to love them too. I’m trying. This doesn’t mean that we affirmed their bad conducts and never have to voice our concerns and fight for justice, no! Of course not, remember Micah 6:8. It simply mean that when we pray for them, we learn to love them as individuals as how God sees them, us. Remember this: “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 and from verse 13 to 20 are all about prayer). This is a spiritual warfare, pray! 

Lord, may we live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Amen.

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