“Several years ago I was prompted to pray for you often, and I wonder why.”
That text message from an old friend came with a photo of a note she’d kept in her Bible: “Pray for James. Cover mind, thoughts, words.” Beside my name she’d recorded three separate years.
I looked at the years and caught my breath. I wrote back and asked what month she began to pray. She responded, “Sometime around July.”
That was the month I was preparing to leave home for extended study abroad. I would be facing an unfamiliar culture and language and have my faith challenged like never before. As I looked at the note, I realized I’d received the precious gift of generous prayer.
My friend’s kindness reminded me of another “prompting” to pray, Paul’s instruction to his young missionary friend Timothy: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1). The phrase “first of all” indicates highest priority. Our prayers matter, Paul explains, because God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” about Jesus (v. 4).
God moves through faithful prayer in countless ways to encourage others and draw them near to Himself. We may not know someone’s circumstances when they come to mind, but God does. And He’ll help that person as we pray!
To learn more about prayer, visit https://bit.ly/2kTeSVt.
One of the ways we pray for all people is by praying for authorities (1 Timothy 2:1–2). Such praying contributes to “all people” being able to “live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” under leaders who take their responsibilities seriously. Notice the two pairs of ideas Paul is presenting as the goal of these prayers. The first pair, “peaceful and quiet,” refers to a dual focus of calm. Vincent’s Word Studies tells us that “peaceful” speaks of a lack of outward disturbance and “quiet” refers to “tranquility arising from within.” The second pair of ideas, “godliness and holiness,” speak to how we live out our faith. “Godliness” refers to a life that flows out of a right belief in God, while “holiness” speaks of respectful behavior. To pray for “all those in authority” (v. 2) would have been difficult for Timothy, given the political upheaval and generally anti-Christian sentiment in the Roman Empire at that time.