March 19 I Thursday
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people...” —1 Timothy 2:1
Some of us complain about what is wrong with our world and how we wish it was something different. But if we want to see transformation in the world, what should we do? In Paul’s letter to Timothy, Paul tells Timothy the first thing he ought to do: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—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). Paul’s simple instruction to Timothy, if he wants to change the culture of Ephesus—and even the world—is prayer.
Paul tells Timothy the types of prayers he is to engage in: petition, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving. If we combine all four words into one sentence, this may be what Paul was saying to the church: bring your daily needs and requests to God, feel free to approach Him boldly with familiarity along with gratitude and thanksgiving for all He has done.
We may wonder, how is it possible for a simple act of prayer to transform the world? Rather, we should be asking, would God invite us to pray on a global scale for kings and those in positions of authority all over the world if it did not do anything? Maybe God was thinking, “You know, I have got to keep this church busy so I am going to invite them to pray even though it is an exercise in futility.” Would God do that? Of course not!
When the Holy Spirit led Paul to command Timothy to gather the church together and give itself to supplication, prayer, intercession and thanksgiving, Paul was affirming that when we pray, God moves in powerful ways in our world. Hence, prayer is the most important activity a church corporately can give itself to.
How big is our prayer life? Paul’s instruction to Timothy was to pray for everyone in Ephesus, in Asia, in the Roman Empire and in the whole known world. Do our prayers extend beyond our family and workplace to our city, region, province and nation? Sometimes, we may find it difficult to pray for others whom we believe do not deserve our prayers, such as the Roman Emperor of that time, Nero, who was infamous for his persecution of Christians. Yet, Paul was writing his instructions to Timothy when there were no known Christian leaders in the world because these pagan leaders, who do not know Jesus, need prayer too. As we pray for nations, kings and those in authority, we should pray expectantly, that God can transform the world through prayer.
Prayer: Lord Almighty God, I pray expectantly that You can transform the world. I pray for the people in my community, political leaders and the world, that they may know You personally as their Lord and Saviour. Thank You, Lord.