God shows that we are to pray for all men. Why? It's because all men are made in God's image. Also, all men have the potential to rise above their humanity and live within their divine purpose.
At the time Paul wrote this chapter, Nero, one of the most wicked of rulers had already set fire to Rome and blamed it on Christians. Yet Paul commanded the church to pray for him and for all rulers in high places.
In order for man's world to be well ordered, God requires prayer for all with all types of prayer.
Priority of Prayer
Writing to Timothy at Ephesus, Paul urges him to prioritize his ministry by offering up various prayers before God.
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." (1 Tim. 2:1-2)
Ministry is a challenging work. It required enduring hardness as a good soldier, (2 Tim. 3:3) It required strong character to resist the entanglements of the world. It required facing daily persecution in Ephesus for striving to live a godly life, (1 Cor. 15:31-32; 2 Tim. 3:12).
Therefore, the first order of the day was prayer, not only for self, but for all men.
Prayer of Supplication
Paul encouraged Timothy to make supplications. These are specific requests. This means one must be thoughtful and careful to express precisely what is desired or needed.
Some prayers are meant to be generic, but others should be specific. Some shy away from making specific requests of God either because they feel unworthy or they fear rejection of the request so they don't ask.
God says you have not because you ask not, and you ask not because you ask amiss, i.e. for purely selfish reasons, That means to miss the target. (Jas. 4:2) Take the time to know and ask for what you really need or want. Ensure it is within God's will, (1 John 5:14)
Prayers are general prayers as distinguished from specific petitions in particular prayers. They are the general prayers that we may pray at all times.
These are prayers on behalf of others. The scriptures teach that Christ ever lives to make intercessions for those desiring to be saved who come to God through him.
Perhaps one of the most memorable intercessory prayers is that of Abraham on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah, in an attempt to save his nephew Lot. Abraham prayed to God that if but ten righteous souls were found in the city, it could be spared. God agreed, but found fewer than ten, so the city was destroyed.
Acknowledgment of wrongs and expressions of humility are appropriate types of prayer. Daniel 9 contains a prayer of confession for sins of national Israel.
Thanksgiving and Gratitude
Prayer should always consist of thanksgiving. Even when specific requests are made that are not received immediately. Thanks should be offered demonstrating trust in God's ability and desire to supply all needs which is his promise.
But my God shall supply all your need through his riches in glory by Christ Jesus, (Phil. 4:19). In one of the most comforting exhortations to pray, Paul offered the following text for a peaceable life amidst the persecutions experienced by the first century church.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
These were prayers that were prayed often by the Psalmists. They were prayers of request to return ones evil and punishment back on their own heads. Often in life we suffer wrongs from others. Jesus taught to pray even for enemies and for those who spitefully used the disciples.
During the pre-parousia reign of Christ, while suffering the distress of the birth pangs associated with the end of the age, many were tempted to retaliate.
However, God himself would judge his people (national Israel) for their persecution of Christians (his new chosen people, 2 Cor. 5:16, Gal. 6:16). Vengeance is mine I will repay said the Lord, (Rom. 12:19).
Jesus offered a parable teaching that men should always pray and not lose heart. He tells the story of a certain judge in a city who feared neither God nor man. A widow came to him demanding justice for wrongs inflicted by her adversary.
This was an imprecatory prayer for God to take vengeance or to "return the evil they were doing her upon their own heads." God promised to do the same for those who persecuted the church.
Prayer of Praise
These are prayers full of the joy and overflowing of God's mercies and grace to us. Our hearts are overwhelmed by his goodness and burst forth in expressions of praise.
The end purpose of prayer helps us to lead a quiet and peaceable life with godliness and reverence. By incorporating various types of prayer we are able to more closely walk with God dependent upon his will.
About the Author
William Bell is the author of The Re-Examination, A Study of the Lord's Second Coming. He also speaks regularly in Bible prophecy seminars, workshops and teleconferences. Visit his blog at allthingsfulfilled
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