Journey Through The Bible
Old Testament Reading: Job 40-42
New Testament Reading: 1 Timothy 2
First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
The Ephesian church had evidently stopped praying since Paul urged Timothy to make it a priority again. One of the Bible’s greatest truths is that God not only exists, but He actually wants to have a personal relationship with us. And prayer is one way He’s given us to strengthen that relationship.
We should not look at prayer as a burden or obligation; instead, we need to see it as a privilege. Just imagine, the God who created the whole universe wants to welcome you into His presence, and that is exactly what happens when we pray! If Jesus felt the need to pray, how much more should we?
The Apostle Paul lists four aspects of prayer - petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings (v1).
- Petitions sometimes translated supplications, have the thought of specific requests for specific needs. God urges us to ask, and He is pleased when we do.
- Prayers are a very general term, covering all kinds of approaches to God. Prayer is simply talking to God, anywhere, anytime, in any way.
- Intercessions describe those forms of petition in which we address our God on behalf of others. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ constantly intercedes for us (Romans 8:34), so it pleases God when we intercede for someone else, including heads of state and others in authority, because we are doing what Christ does.
- Thanksgivings describes prayer in which we pour out our hearts in gratitude to Him for all He has done for us and given to us. Thanksgiving always pleases God, and the Bible specifically tells us to include thanksgiving when talking to God.
Special mention is made here of kings and all those who are in authority (v2). These must occupy a special place in our prayers. This verse takes on special significance when we remember it was written in the days of Nero. The terrible persecutions which were inflicted on the Christians by this wicked ruler did not affect the fact that Christians should pray for their governmental heads. As Billy Graham said, “It is a great privilege, as well as our responsibility, to pray for our government leaders.”
Remember: Prayer is possible because God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to tear down the barrier that exists between us and God, a barrier caused by our sin. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection for us, the Bible says, we have also got access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand (Romans 5:2).
Make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ. Then thank Him that He loves you so much that He wants you to talk with Him through your prayers. Set aside time to pray every day, but in addition, learn to pray throughout the day, thanking God for the good things He brings into your life. Pray also when you and others you know are facing problems or decisions, for you need His help. The Apostle Paul said, In everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6).