How Prayer Affects Us

“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, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 2:1-4 (CSB)

Paul wrote these words to Timothy, a young pastor who was in Ephesus at the time. It was also the time when Nero was Emperor of Rome. He was a ruthless persecutor of Christians, yet Paul was urging that all kinds of prayers be made for everyone and specifically for those with the highest positions of authority in the land.
The purpose for these prayers is, “that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” You notice Paul is not urging people to pray for those who are in authority because we agree with them, hold our views, or are even necessarily nice to us. It is difficult to stay angry at those for whom you pray. In fact, praying for others and for those in authority leads to a life of peace, godly character, and dignity. There are not too many people that do not want peace, treating each other with dignity.
The next sentence above says, “This is good, and it pleases God our Savior.” God is pleased when we live peaceably, with dignity and respect. When we live in this manner, God is honored and it brings calmness to a world in chaos. Not only this, but God has a particular desire that everyone would be saved from our sin and selfish desires, to turn away from these things, and believe in Him. He wants us to come to a knowledge of this truth: that Jesus died in our place to give us new life, freedom from within, and the ability by His power to live a peaceful life, respectful of others.
What an amazing and powerful outcome of praying to our God and Savior of this world! Do you see a world around you that seems to be getting more and more divisive? Do you notice leaders and those in authority getting further and further apart? Are you feeling angry, depressed, and hopeless in a world that seems to be out of control? Do you feel there is injustice all around? All of these things were happening in the first century when Paul wrote the words above. Now, in a time of pandemic, economic hardship, and questions of human dignity and value, our leaders need much prayer. The urgency is real—maybe now more than ever. We must pray! Pray for those in authority. Pray for those around you. Pray for ourselves. We all have a measure of pride.  We need to ask God to bring us humility, patience, and love.
Some of you may remember the song that begins with these words: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me…” Peace begins with prayer to the One True God who can save us through His Son, Jesus, the Prince of Peace. When we pray for those in authority, asking God that they seek wisdom from Him, and when we will pray for ourselves and one another to stop fighting and give each other grace and mercy, then peace and calmness will affect our lives, whole communities, our nation, and our world.
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Mark Anderson