1 Timothy 2:1-6 “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. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”
God’s strategy for the Church to reach a lost and hurting world begins with prayer. Before we talk to people about God, God says we are to talk to Him about people, all people.
Notice the priority in this passage. It’s a simple strategy for bringing good news to a bad news world. We are urged first of all to pray for all people. Then Paul tells us what to pray. We are to ask God to help them; to intercede on their behalf, and to give thanks for them. People may not be open to a discussion about God, but prayer will unleash the Spirit of God to soften and prepare their hearts. It will also prepare our heart and attitude to share with genuine concern and compassion.
Then Paul instructs Timothy to have the Church pray for all those who are in authority. This was remarkable considering that he was living at a time of extreme persecution under the notoriously cruel emperor, Nero! The command to pray for leaders didn’t depend on whether they were good or evil. The point was so that Christ followers could live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. Praying for others and for our leaders is good and pleases God. How much of a priority is prayer in your life? When was the last time you prayed for political leaders? It’s so much easier to find fault than to pray.
The second part of God’s strategy to change the world comes next. It’s really the reason for our prayers. Paul tells Timothy that God wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. He’s giving Timothy the scope of salvation – which is everyone! Christ died for us all. Does that mean everyone will be saved? While God’s invitation extends equally to all people, not all people will accept this invitation and receive His salvation.
Not only does Paul give us the scope of God’s salvation, but also the source:“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”
And that is the only message that will change the world! In what ways can you help communicate that message of hope and healing?