Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:1-6
Key verse: (1) “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone.”
Reflection: In this letter of 1 Timothy, we find a community of new believers in tension with each other and with the world around them. We are a far way from the unity perceived in the early chapters of Acts where the believers shared all things in common and committed themselves to daily prayer and meals with one another. How quickly divisions can arise! And so what is the advice given to the community? Is it to identify enemies, and draw a clear line between us and them? Is it to call out false teaching and condemn heretics? Is it to draw back from the world and forget about earthly matters all together? Throughout the ages, Christians have taken each of these postures at different times. But here, in this context Paul is urging his brothers and sisters to pray. Pray for those who are in power, pray for those you disagree with, pray for those who persecute you, pray for everyone. This call to prayer comes for it is, “God who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:3-4). If it is God’s desire for all to be saved, who are we to cut people out of the family. If it is God’s desire for everyone to be saved, who are we to speak badly of others. If it is God’s desire for everyone to be saved, who are we to hope for the failure of others.
Praying for all is not an easy task, it sounds much more delightful in theory than in practice for we live in a broken and divided world. But, this kind of prayer helps place us within God’s will, so what does it look like? When praying for those in power, we let go of grasping for control and rightfully recognize Christ who reigns over all. When praying for those we disagree with, we open ourselves to a love that is bigger than our opinions. When praying for those who persecute us, we highlight the life giving power of the resurrection as death and destruction lose their grip on us. Praying for all is easier said than done, but when we align our hearts this way our feet and our hands will follow in line so that we may lead a peaceable life.
Prayer: Loving God, grant us the strength to pray for all. Grant us the courage to follow in your will. Grant us the grace to love as you love. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].