Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles. Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God. I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
1 Timothy 1:18-2:4
Dear God, the passage today for Bible Gateway was verses 1 and 2, where Paul urges Timothy to pray for all people and leaders. But it’s another instance where we’ve been given false barriers between scriptures for the sake of chapter separations and section headings. They meant well, but they can really change the meaning of a piece.
This one is a good example. Paul wrote these words as one. He connected clinging to faith and being careful about people who blaspheme you with praying for others. He is encouraging Timothy to “fight well in the Lord’s battles.” Do this by:
- Clinging to your faith
- Keeping you conscience clear
- Praying for all people
- Giving thanks for people
- Praying for “kings” and those in authority
- Praying for peaceful and quiet lives (although I have to wonder if sometimes you don’t give us this so we will not be lulled into slumber)
I was speaking Friday morning with a friend and he told me that he has trouble praying for our current president and his administration because he vehemently disagrees with his policies. Now, full disclosure, I don’t pray for any of our leaders very well or often, regardless of whether or not I agree with them, but in this case he intimated that he prayed for the previous president and his administration. I asked him why it was harder for this administration. If anything, I would have thought the parts of this administration that bother him would make praying for them easier.
So what about me? What am I to do about praying for our leaders? Whether they be local community leaders, the members of my board of directors at work (for whom I almost never pray), and then state, federal and worldwide leaders. Also leaders within our church. Even this morning our church asked that we pray for our two main priests as they go to a conference this week. After having read this passage before church, I took note of it and thought that I do need to pray for them regarding this trip and conference. I need to honor that request.
Father, the truth is, I’m terrible about intercessory prayer. It is just not a priority for me and it’s something I do not make a priority. I make times like this a priority, but I do not make other times and types of prayer a priority. Guide me in that. Help me to be better and please help me to also cling strongly to my faith and keep my conscience clear.
In Jesus’s name I pray