The apostle Paul understood the power of government. Intriguingly, the Roman government of his day was not supportive of Christianity. Not even close!
Nero was in power at the time Paul wrote these words. He would become the instigator of some of the most violent persecution against Christians in all history. Yet, Paul still encouraged believers to pray for those in civil authority, even if they seemed to be God’s enemies.
Why? Because they are the ones who — from a human point of view — could create the conditions that would make the spread of the gospel much easier, or on the other hand, much more difficult.
God’s desire is that all people hear the gospel and be saved. There is only one who can mediate between God and mankind, Paul writes. That’s why spreading the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ — that sole mediator — is of paramount importance to God.
If our witness to Jesus Christ is critical, Paul reasons, then having the right conditions of peace, security, easy travel, fast communication and economic stability are extremely valuable.
We can still pray today for governments and civil authorities around the world. We pray not because we are of any party or political persuasion. We pray not because they are friendly toward God, or supportive of the spread of the gospel. Because they may not be friendly toward or supportive of either of these!
Instead, we pray that those in authority will create the right conditions for the gospel, so that it can be spread to more and more people, and they may know Jesus as “the Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”
Sometimes we pray for God’s enemies simply so that God can make more friends.
“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 Savior, 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” (1 Timothy 2:1-6, NIV).
Lord, I pray for those in civil authority. I ask that we who are Christians may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. I ask that you will allow me to be a witness to Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior. Through my witness may many people come to a knowledge of the gospel, to a knowledge of the truth about the ransom your Son paid for all mankind.
Our Bible reading for Saturday, October 17, is Jeremiah 35:1 – 37:21, 1 Timothy 2:1-15 and Psalm 119:49-56.
Header image based on "Roman Crown" by Shaun Dunphy, CC By-SA 2.0