FIRST OF ALL, PRAY


“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2: 1-4)

Today this is one of the most “counter-cultural” and also most neglected passages in the New Testament. And I mean, neglected by us Christians. It seems we consider it almost obligatory constantly to get angry, speak out, criticize, and discuss those in authority, despite the evident pointlessness of such discussions, which bring us much stress, discomfort, and occasionally disagreements with loved ones. Thus we don't lead "a quiet and peacable life," as so sanely suggested here.

In any event, I never hear us speaking out and getting angry at the plain fact that we fall short of our primary obligation, to “first of all,” as the Apostle stresses, make “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings” (as if “supplications” weren’t enough!) for those in power. Yes, there is brief commemoration of civil and church authorities at our church-services, which most of us attend once or twice a week, if at all. But St. Paul is not talking about just that. He is talking also about our daily, private prayer. He believed in the power of daily prayer, as well as daily thanksgiving, for those in authority.

I spent many years neglecting this commandment, because I did not include the names of those in the highest positions of authority, in my country and in my Church, in my daily prayers. Not so long ago, however, after being struck by this passage, I began to include these people, and their immediate family, by name, in my prayers. I feel it subtly changed, and is still changing, my attitude toward the news and politics I read about here and there. I am grateful for the Apostle’s reminder today, and begin this September with gratitude for everyone, the powerful and the rest of us. God bless and help and guide us all, under Him.

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