Yesterday we discussed that true prayer must be mandated by heaven. We are to also pray in the name of Jesus to pray with Kingdom Authority. “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:14) Keep in mind that we are to pray in the Spirit and in submission to the Lord’s will, not our own. A prayer in submission with Jesus’s name behind it is like a bonafide purchase order that will be honored in heaven. Adrian Rogers said: “I am convinced that we would move into incredible realms of power and Kingdom Authority if we would do as Jesus did with the Father. We would spend time listening to Him, to get His instructions, and to line up our wills with His.”
The other day I woke up with a question in my heart on how to receive the mandate from heaven. I was almost immediately taken to a passage. “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:1-4)
Paul list three forms of prayer and one form of praise: First, he says, there are “supplications.” The original Greek word “deésis” which means, “heart-felt petition, arising out of deep personal need”. These requests are to be made for all people who are going through times of heartache, struggle, pain and pressures. Supplication is praying for other people’s need so that we can “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). God oftentimes meets these needs through the agency of human beings, and it may come to mind what we can do to meet those needs.
Then the second category is “prayers.” In the original language this is a special word “proseuché” that is only used for requests which God alone can meet. Just after Herod executed James, which pleased the Jews, he then seized Peter. It seemed a sure bet that Peter would also be executed (Acts 12:1-4). It was this type of prayer that was offered for Peter. “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” (Acts 12:5) Only God can meet that need, and He sent His angel to rescue Peter (Acts 12:6-10). That is the kind of request Paul is talking about. We are to bring those before the Lord and pray about them together.
The third form of prayer is “intercessions.” The Greek “enteuxis” is used here, meaning, “petitions of believers as they ”hit the mark’; an intervention led by God, marking intersection between heaven and earth as it reflects the Lord’s specific will“. Paul’s letter to Timothy tells of latter day times when there will much false doctrine and hypocrisy, and many will be guided by their own conscience (1 Tim 4:1-3). The same word is used here where we are told that all created by God is good if used properly (sanctified): “for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer” (1 Tim 4:4-5). Here again we are to give thanks to the Lord for what He has created and petition that His created beings and things be used for His purpose. This is prayer mandated by heaven!
With this, Paul then links “thanksgivings”. When we are praying for people and things that the Holy Spirit has put on our hearts for God’s glory, and in the name of Jesus our Great High Priest, we are assured God will meet the need. In faith, we are to thank Him for keeping His promise, even before we finish praying. “For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” (2 Cor 4:15)
We are we to pray for “all men” (referring to mankind), then, “for kings and all who are in authority”. Remember what we’ve been talking about, the Lord won’t put things under our authority in Christ until we are under the authority He has put over us. When we lift up in prayer “all men” and “kings and all who are in authority” to the Lord, we are asking for His specific will to take place, knowing He has a purpose. “All men” is all of mankind without distinction or bias, whether godly or ungodly. When this letter was written the Emperor was Nero, one of the cruelest of Roman Emperors. Yet when Paul wrote this to tell Timothy what to pray about, he said not to forget to pray for the king, for Nero. This recognizes that all forms of government come from God’s hand (Dan 2:21).
We are to pray for all and all in authority so “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence”. Could it be that so much vitriol and violence are permeating our world because we haven’t been praying for our public officials and our public life? Perhaps the words of James, “You do not have because you do not ask” (v 4:2), apply here.
Ray Steadman tells of Christians at Vacaville prison regard themselves as the control apparatus to keep the peace of that prison. When riots threaten or when violence breaks out in the prison, the Christian prisoners gather together to discern what discord is present among the Christians. When God’s people aren’t in harmony they almost always see restlessness in the whole prison. They’ve learned that God will keep the prison peaceful when the Christians are at peace, and in right relationship with Him. A system psychologist was asked by the Prison Board why was it that Vacaville prison had fewer riots and less trouble than any other prison in the state. His response: “The only thing I can suggest is that there is a group of Christians up there who pray for Vacaville prison…that is what appears to me to make the difference.”
Paul is saying there is a direct relationship between us being faithful in prayer for those who are involved in governmental matters, and our ability to lead quiet and peaceful lives. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom 12:18) And we are to live a “quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence”. Godliness and reverence occur within our spirit and soul (mind, will and emotions) when we pray.
The word translated “godliness” is the Greek, eusebeia, which really refers to “a consciousness of what is required in life with respect to God, to your fellow man, and to yourself” in the reality in which we live. Prayer can give us the eyes to see others and circumstances from God’s viewpoint. Coupled with this is this word, semnotes, translated “respectful” Another translation could be “courteous”. A second effect of prayer is that we become invariably courteous to people; we can have a kind of graceful dignity with which we pass through life.
If we have an understanding of others and treat others courteously, God’s light will shine through us; we will be loving one another as we are commanded. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:3-4) We must not forget that we are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20). The prayerful life outlined here is good and acceptable to God because it is God’s way of opening up men and women everywhere for salvation; it is the first artillery salvo that opens up a territory to possess it for God.
Despite all the distinctions that appear to be among men there is only one provision for their redemption: that is Jesus. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim 2:5-6a). Jesus gave Himself that all kinds of people, from all walks of life, may come to Him to receive Him as Lord and Savior.
Lord, we pray that you will take our lives and make them count. Help us to obey what we have been sent to do and thus release the mighty power of God in our communities, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our groups together at work, wherever we are, that the gospel may begin to touch lives and change hearts. Lord, we ask that You intercede in the violence in our streets, the hate in the hearts of many as only You can. We thank You that Your will is being done, even when we don’t yet see the fruits. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.