After my rant about the Lord’s Prayer, or rather our use of it, I’m grateful for this advice to Timothy.
It also seems incredibly apposite in the current political debates and troubles going on in the world:
How To Pray
2 First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. 2 Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God. 3 This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Savior. 4 God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is,
5 There is only one God,
and Christ Jesus
is the only one
who can bring us
Jesus was truly human,
and he gave himself
to rescue all of us.
6 God showed us this
at the right time.
7 This is why God chose me to be a preacher and an apostle of the good news. I am telling the truth. I am not lying. God sent me to teach the Gentiles about faith and truth.
So we’re encouraged to pray for everyone. Not as an amorphous mass, but more meaning there are no boundaries, think of everyone. Be bold and don’t limit ourselves in who we are concerned for and bring to God for him to touch them and challenge us.
We are also reminded that prayer is not just asking – it is thanking too. So as we think of who to pray for, who are we thankful for in our lives – and remember, don’t just think of the obvious…
But then we come to pray for those in power. That they might make us wealthy? That we might reign victorious in the world? No actually. We pray for them, that we may be able to live peaceful lives. That is their role. Not to be looking for dominance or power – but peace.
And I can’t help thinking that for that to happen, it has to apply in the lives of each one of us.
Prayer at it’s best is not asking God to do something about “them”, but to work in us that we might know what to do, where to start in the situations we are praying for. That’s the kind of prayer God is looking for. That lives may show the truth of him, that all may come to recognize him and learn to live his ways. In that he is honoured.
So, when we pray, yes we pray for others in their situations, responsibilities, trials and challenges; but we also pray for ourselves – that God may work in me and you, for that is where the change to our corner of the world will start.
I pray for the world,
and those with huge responsibilities.
But I pray also
for my part in it,
the challenges I face,
the situations I can change.
work in me,