Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 1)

The Text

1Timothy 2:1-4 “I exhort, therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

The Charge

concerning Public Worship. “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1Corinthians 14:40) is a basic principle for the conduct of the ministry of the Church. In Acts 6:4 the early Apostles gave themselves to Ministry of God’s Word and Prayer. Prayer was very prominent and should be used properly in the Church. The First Section of the Epistle deals with Paul’s personal charge (command) to Timothy about the Legalists. In the second major portion of the First Epistle to Timothy, Paul gives instructions about the Public Life of the Local Church. These instructions cover 5 areas:

  1. The Place of Prayer in the Assembly (1Timothy 2:1-7).
  2. The Relationship between women to men (1Timothy 2:8-15).
  3. The Qualifications of Elders (1Timothy 3:1-7).
  4. The Qualifications for Deacons (1Timothy 3:8-13).
  5. The Nature of the Local Church (1Timothy 3:14-16).

1.1 The Priority of Prayer

1Timothy 2:1 “I exhort, therefore, that first of all,” background – These words were written after Nero’s first insane persecution of the Church. Every year saw the young Emperor slip more deeply into persecution of Christians at Rome were not only ones who lived in fear. The Aristocracy and Senate of Rome were to be decimated. The grim events of A.D.69 were discernible afar. In that dark year four rivals contended for the throne, and Rome tottered on the edge of anarchy. This was the background of Paul’s direction to all men to pray for those in power, “so that our common life may be lived in peace and quiet with a proper sense of God and our responsibility to Him.”  The phrase “first of all” (próton pantrón) relate not to primacy of time but primacy of important It indicates that Prayer is the most important in the Public Worship of the Church. It also introduces the first subject of many to be discussed:

  • Donald Guthrie, however, claims that it denoted “Primacy of Importance.”
  • Warren W. Wiersbe thinks Prayer is the “most important (element) in the Public Worship of the Church.” 

It is sad to see how prayer has lost its importance in many Churches. “If I announce a banquet,” a Pastor said, “people will come out of the woodwork to attend. But if I announce a prayer meeting, I am lucky if the ushers show up!” Not only have the special meetings for Prayer lost stature in most Local Churches, but even Prayer in the public services is greatly minimised. It is also said: “Many Pastors spend more time on the announcements than they do in prayer.”

  • The late Peter Deyneka, Sr., Founder of the Slavic Gospel Association often said: “Much prayer, much power! No prayer, no power!” Prayer was as much a part of the Apostolic Ministry as Preaching of God’s Word (Acts 6:4). Yet many Pastors spend hours preparing their Sermons, but never prepare the public Prayer for their Congregation. Consequently, their Prayer Meetings are routine, humdrum, and repetitious. 
  • Members also need to be prepared to pray. Our hearts must be right with God and with each other. We must really want to pray, and not pray simply to please people (as did the Pharisees – Matthew 6:5), or to fulfil a religious duty. When the Local Church ceases to depend on Prayer, God ceases to bless its ministry.
  • Exhort – The Greek word translated “exhort” (parakaló) is the same term rendered “beseech” (Romans 12:1) and carries the meaning of “to beg, to entreat, to urge.” The term basically denotes the concept of calling someone alongside for the purpose of urging him to consider an important matter. Apostle Paul’s exhortation is not expressed as a command but an appeal because the Ministry of Prayer cannot be forced by an outward command but must be prompted by an inner conviction of its importance and need. It is this inner conviction of its importance that Apostle Paul seeks to communicate.

The Churches in general agreed on the importance of the Ministry of Prayer but failed to demonstrate in their Practices. In many Churches, Prayer has ceased to be a vital part of their Ministry and Public Worship. This has resulted in the loss of vitality in the Church and the loss of God’s Power to enlarge His (God’s) Kingdom.

1.2 The Variety of Prayer

1Timthy 2:1a “Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks.” There are at least 7 different Greek nouns for “Prayer,” and four of them are used here. The four types of Prayer mentioned here may be progressive as well as comprehensive, indicating the “supplication” of the person in need, the general outgoing Prayer to God alone, confident boldness of access to God’s Presence (Hebrews 4:15-16), intercession (Hebrews 7:25), to make known the Person’ requests, accompanied by thanksgiving for mercies enjoyed and Prayers answered.

Prayer needs direction and instruction. In this passage, Paul outlined the content of Corporate Prayer by Christians. Jesus taught that Prayer involves relationship, reverence, submission, dependence, forgiveness, and trust (Luke 11:1-4). These attitudes must be manifested through the four types of Prayer listed in 1Timothy 2:1-7.

1.2.1 Supplication –

The word “supplication” (deèseis) means an earnest request and implies a sense of indigence (“poor”), helplessness and need. It is a Prayer arising out of a sense of human inadequacy to meet the demand of life. Such a conscious sense of need, either our own or another is essential to all effective Prayer. Without such a sense of need our Prayers lack depth and sincerity, thus, our Prayers often the mere uttering of words that have lost their meaning and value for us

Supplication carries the idea of “offering a request for a felt-need.” The focus of “Supplication” is upon the needs of others and self. The word “Supplication” stresses the idea of intense entreaty, even to the point of begging. Its urgency can be seen by its use in the request of:

  • The Leper (Luke 5:12).
  • The Demoniac (Luke 8:28,38).
  • The father of the possessed child (Luke 9:38,40).
  • The distressed Simon (Acts 4:31), Cornelius (Acts 10:2), Paul (Romans 1:10), Zacharias (Luke 1:13), Anna (Luke 2:37), the Disciples of John the Baptist (Luke 5:33).

James exhorts “the effectual fervent prayer (same word) of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Such Supplications are heard and answered by God (1Peter 3:12).

1.2.2 Prayers –

This is the general term used to include all the different Kinds of Prayer. Supplications (deèseis) can be directed to both God and man, but “prayers” (proseuchas) are addressed only to God, and it is the Reverent term. Prayers could also be translated “humble entreaties.” It is one of the most universal word in the New Testament for Prayers, can only be used of a request made to God and includes Worship, Adoration, and Reverence, and is all-inclusive. Prayer is not just an expression of our wants and needs. There should be Reverence in our hearts as we Pray to God.

1.2.3 Intercession

The term translated as “Intercessions” (enteuxeis) occurs only twice in the New Testament, both times in this Epistle (1Timothy 2:1; 4:5 – translated as “Prayer”). It is based on the verb entugchanó, which is found five times (Acts 25:24; Romans 8:27, 34; 11:2; Hebrews 7:25). The verb means “to fall in with a person, to draw close to him so as to enter into familiar speech and communion with him” (Robert C.Trench. “Synonyms of the New Testament,” p.190).

  • Prayer carries the thought of Reverence; Intercession carries the thought of child-like Confidence in Prayer. Intercession comes from a Greek verb meaning “to fall in with, meeting within order to converse freely, like son to the father.”
  • Trench says the term “Intercession” suggests “Free familiar Prayer, such as boldly draws near to God” (Richard Chenevix Trench, “Synonyms of the New Testament,” Grand Rapids: Eerchmans, 1947, pg.190). This leading thought in the term is that of Boldness of Access, or Confidence in Prayer – 1John 5:14 (NIV) “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
  • Hendriksen suggests that Intercession is “pleading in the interest of others and doing this without ‘holding back’ in any way.” (William Hendriksen, “Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles,” New Testament Commentary, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1957, pg.93).
  • The word “Intercessions” also suggest that we enjoy Fellowship with God in boldness and confidence – Hebrews 10:19 (NIV) “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood Jesus.” The notion of conversation grew out of this, and then an interview with someone in authority. Here the description of Prayer is that of free access to God with childlike confidence. This could be on behalf of others or self.
  • Jewish Leaders, both at Jerusalem and at Caesarea, “dealt” (enetuchon) with the Romans Governor Festus for the execution of Paul (Acts 25:24). Contemporary parallel is the activity of Political Lobbyists. Our Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven (Romans 8:34; Heb.7:25) and the Holy Spirit within the Christian (Romans 8:27) make Intercession for the Christians. Both our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit share an Interpersonal Oneness and Familiarity with the Father. In enteuxeis, a Christian gets close to God before he makes his request. It is an “approach to God in free and familiar prayer” (Kenneth S Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament Vol.12, The Pastoral Epistles, p.39).
  • Jesus prayed for Himself before He prayed for others (John 17). It is not wrong for a Christian to Pray for himself or to Pray for himself as he Intercedes for others. There is a valid factor of self-interest in Prayer that should not be criticised.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

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