The term “Giving of thanks” indicates the attitude in which our Prayers are to be offered. It is an Attitude of Gratitude to God for all the Blessings that have already been given and received.
- The term “Giving of thanks” means “to say something good (eu) to the one who has bestowed gracious gifts (charis) upon us.” Prayer and the “Giving of Thanks” (eucharistias) are inseparable (Daniel 6:10; Philippians 4:6). Paul counselled: “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1Thessalonians 5:17-18):
- The plural noun, “Thanksgiving,” denotes that Apostle Paul has in view not merely the inner attitude of gratitude but the repeated public expressions of Thanksgiving to God for His Blessings.
- Thanksgiving is the complement (harmonise) of all true Prayer. Thanksgiving prepares the heart to appreciate God for His gracious Blessings. Thanksgiving prevents selfishness and coldness in Prayer – Psalm 100:4 “Enter into His gate with thanksgiving, and into His Courts with Praise, be thankful to Him, and bless His Name. for the LORD is good; His Mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.”
- We must be thankful to God for His Blessings upon us in our past, present, and future. We must thank God for His Answers to Prayers even before those answers are received.
- In fact, sometimes we need to imitate David and present to God only Thanksgiving with no petition at all (Psalm 103). A mark of Ecclesiastical Apostasy in the End-of-the-Age will be “an unthankful and murmuring attitude” (2Timothy 3:2; Jude 15-16).
- Prayer and Supplication with thanksgiving are a part of Paul’s formula for God’s Peace in our hearts” (Philippians 4:6). It is worth noting that Daniel, the Great Prayer Warrior, practiced this kind of Praying (Daniel 6:10-11).
1.3 The Scope of the Prayer Ministry
1Timothy 2:1d-2a “Be made for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority.” The Scope of the Praying being exhorted upon the Church is all inclusive. The people who are the object Prayers are indicated by the preposition “for” (huper). Although the word “for” occurs three times in the English translation, it appears only twice in the Greek text. “All men, for Kings and for all that are in Authority” should be the Recipients of all Four types of Prayer. The verb “be made” (poieisthai) shows that such Prayer should be a constant priority within the Church. It should be exercised at each Service, not just on National Holiday.
1.3.1 For All Men
(pantón anthrópón) make it clear that no Person on earth is outside the influence of believing Prayer. This exhortation transcends the ordinary scope of the Prayers heard in Churches today! Seldom do the Prayers of the Local Church reach beyond its Local Fellowship or Denomination. One writer state: “Very seldom, in large churches or in small churches, or even in spiritual churches, have I heard a prayer for all men. Those who pray scarcely reach further than their own churches. Some pray a little for the Missionaries overseas; but if we could cover all men through our prayers, what might not happen” (“Prayer That is Good in God’s Sight,” “The Prophetic Word,” November 1949, pg.614).
- The First Group of Recipients (“all men”) is very general. The classification “all men” includes the Christians and non-Christians, men, women, and children. No racial, political, economic, or social class is excluded. The word envelops men of all Levels of Society.
- This means that we should Pray for the unsaved and the saved, for people near us and people far away, for enemies as well as friends.
- We cannot Pray for everybody in the world by name, but we certainly ought to Pray for those we know and know about.
- This exhortation to Pray for all men is God’s way of safeguarding His Church against self-centredness. Believers are always prone to be so preoccupied with their own interests that their Prayers tend to be confined to their own concern.
- The Church that Prays for all men is thus continually reminded of its Commission to bring the Message of Salvation to all men. Many people and Nations have not been reached because God’s people failed to pray!
- Lenski remarks on Prayer for all men: “If such praying were useless, the apostle would not write what he here does write” (R. C. H. Lenski, “The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and the Philemon,” Columbus, Ohio: Lutheran Book Concern, 1937, pg.549).
- Unfortunately, the Pharisees did not have this universal outlook in their Prayers, for they centred their attention primarily on self – Luke 18:11-12 “The Pharisees stood and prayed thus with himself, God I thank Thee that I am not as other men are extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax-collector. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess.”
1.3.2 – Leaders
Paul exhorts the Church to especially pray for “Kings, and for all that are in Authority.” Because people live in National Groupings, the Church must also Pray for Rulers of the Nations.
- Godless Emperor Nero was on the throne at that time, and yet Christians were encouraged by Paul to pray for him. If Paul commands Christians to pray for such a “King,” surely no man is to be regarded as beyond the realm in which Christian Intercessors must feel a sympathy and concern.
- We must learn to respect the people in authority, respecting even the offices they hold, because they profoundly influenced the life of the people of the Nation, State or Church.
- Christians should first recognise that God has ordained the Human Institution of Government to administer Law within the Society (Romans 13:1-6).
- Jesus teaches that there is no innate (inborn) conflict between God and the State (Matthew 22:15-22).
- Problems of conscience and obedience develop when the State moves into an area not assigned to it by God (Acts 4:19; 5:29).
- In allegiance to the Sovereign Authority of God over the Delegated Authority of the Government, Home and Church, Christians should render honour and support to their Leaders (Romans 13:7).
- Peter tersely commanded: “Honour all men, love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King” (1Peter 2:17).
- Christians also acknowledge that God is in absolute control of the affairs of the Nations. God removes and replaces Rulers (Daniel 2:21). They perform His (God’s) Pleasure (Isaiah 44:28). Within His (God’s) Permissive Will such Nations and Rulers are morally responsible for wars and assassinations.
- God, however, works in and through the actions of men whether those deeds are good or evil, to accomplish His ultimate will (Ephesians 1:11). Christians confess that all Governments will eventually surrender their Delegated Authority to the Lord Jesus Christ at His Return to the earth to establish His Eternal Kingdom (Revelation 11:15; 19:11-16).
- For this reason, Paul exhorts that Prayer should be offered for those in Secular and Spiritual Authority, which has two subcategories: “For Kings, and all that are in Authority.” The first word, “Kings,” refers to National Leaders. For each Kingdom, there is a King or President. The second phase: “for all that are in authority” applies to Leaders in general. Few Christians have direct relationships with the Kings, but all Christians will have relationships with Leaders whether at Personal or Local Level. Regardless, Christians have the responsibility to Pray for those who presently “are” (ontón) in Leadership.
To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..