First of All

 

I exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, 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 Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Timothy 2:1-6)

 

In 1 Timothy 1:17, Paul concluded a brief biographical note with praise to God: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

When Paul wrote that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15), he was rejoicing in God’s amazing grace.

The eternal, invisible, immortal, all-wise God deserves all the honor and glory forever and ever. If we know that He has saved us, then we ought to give Him the highest and greatest praise! Here is what the Lord told us to do, “first of all.”

 

“First of all” — What should we do?

The God of this magnificent saving grace is the God to whom we pray. It is our first and most important responsibility to pour out our hearts before Him. In 1 Timothy 2:1, we learn that we should pour out our hearts before Him in supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks.

“Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life.”

Supplications are the urgent pleas that we address to God. When you hear of a terrible accident, or a bad news from a medical test, or the impending breakup of a family, make supplications before the Lord. We also make these pleas when we need wisdom for some pressing decision. Pour out your heart before Him.

Prayers are the routine or periodic visits with the Lord where we consciously come before Him. The Lord would be pleased for us to come “at all times.” The more “routine” it is, the better. Jonathan Edwards said that, “Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life.” As we learn to practice “abiding in the Lord,” our goal will be to bring every thought into “obedience to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We learn the joy of abiding fellowship with the Lord. With Him present, if we are thinking about something, we can be praying about that “something.”

“. . .as He opened Lydia’s heart at Philippi. . .”

Intercessions are those meetings or conversations with the Lord in which we diligently make requests for others. Pray that the Lord would open someone’s heart, as He opened Lydia’s heart at Philippi (Acts 16:40). Watch joyfully as they begin to pay careful attention to God’s Word. Make intercession before God’s throne for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray that they would be “strengthened with might in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16). Make your intercession before the One who is able to do far more than you could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

Thanksgiving describes the right attitude with which we would approach the Lord – with gratitude and appreciation for all that He has done. Paul wrote, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7). The right approach to the Lord is to come with an attitude of gratitude.

 

“First of all” — For whom should we do this?

“. . . for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority;”

We ought to meet with the Lord to pray for people: God’s image-bearers. The Lord desires that they would come to the knowledge of God’s Truth and be saved (1 Timothy 2:4)! Take the time to make a list of people you know who need the Lord and pray for those people. Be an intercessor, like Moses, power the people around you.

What is the next right response to the worst “political news” you hear?

The Lord also wants us to make it a priority to pray “for kings and for all those in authority.” What is the next right response to the worst “political news” you hear? Pray for all those in authority. The public debate of governmental policies is important; prayer is much more important. When we pray, we treat these authorities the way Nehemiah did in Nehemiah 2:4. When the king asked him what he was requesting, Nehemiah tells us, “So I prayed to the God of heaven.” Nehemiah ushered his human king into the Presence of his Heavenly King, and we ought to do the same.

 

“First of all” — Why should we do this?

“. . .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 Savior.” In these turbulent times, the right thing to do is pray! The God of Peace gives peace. When there is civil unrest, prayer is the next right choice. When enemies rise at the borders, cry out to your Heavenly King. This is what He finds to be good and acceptable – for His people to depend upon Him and trust Him at all times. Pour out your heart before the Lord, and watch Him bring forth His majestic plan.

Gordon Dickson