Praying for everyone

Here's this week's 'Opening the Bible' blog entry for i.ucc. We're having some great conversations in our Weekly Bible study -- why not join in?

This week’s Bible reading from 1 Timothy 2:1-7 has a ‘First of all’ instruction. It sounds like something to pay attention to.

Pray for everyone.
Pray for leaders (kings and all who are in high positions) so that we may live together in peace.

I wonder what we can do with a little context? This “pray for kings and all who are in high positions” part is often used with Romans 13:1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities” to convince Christians to follow the “party line” when it comes to supporting governmental leaders. Our support is to be unwavering unless, of course, we disagree with our leaders, and then we are to lambaste them and warn of God’s wrath on our nations because we have such wicked leaders, right?

I’ve seen it from both sides and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of leader-bashing when I am at odds with something our leaders do. And I think this week’s reading is addressing people who are in a similar – though not exactly the same – situation.
The readers of this letter endured persecution at the hands of the government – yet the instructions in the letter are not to lambaste, but to pray for all – that all might have peace.

Who are we at odds with? Is it our governmental leaders? Is it leaders of other nations? Is it leaders of other movements?

I think the call on us from this Bible passage is to pray for all – not just the ones we like.

And I don’t think the call is to pray something like "Please, God, make the evil people stop being evil and make them think like we do.”
I think the prayers are to ask God for the wisdom and the love to live in peace with all. I think the prayers are to ask God for ways to make God’s love evident to all.

What do you think?


traci said...

the link to the rob bell interview was supreeeeeeemely helpful. i'm too lazy to go find that post and comment there, but thanks! i'm leading a book study on one of his books. how's the cold?

Kirk said...

You're talking about this
. (In case you want to go to it now!) The cold's much better too!