“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” – 1 Timothy 2: 1 (NLT).
It is easy for us to pray for the well-being of our family and our loved ones, but it is another thing to pray for the well-being of others that we don’t like. In the context of the persecution of Christians by the Romans government, Apostle Paul asked Pastor Timothy to pray for the good of his government. And not just any prayer, Paul asked Timothy to bring requests, supplication and thanksgiving for the heathen leaders before God. It is not imprecatory prayer- prayer that God will punish those who are evil, but a prayer of thanksgiving on their behalf.
Why did Paul ask Pastor Timothy to do that? In verse 2b, it is stated that the twofold purposes of Paul’s advice are that the believers can live a peaceful life in righteousness and tranquility and also so it will become a testimony that will bring people to the Truth. These purposes in line with the gospel of Jesus that encourages the disciples to pray for those who persecute you.
Our natural tendency is to attack back those who intend to harm us. It is ingrained in our nature to do that, but Jesus asked us to do the opposite (to give another cheek, to walk another mile, to pray for them). What Jesus asked from us is not natural. This is true, because it is supernatural. It is supernatural because natural men cannot do it by themselves. It requires power from the Holy Spirit to enable us to not only forgive those who have wronged us but also for us to pray a sincere pray for the blessings for them.
This advice from Paul to Timothy, is based on the character which is the sovereignty of the Heavenly Father. Paul knew that nothing in this world happened outside the knowledge of God. He permits things, allows things happen in our life to achieve His purpose.
In the middle of that situation or problem in our life, we should not ask God why bad things happen to good people. We should ask God, what He wants us to do or to learn during our trial. In our passage, God’s plan is clear for the church, that the church testimony of Christ in the middle of persecution will become louder and clear for the unbelievers, including the government leaders.
In the world full of natural people, God through Apostle Paul has asked us to be a supernatural believer. No, not a superman nor an ironman, but an ordinary person who lives his life in a supernatural way through the power of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of bringing others to Him.
Believers, let us live a supernatural life for Him so others will see and want to come to know Jesus. Amen.