Bible Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-7
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayer, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.” (1 Timothy 2:1)
Paul’s first exhortation to Timothy is to pray for all kinds of people, including the king, those in high positions, and those around him as well. So why was prayer Paul’s first advice?
His answer is in the following verses, “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Timothy 2:3-6).
We must pray before any kind of ministry to anyone because salvation is found only through Jesus Christ. There is no other alternative. Other gods from other nations or religions cannot save. The naturalist worldview offered by science cannot save. Only because of Christ’s ransom, a person can be forgiven of their sins and reconciled with God.
To be able to believe in God is a gift from God. There will be no fruit if God’s Spirit does not work through the words we say or the gospel we share. God is the one who builds His kingdom; we are only His tools. Therefore, we must pray for God to work in and through us. More precisely, we must plead for the grace to be included in God’s wondrous works because God could accomplish His work without us. Therefore, we must ask for the privilege to partake in His work.
In addition to this, Paul mentions how God desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. This does not mean that all people will be saved, as later in the same epistle, Paul clearly refutes this idea (see 1 Timothy 4:1). However, Paul says this to proclaim that the gospel is not only restricted to the Jews or a specific people group. It does not matter how sinful you are or how broken you are. God’s salvation applies to you if you would believe in Him.
Comparing with 2 Timothy 2:25, we find that God may “perhaps” grant repentance. God has no prejudice, but those who receive mercy and those who don’t are concealed in His eternal goodness and wisdom.
And so, before any sort of ministry, we should pray that God has mercy on those we minister to and that God would show His favour to give them mercy to repent. In the end, all is in God’s hands — perhaps He might grant them repentance. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. Because of this, God calls us to pray, to learn to rely on Him, and grow in trusting Him.
Lord, please teach us how to pray. Teach us that apart from You, we cannot do anything. You desire all people to be saved. You have a plan to restore Your kingdom and bring people back from all nations. Please have mercy on us and use us to be Your instruments in a little section of Your grand plan. Give us an evangelical spirit and a burden to pray for lost souls. In Jesus’ name, amen.