There are many Christian believers in today’s world who are crying out to fellow believers to pray earnestly for the nations of the world as well as for their own governments. It is true that many nations around the world are in a perilous state with governments that seem to be out of control and not providing proper care for their people.
This passage of scripture reminds us that such a situation is not what God wants for His creatures. He wants leadership in all nations to rule in such a way that peace and prosperity abound. He knows for that to happen, leaders need to be prayed for. So He nudges Paul to write this letter to the church in Rome urging the believers there to pray for all people but especially for those in leadership.
A]. We Should Pray For All People. Verses 1,2
2:1” First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.”
It really means praying all sorts of prayers for all sorts of people. We see that in the words used here for prayer. They include:-
- Supplication [deēsis; δέησις] a petition, prayer, request. It is asking God to supply the need they present to Him in such a prayer.
- Prayers [proseuchē; προσευχή] prayer in worship; a prayer offered to a Superior One expressing dependency on such a person for their provision.
- Intercessions [enteuxis; ἔντευξις] this type of prayer is prayer asking the Lord to exercise His love and care for the people being prayed for.
- Thanksgivings [eucharistia; εὐχαριστία] gratitude, grateful language (to God, as an act of worship), thankfulness, giving thanks. It recognises that God has provided for the pray-er and now they are thanking Him for His provision.
We Should Pray Especially For Those In Positions Of Authority. Verse 2
2:2 “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.“ God overrules in His world so that some people are appointed to positions of higher authority than others. As Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. “Romans 13:1. It means that those in authority owe their position to God’s overruling. But it also means that they are meant to operate under His authority and are not meant to rule using their own wisdom and resources. If they are operating under God’s rule then they will be acting in accord with His character. That will mean that those under their rule will indeed be living “a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.“
B]. Why We Should Pray For All People. Verses 3, 4
It Is A Good Thing To Do. 3 “This is good, and … .“ “Good” is from [kalos; kαλός] meaning good (literally or morally), or better.
It Is Pleasing To God. … “it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour.” “Pleasing” is from [apodektos; ἀπόδεκτος] meaning acceptable or agreeable. God is pleased when humans come to Him in prayer. It expresses their dependency on Him.
It Is What God Desires. 4 “who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Here Paul expresses the heart of God. The desire in God’s heart is for people to be saved by coming to a knowledge of the truth. He desires that for all people and woos them to receive Him as their Saviour and Lord.
C]. To Whom We Should Pray For All People. Verses 5, 6
Paul reminded his readers why prayer is so important for the believer. 5 “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
In praying to God they were able to do so because of Jesus Christ. He had become man to die as a man for the sins of the world. He became the mediator through His sacrificial death on the cross. Now they could come to God through Him to offer their prayers to God. He was the Messiah 6 “who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.“ “Ransom” is from [antilytron; ἀντίλυτρον] meaning a redemption price paid to secure the freedom of a slave. Christ’s death for sinners had released them from the penalty, and from the power of sin in their lives. They were now free to live as they should, to the glory of God.
D]. The Example Of Paul The Apostle. Verse 7
In order to confirm the truth of what Paul was writing, he adds his credentials. 7 “For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” He had been specifically chosen and appointed by God to be an apostle and as a preacher of the gospel message to the Gentiles [like those in Corinth.]
It is true that prayer is needed for the whole world if it is to operate in a way pleasing to God. This passage sets out a fine template of what believers need to do to bring the desired changes in the world. They are to pray for all people but especially for those with positions of authority. The prayers they pray may be different in character but they are all being offered to God through the mediator Jesus Christ. As such they are pleasing to God for they show their dependence on Him.
The passage also stresses the character of God who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. That is seen in the mention of Jesus as the One Who gave Himself as a ransom for sin. If God has declared His love, mercy and grace to humans in the death of his Son and in offering to hear and answer the prayers of His people then that should motivate them to pray in the way Paul instructs them here.
Blog No.415 posted on Sunday 14 August 2022