Adjustments Through Prayer
“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. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time” (1.Timothy 2:1-6, NLT).
This may be a common passage for you. We often use it in prayer meetings when praying for a nation. We see that Paul first encourages Timothy to pray for everyone, and then more specifically to pray for leaders.
Let’s notice a couple things here first: “all” and “everyone” are mentioned several times. And, while the “peaceable and quiet lives” do benefit us, the real goal here is for “everyone to be saved and to understand the truth”. This is the message of the Gospel; the price has already been paid for everyone.
The Word of God is our standard — we measure our life by it. As we read and study the Word, the Holy Spirit will reveal areas we may need to adjust. Our spirits are made new, but we must still renew our mind and submit our will to His. This passage on prayer is a measuring stick.
So how can we actually pray for “all people” when we don’t know everyone? One way to check whether we need need to adjust something in our will, emotions, and prayer life is to ask ourselves this: Is there anyone I am intentionally not praying for... and why? This question can reveal offense, pride, and unforgiveness in our life, and these are things we must not hold on to. We may have been hurt by someone. We may disagree with someone. We may not like someone very much. We may think someone is wrong. We may have not voted for someone. We may feel horrified over something someone has done. We may have heard something bad about someone. But notice that Paul does not leave anyone out; there are no exceptions, no excuses. Jesus said “Love your enemies, bless those cursing you, do good to those hating you, and pray for those accusing you falsely, and persecuting you” (Matthew 5:44, YLT).
One benefit of prayer I have experienced in my own life is this: as I intentionally pray for others in this way (ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them) that my heart turns toward these individuals. I become invested in their well-being. I desire their good. My will for them has adjusted to reflect God’s will for them. We may not see the results immediately in their life, but we will see adjustments in ours.