Updated: Jun 2, 2020
1 Timothy 2:1-2 - 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.
If you know anything about me, you know I love nature. My Instagram feed is filled with pictures I take when I go for walks at local parks. I love being outside, enjoying the sunshine and the cool breeze. When I see something that is especially majestic to me, like a rainbow, a shooting star, or a pink sunset, I often thank God for it. I am regularly amazed by His creation.
Over the course of the past couple months, I found myself growing jaded with humanity. News articles were dispiriting as tensions continued to increase everywhere. I found my depression and feelings of hopelessness mounting over everything that was happening in our society. I even become angry at times. Walking outside in the fresh air was one of the only things that took my mind off of my growing anger, depression, and hopelessness.
Then, a few days ago, I started a Bible study from Hello Mornings called, "The Faithful Household of God." On day four, the study discussed 1 Timothy 2:1-2 - 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. (emphasis mine)
The author, Jennifer Hong, then stated,
"Paul asks Timothy and the Ephesian church to pray for those in authority, “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (verse 2). Consider the historical context. Nero was the brutal Roman Emperor during Paul’s ministry. Nero ordered the death of his own mother and killed his first wife. He became infamous for the persecution of Christians, particularly following the great fire of Rome in 64 A.D. Later, both Paul and Peter were among the Christians martyred under Nero. The threat to the Church’s “peaceful and quiet life” was immense."
When I read this, I realized something: I thank God for His creation of nature all the time. But I never, ever, thank Him for His creation of human beings! I've never once prayed for all of humanity, or asked God to intercede on their behalf. I have rarely ever prayed for those in charge, especially not leaders of other countries! I realized that all this time, I have been hosting the sin of pride within myself!
I sat down, confessed my sin, and prayed a prayer for others. Within a few moments, my depression and feelings of hopelessness were gone.
Right now, we don't live under the rule of Nero, like Paul did (which I am very thankful for.) However, Paul commanded us to pray for all people, whether or not we like them. It doesn't matter if we feel like these people are threatening our peace, (like Nero did in Paul's day.) It doesn't matter if they have different views, are a different age, a different race, different political party, or are from a different country. As Christians, we are commanded to pray for everyone, to give thanks for them, and to ask God to intercede on their behalf!
Paul understood the importance for Christians to live differently - to pray for others, to shine the light, and to show love for the world. He knew that that's the only way we will live peaceful and fulfilled lives with those around us. He knew that praying for others is the ultimate prayer for depression and hopelessness, because we take our focus off of our feelings and instead, put the focus on other people! Rather than causing more strife by getting angry at others, taking sides, or sharing depressing news articles on social media, (which are all things I took part in) we should be praying for our leaders, praying for the sick, praying for our pastors and church family, and praying for those who don't know Christ yet.
Moving forward, I made three action steps for myself. If you feel called to, I challenge you to do them (or even one of them) with me!
I am no longer going to scroll through social media. To be blunt, the only thing I really gain from scrolling is depression, anger, or at the very least, wasted time. I will still update my own pages and check up on my friends and followers, but this is the extent of my social media usage until further notice.
I am no longer going to read the news. This might sound counter-productive to some of you. But, I have found that the things I really need to know, I will find out about in one way or another. The rest of it is just unneeded discord for me.
I am going to take time to pray for people and give thanks for them every single day! This includes world leaders, governors, mayors, community leaders, pastors, church family, my own family, school teachers, those who are not saved, those in prison, and anyone else I may have forgotten.
Can we pray together?
Thanks so much for Your love for me! I thank You that You love everyone so much that You ask Your followers to pray for them, so that they might have Your blessings too! It is just another way You show the world Your immense love! Thank You also for Your Son, Jesus, who died for us so that we can have eternal life. In His name we pray,