Jeremiah 30:1-24; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Psalms 86:8-17; Proverbs 20:16-18
NT: “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time. For this I was appointed a herald, an apostle (I am telling the truth; I am not lying), and a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-7 CSB)
I don’t believe that Timothy had to be convinced of this, but Paul said it anyway as a boost to his faith: There is one God. In the first century Roman world, that was not a popular idea. To the Romans, there were many Gods… even different Caesars were declared gods. Not only is there one God, there is only one way to the one God, and that is through His one Mediator, Christ Jesus. Thankfully, the one God loves His creation and desires for everyone to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth. For that reason, in a tremendous act of love and mercy, God sent his Son to save the world. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gave His life to be the ransom for all, so that all who accept His ransom through faith can be reconciled to God and saved.
If God desires for everyone to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth… and if God has done everything through His Son to make that possible, then it is of utmost importance that we as people of God and followers of Christ Jesus, do everything to introduce unsaved people to Jesus. Part of the everything that we are to do is pray. When Paul wrote, “First of all, I urge…” he was stating the primary importance of prayer in fighting the good fight of faith and introducing lost souls to Jesus. Paul urged that petitions be made for everyone. Petitioning involves asking and entreating God on the behalf of someone else. Paul urged that prayers be made for everyone. Praying involves worshipfully laying your life down before God – in this case on behalf of someone else. Paul said that intercessions should be made for everyone. Interceding involves a coming together, where you are actually bearing the burden of another before the Lord. Paul said that thanksgivings be made for everyone. Thanksgiving involves speaking words of gratitude about someone, which in some cases could be hard to do. When Paul said that we should pray for everyone, he wasn’t talking about cursory, “Lord, please bless John and Mary” prayers. He was talking about going to war for people’s souls in prayer. And when Paul said everyone – he wasn’t just talking about everyone you like. He was also talking about everyone you don’t like and all the people that are making life hard for you. I must admit, as I read this, I am convicted of not praying for everyone in that way.
An interesting result comes from earnestly and passionately praying for people – especially for those who position themselves as your enemies. Paul said praying for people like that is good and it pleases God, because in praying for people, we align our hearts with the heart of God who desires everyone to be saved. Paul also said that in praying for people, we position ourselves to lead a tranquil and quiet life that is full of godliness and dignity. In the midst of the rancor-filled years of 2020 and 2021, have Christians gained the reputation of leading tranquil, quiet, godly and dignified lives – or have they gained the reputation of the exact opposite? I’m sure that most Christians were praying over their own situations – but I wonder how much petitioning, praying, interceding and thanksgiving they were doing on behalf of the people who were on the opposite side of the political and social aisle? Remember… there is one God and one Mediator… and His desire is for everyone to be saved. Are our hearts as believers aligned with His?
Psalms: “Lord, there is no one like you among the gods, and there are no works like yours. All the nations you have made will come and bow down before you, Lord, and will honor your name. For you are great and perform wonders; you alone are God. Teach me your way, Lord, and I will live by your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear your name. I will praise you with all my heart, Lord my God, and will honor your name forever. For your faithful love for me is great, and you rescue my life from the depths of Sheol.” (Psalms 86:8-13 CSB)
This psalm is attributed to King David. Just as it was in first-century Rome, the idea of one God was an unpopular belief. Surrounding Israel were nations that believed in and worshipped many gods… but David was able to say, “Lord, there is no one like You. No other god can compare to You… and no other god can do the things that You do.” Because David knew that the Lord God was the one God, he wanted to live according to God’s word, will and ways. He didn’t want his heart to be even remotely attracted to any other god, so he asked God to give him and undivided heart and mind that would honor God and only God forever.
Praying the way that Paul encouraged Timothy to pray develops in us an undivided heart and mind that is willing to walk in the ways of the Lord and is able to reverence and honor His name (His character, His reputation, and His desires). Do we truly believe that there is one God… and that there is only one Mediator to reconcile us to Him by faith? If so, are we willing to fully align our heart with His heart, and make His primary things primary in our lives through faith-filled, earnest and passionate prayer?
Prayer: Lord, you are the one God and You are the one Mediator through whom I can be reconciled to God. Just as David prayed, teach me Your ways and give me an undivided heart to honor You and everything You stand for completely. Give me the same desire You have to see everyone come to a saving knowledge of You – and in giving me that desire, remind me to pray earnestly and passionately for every unsaved soul that I know. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.