I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a 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 people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.

1 Timothy 2:1-6

It has been common in my experience as a regular church-attender from childhood to hear men praying for the leaders of the land. This is a good thing, and based in a Biblical teaching but perhaps lacking context. Paul is concerned with the Ephesian church’s response to authority. The same fervor that enabled them to burn their books of magic (Acts 19:19) and reject the power of the pagan gods was potentially disruptive in their obedience to the True and Living God. He begins the letter by stating the purpose of law: to punish lawbreakers. But there can be no law without an authority to enforce it, and the King we get our commands from is Jesus, the Anointed One of God.

All of this leads into the discussion above and then into the authority and honor due to elders. What we are praying for, in the above passage and in our own prayers, is not merely “Christian-approved decisions” but Godly people in positions of authority! The kings and all in authority are mentioned with all people, and then we see “God wants all people to be saved!” There could be no more direct statement than that!

So what does that mean for us? The Gospel mission is paramount! We should seek the salvation of all, especially those in positions of authority, because we wish to see even more come to salvation by the Godly behavior of those who hold such positions.

Ethan Kirl