Also available as MP3: An Exhortation to Pray – 1 Timothy 2:1-3
Paul charged Timothy to “war a good warfare” (1:18) but exhorts him to pray (2:1), but don’t assume from this that he is not as serious about praying.An exhortation from God is a serious thing. Peter exhorted the Jews to save them-selves from that generation in Israel (Acts 2:40) because the Lord was going to hold them responsible for the death of all prophets (Luke 11:50,51). So Peter’s exhortation was serious, and so was Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to pray.
After telling Timothy to war a good warfare, Paul exhorts Timothy “therefore” to pray (2:1). Every soldier prays before going into battle! This is why after describing the armor of the believer Paul mentions prayer (Eph.6:10-20), since that’s what soldiers do after putting on their armor. We must pray before going out to battle the false doctrines believed by those we wish to witness.
“Supplication” (2:1) is asking for things (IKi.8:52; Esther 4:8). It’s okay to ask for things under grace (Phil.4:6). If you’re wondering what the difference is between supplication and the “prayers” Paul mentions next (2:1), don’t tell anyone, for that would mean you think all prayer is asking for things! Prayer is just talking to Him!
“Intercessions” (2:1) are just prayers for other people (Rom.8:26,27,34). “Giving of thanks” needs no explanation but it could use some exhortation! You’re probably thankful for some things, but Paul says you should be thankful for “all” things (Eph.5:20), even the bad things, as Job did. When he “blessed” God (Job 1:21), he thanked Him (cf. ICor.14;15,16). You are probably also thankful for some of the people in your life, but Paul says to thank God for “all men.” Even the rude and obnoxious ones? How else will you learn patience and longsuffering? Even thank God for enemies? How else will you learn grace? (Rom.5:10).
These four types of prayer are in an order that reflects spiritual maturity. When you were first saved you were always asking for things. Then you began to just pray, then inter-cede for others. Giving thanks is the highest form of prayer.
After telling Timothy to pray, Paul knows he is least likely to want to pray for civil rulers, so he singles them out (2:2). Timothy lived under Nero, a horrible ruler. What kind of supplication can we pray for rulers? How about Psalm 72:1? You can’t pray God will open their heads and pour in good judgment as He did with Solomon in that psalm, but you can pray the Word will have free course (IITh.3:1) all the way to Washington.
If you don’t feel like interceding for your rulers, consider that God told Israel to pray for the rulers that conquered them for in the peace of their city they would have peace (Jer.29:1-7), just as we are to pray for our rulers that we too might live peaceable lives (2:2). When the Jews were re-leased from captivity, Darius remembered they’d prayed for their captors, and that God had blessed Babylon for it, so he gave them money so that they would continue to pray for their rulers now that he was their ruler (Ezra 6:1-9). If you draw the line at giving thanks for rulers (2:2). Well, remember, rulers are God’s “ministers” (Romans 13:3,4), and if you thank God for our ministry at Faith Bible Church, you should thank God for the ministry of rulers.
“Quiet and peaceable” are words used to describe Solomon’s kingdom (I Chron.22:1-9), which was a type of the kingdom (Acts 1:6). That’s why Isaiah used those words to describe the kingdom (Isa.32:18).So when Paul says to pray for rulers so we can have a quiet and peaceable life, he’s saying if you pray for your rulers you can enjoy a bit of heaven on earth! Rulers are less likely to persecute people who they know are praying for them, and you’re less likely to spend all your time complaining about the government. Which means praying for your rulers will give you a quiet and peaceable life in your life. And you’ll live a life in all godliness, for you won’t do something ungodly like rebel against the government, and you’ll live a life in all honesty, for you won’t cheat then in your taxes.
God “our Savior” (2:3) is pleased with this for the gospel can go forth with free course easier in a quiet and peaceable land than in a land of oppression and persecution.