We should pray for ALL PEOPLE! No doubt, this is easier said than done, yet we must do so. Consider the words of Paul written to Timothy…
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:1-6)
As we read these words from Paul, we do well to notice a few things…
First, notice that Paul writes “First of all.” This means “of first importance.” If you are familiar with 1 Timothy, you know that Paul is writing to Timothy to encourage him to deal with the false teachers that have arisen among the church in Ephesus. And the place to start is by returning the times of which they gather together into times of prayer.
Second, Paul wrote that we should pray for ALL PEOPLE. And when he says all people, he means ALL PEOPLE. Did you notice that Paul mentioned authority figures such as kings? It might be tempting for persecuted believers to omit praying for the leaders responsible for their persecution, but Paul puts them first on the list.
Third, Paul specified that the church should pray for peace so that they may live a life honoring to God. In a world of hostility, a life of peace does much to show the goodness of God as believers trust in Him. Paul wanted the church in Ephesus to live lives that demonstrate hope in the midst of potential crises of the day.
And fourth, Paul wanted to make it clear that the reason he was encouraging prayer for all people was because there is only one God for all people who wants all people to be saved. And it is this one God who has given himself as the ransom in which all are to be saved. “It is the fact that Christ died for all men,” writes J.N.D. Kelly, “without any kind of favoritism, that makes it obligatory for Christians to pray for all without distinction.”
So do we PRAY FOR ALL? In a world full of chaos, violence, and terrorism, do we realize that God died for all and therefore, we must pray for even those who seem to us the least likely to deserve God’s grace?
I admit this is hard to do. And yet it is something that I believe if we practice, it will change not only our hearts, but the hearts of those we pray for. Therefore, will you pray for ALL PEOPLE?