I Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV)
1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—
2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
Paul tells us to pray for everyone, then specifically for kings and those in authority. What does that phrase actually "kings and those in authority" mean? First, consider this. Another way to think of authority is influence. Influence, some times, has more power than real position. For example, consider how much authority, or influence, Bill Gates wields without being in government. So, if we take Paul's statement at face value, it means we should be identifying the the influencers, current and future, for business, law, medicine, education, government, and the Church, and praying for them.
For political leaders, the real influence is often wielded by their staff members and advisors. This is often true of business leaders as well. There are many areas of authority in any given nation or culture. Do you want to impact a given arena of your local area? Find the influencers. Pray for God's influence to overwhelm them and bring them into the Kingdom as born again children of the Most High God.
Praying for them is important. But, identifying them is more important. Consider when Jerusalem was under siege during the days of Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah declared that those who surrendered and went out to submit to the Babylonian king would live.
Jeremiah 21:8-9 (NIV)
8 "Furthermore, tell the people, 'This is what the LORD says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death.
9 Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; he will escape with his life.'"
Admittedly, this was during a time of judgment on Israel. None the less, it is clear that Nebuchadnezzar was the appointed man of God for that hour and season. Hence, the command from Paul to pray for those already in authority. And, we have the confession of Nebuchadnezzar's conversion in Daniel telling us the result.
So, pray for God to reveal His appointed leaders and influencers, current and future. And, pray for them, not just against their ungodly habits. Don't be surprised if he reveals someone who does not fit the Biblical ideal. Continue praying, regardless of the turmoill, upheaval or confusion that may be going on. Paul tells us this results in living peaceable lives, in godliness and holiness. And, that is worth having.
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