Paul, writing to his apprentice, Timothy, is helping Timothy on his focus of being a pastor. And part of Timothy's training is about thanks and prayer. In 1st Timothy 2:1-2:
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.
Thanks and Prayer:
Paul starts Timothy by telling him to give thanks for all people. This includes all who may be hostile to the Church and the message of Jesus. For through prayer and conversation, those who are hostile to Jesus may become believers in Jesus. You never know what God will do through our faith, prayer, and witness.
Paul is also instructing Timothy to pray and gives thanks for the leaders of empires, countries, communities, and the like. Paul instructs Timothy to give thanks for and pray for those who may be "hostile" to God and the Church that Timothy is leading.
The World Back Then:
In their time, the world, the people, and the government were hostile to the Church. Believers were being tortured and killed because they believed in Jesus, by whose life, death, resurrection, and ascension they were saved. In some places and some times, believers in Jesus were vilified because others didn't believe and come to know the truth of Jesus.
And why is Paul concerned about those who are hostile to the way of the Church? So that the Church may live in peace and joy.
Our World Today:
So not only is Paul teaching Timothy, as a pastor in training, to pray and give thanks for those who are openly against him, Paul is saying the same thing to us.
So we, as believers who live in an environment of distrust of our message, or conflict with our message, or even open hostility to our message of life with Jesus, pray for those who are against us. We pray for all people so that they will be open to our life of grace with Jesus.
Yes, it is "natural" for us to experience fear, anger, and even hostility to those who are hostile to us. We hate that our message of salvation is being twisted. We hate that people's minds and hearts are so closed off to the simplicity of faith. We want all people, even those who are against us, to come to the knowledge of the truth of Jesus and His life for us.
Pray and Give Thanks:
So we pray for them. We give thanks for those in authority. Because I cannot stay afraid and angry and hostile while I'm praying and thanking. It doesn't happen. And I venture a guess it is the same way with you when you pray and give thanks.
Dear God and Father, I give thanks to You for all the blessings that you give. You gave life to people so that they will come to know You as the source of life and hope. I pray for them that You, even through me, bring Your saving grace from Jesus to them. I pray and gives thanks to those in authority. I pray and give thanks for the President, Vice President and his cabinet and advisors. I pray that they are open to Your directing and leading. I pray for the House of Representatives and the Senate. I pray and give thanks for them and their service to our country. I pray that they work together for peace and quiet life in godliness and dignity. I pray and give thanks for our Governor, Representatives and Senators here in Texas as well as every state in our Union. Bless them and guide them. I pray for our County Commissioners that their work is for the betterment of the people of Walker County. I pray for our Mayor, City Manager, Council members, and all of Huntsvilles employees in leading Huntsville in being a great place to live and express our faith in Jesus. We pray all of this in His, name, Amen
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.