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."
1 Timothy 2:1,2 (ESV)
In basketball we're taught to pivot with both feet, moving forward and backward. That dynamic footwork forms the backbone of so many other movements in this sport. Other sports are built the same way.
The same goes for the Christian life. As 1 Timothy chapter 2 opens up, “Coach” Paul instructs his “player” Timothy to pivot two ways: pivot in prayer and pivot toward others to establish good footwork in both directions.
PIVOT IN PRAYER: Prayer is multidimensional. Four kinds are mentioned in today's text – requests (expressed personal needs), prayers (simple communion, confession and relational, two-way connection), intercession (going to bat for others) and thanksgiving (expressed gratefulness).
PIVOT TOWARD OTHERS: Prayer must fly for more than me. Scripture here points to words like "intercession," "thanksgiving," and "for everyone." That means that prayer is maybe more about others than I think. "First of all," aim at others with our thoughts and prayers. Make them first priority.
Specifically, Scripture here accents two people groups we must pray for:
KINGS -- the highest ranking ones above us.
ALL OTHER AUTHORITY – anyone else who has dominion over us – parents, pastors, employers, coaches, teachers, government officials, etc.
When we pray for authority over us, we'll leave less room for passing critical judgment and more room for peace and justice to dwell in our land.
Here's one more pivotal note:
PIVOT HAS REWARD: Doing the robust work of pivoting prayer has reward. The Bible says that a peaceful and quiet life, full of godliness and holiness, awaits praying people. Even if the world around us constantly clamors, there's a stillness within. We can constantly pivot through pressure.
Reflect: How skillful are your pivots in prayer? Are all four dimensions being expressed? Which one needs better “footwork”?
Who needs your prayers (intercessions and thanksgivings) today? Take them before our Lord. Are you praying for those in authority over you (or simply tolerating them)? Name an authority and pray for him or her right now.
Are you experiencing the reward of prayer in your life? Mark that well.
A prayer to consider: LORD, be my best confessional place. Help me to pivot through my prayer life and take great delight in interceding for (and thanking You for) others first, especially those in authority over me. I want to keep experiencing a peaceful and quiet life, full of godliness and holiness, the one You have amazingly scripted for me. Through Jesus, Amen.