Would you have put this “first”?

Writing under a regime in which it was legal to break the backs of newly born baby girls and fling them on the rubbish heap, Paul says this as a first instruction for the life of the Church:

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercession, 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.”

When I was newly converted hearing this done in church Sunday by Sunday used to bore me silly. As we follow the Lord longer, by His grace we see His wisdom is better than ours in terms of getting first things first and that zeal and passion are often misguided, dismissing the power that lies in what can seem routine or mundane.

I guess if we are not doing what Paul says we can’t claim to be biblical Christians or a biblical church.

It is amazing how differently we think and speak after we have prayed for someone. It is a proof we are new creations in Christ, according to Paul, that we no longer look at people from a human point of view. Have you not found this miracle that happens in prayer? We start to see things that our own eyes have been blind to because of a whole variety of factors at play. We may see good we have not seen, or need, or faults, or unrighteousness that we have been unwilling to see. We are often blinded by our own insight or prejudices from a fuller picture. We rise from prayer changed. The person or situation we have just prayed about in the way Paul describes may not have changed but we have changed in a way that allows us to become channels of God’s purposes rather than our own.

Another interesting verse that was in my Bible a reading today, quoted in the context of being what seems like an apology from Paul as to how he had spoken to a godless former High Priest (whom he had not recognised due to trouble with his sight): “You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.”

How inconvenient, how ruffling the Word of God can be to the feathers of our pride.

Believe me, I am preaching to myself here. As I do, I am remembering what R.T.Kendall says about a sign of growing spirituality: closing the time gap between God speaking and my obedience.

God bless


One comment on “Would you have put this “first”?

  1. Angela says:

    A couple of things struck me personally in this post, apart from the horrible practice of infanticide and abortion practised by most nations throughout history:
    1. It’s only relatively recently that I noticed the conditional benefit quoted from 1 Tim 2. In the NIV and various others, it says, ‘…pray for all people.’ and then mentions those in authority. That’s all encompassing!
    2. ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’; I often wondered why Paul did not recognise the High Priest but in addition why should Paul not speak truth and point out double standards? Surely that is not ‘speaking evil’?’ Jesus did not tolerate hypocrisy either.
    Paul was quick, in the circumstances, to apologise, certainly; an example for us all.


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