Emperor Nero was the ruler of the world when Paul, the Apostle, was alive. Nero is famous for murdering his mother, Agrippina, and two of his wives. Nero is most famous for fiddling and dancing while Rome burned the evening of July 18, 64AD. When popular opinion began to turn against him for setting the fire, he blamed Christians. Nero then launched one of the most vicious extermination campaigns against Christians that the world had seen.
How would you pray if you lived under the rule of Nero?
Paul lived in the Roman Empire when Nero was on the throne and wrote these instructions to Timothy.
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” -1 Timothy 2:1-2
There is only one true heavenly King. Paul knew that it is God sets up earthly kings and gives them a measure of His delegated authority (Rom. 13:1). We should call on God to work His will and purposes through earthly kings and everyone in a power position.
God commands Christians to pray for all who are in authority so that we can manage the details of getting along in everyday life without undue hassle and resistance. Our Christian responsibility is to pray for our President, MP’s, city leaders, Police officers, and every other leader vested with civic authority. The goal is to live peacefully in godliness and dignity.
Paul believed that a praying church could affect national policy and change the country’s cultural climate. This prayer’s goal is not that we can live hassle-free (as lovely as that sounds), but that we would not offend those in a position to hinder our mission of taking the gospel of salvation to all people (4-6).
John Kitchen comments, “Our prayer should be that we might live daily lives free of the controversies and conflicts that might arise with people of power – not so we can be comfortable but so that we might outwardly, fully and appropriately evidence the inward reality of our faith relationship with God through Christ.”
Christian, “pray for earthly peace, not so that you might be comfortable, but that you might be fruitful.”