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 quiet and peaceful life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
This passage has become precious to me over the past few weeks. Living in a megacity, it can be literally quite loud. Wedding season is in full swing, so on the weekends we hear one procession after another, horns honking all the way. Yesterday we observed a funeral in front of our building, complete with wailing, screaming and screeching. With the warm weather and long daylight hours, children are noisily playing outside until past my own bedtime. And of course, living in an apartment means that we hear quite a lot of what goes on in our neighbors' homes. Peace and quiet is always a much-desired commodity for small town people like us.
But the political instability here has provided an illustration of the sort of quiet and peaceful life Paul was talking about. Before "something snapped" here, as one journalist phrased it, these verses seemed a good reminder of the need to pray for our leaders. Something to stick into one of those super-organized prayer journals, where you pray for your church on Sunday, coworkers on Monday, government leaders on Tuesday. . .and so forth. Now, as we watch news footage of the violence in certain parts of the city, and peek through the curtains at the protesters marching through our own neighborhood, I understand a bit more of why Paul urged Timothy to pray for those in authority. Paul himself didn't have a quiet and peaceful life as far as outward circumstances go. He guaranteed his readers that they would face persecution. He wasn't naive about the hardships of life, and yet he still held up a quiet, peaceful, godly and dignified life as an urgent subject of prayer.
We are praying that this time of unrest will come to an end quickly. We are especially praying that it will not escalate and that we can put these weeks behind us as a difficult period in which we learned to put our trust more fully in God and in His sovereign plan for all peoples.