Prayer for the Lost in Authority.

The best way to develop a burden for the lost is to pray for them. Christ himself gave us an example of this in John 17:20-26. Evangelism is a key part of disciple-making living, which governs every part of our lives as Christians. Without this eternal purpose, life would be pretty mundane!

Sometimes, Bible verses like Proverbs 1:14-19, James 4:4, and 1 Peter 3:15 are mistakenly used to deter Christians from forming friendships with unsaved people. But we must have friendships of integrity in order to be a testimony in a dark world. A burden for the lost helps keep the church pure.


Last week's sermon covered the Fervency of evangelistic prayer. We continue in 1 Timothy 2 as Paul instructs Timothy on this high priority for the local church.

Focus (verses 1b-2)

Our evangelistic prayer should ask God for the salvation of everyone on the earth, especially for "kings and all those in authority." Whether elected or appointed, national or international, praying for all leaders to be saved is appropriate and necessary for believers. Then we pray for all the people those leaders represent, from the top down. This will develop our spiritual burden for all people.

Fruit (verse 2b)

God honors such prayer with further Gospel opportunity in the culture. The "tranquil and quiet life" is not the American dream life of ease. The church to whom Paul wrote lived under the despotic rule of Nero. Our life will never be devoid of conflict. In fact, we should expect opposition to our faith. But we can pray for an environment that doesn't prohibit us from being witnesses for Christ.

The word "tranquil" refers to a life free of outside disturbances. A culture where Christians pray evangelistically will be more free of military conflict that inhibits the opportunity to witness. The word "quiet" refers to a lack of disturbance inside the church or home. The same word is used in an evangelistic context in 1 Peter 3:4. We will have spiritual influence among those closest to us as we pray evangelistically.

Purposeful prayer habits also produce godliness and dignity. Our lives will continue to honor God as we grow in our personal testimony and disposition and our decision-making. We will display a moral ethic that is fair and true like our Lord's. Prayer precludes having an attitude with our leaders.

Foundation (verses 3-7)

1 Timothy 2:3 tells us that the command to pray is "good and acceptable" to God. Living evangelistically makes God smile! Paul describes four other things that our prayer does:

  • Reverences God

The phrase "God our Savior" is used five times in the pastoral epistles. It highlights Christ as both our Creator and Sustainer and reinforces our responsibility to Him as our Savior.

  • Reminds Us of God's Desire

God longs for all people to come to a saving knowledge of Him. This is not a general knowing about God, but a full and mature knowledge.

  • Rehearses God's Plan

Jesus is the one mediator between a holy God and sinful humans. This was His one mission in His life on earth. He took the curse of sin for us and holds the keys of authority over death. He has the right to tell us the one way to God.

  • Repeats God's Heart

Paul states his commission from God to remind us of the mission for every Christian. The Gospel is for all people, and every believer is a laborer in the work of evangelism.

Application Points

  • Do you desire to please God? Live and pray evangelistically. Every believer is responsible to share the Gospel with others. But all our work is useless without prayer.
  • Is your prayer list prioritized? This passage indicates that we should pray from the top down, from leaders to those they govern and represent. Try it and see what the Holy Spirit does with your burden for lost souls.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 2 Corinthians 4, 1 Corinthians 9 – We should expect opposition because of our faith, just like Paul.
  • Titus 3:1-8 – Paul gives similar instruction to another young pastor.
  • Isaiah 45:22, Isaiah 55:1, 1 John 2:2-3, John 3:16 – God longs for all people to come to a saving knowledge of Him.
  • Job 9:33, Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews 9:15 – Jesus as our mediator.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Jesus Saves"

We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Bear the news to every land, Climb the steeps and cross the waves;
Onward!—’tis our Lord’s command; Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Waft it on the rolling tide, Jesus saves, Jesus saves;
Tell to sinners far and wide, Jesus saves, Jesus saves;
Sing, ye islands of the sea, Echo back, ye ocean caves;
Earth shall keep her jubilee, Jesus saves, Jesus saves.

Sing above the battle’s strife, Jesus saves, Jesus saves;
By His death and endless life, Jesus saves, Jesus saves;
Sing it softly thru the gloom, When the heart for mercy craves,
Sing in triumph o’er the tomb, Jesus saves, Jesus saves.

Give the winds a mighty voice, Jesus saves, Jesus saves;
Let the nations now rejoice. Jesus saves, Jesus saves;
Shout salvation full and free, Highest hills and deepest caves,
This our song of victory, Jesus saves, Jesus saves.