Psalm 72:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Michael D McCullar, in Sessions with Timothy & Titus (Smyth & Helwys, 2006), p. 16, discusses how difficult it must have been for Christians of that day to pray for “kings and all who are in high positions”:
In 2:1-2, [Paul] commands prayer for all people, specifically kings and all who are in authority. The ramifications of this instruction are huge. In the act of intercession, all people must be lifted up to God as a part of the prayer act. Inherent in Christian intercession is the idea that the people prayed for are actually loved or, at least to some degree, appreciated. By including kings and all people in authority, Paul added an additional degree of difficulty to an already unnatural act. To move beyond personal needs of the praying person is an act of selflessness, but to do so for a ruthless, pagan emperor was beyond comprehension. Pray for Nero?! You must be kidding me!
Paul did indeed have Nero and other Roman, Greek, and Hebrew rulers in mind with this command. At this time in history, there were no Christian rulers in existence in any place in the known world. The early believers were under growing persecution from Rome and the hostile Jews, both of whom would turn on the church with unprecedented ferocity just six to eight years later.
Reading the Scripture
Here are some ways you might read the scripture or tell the story:
o The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible (“presented by a stellar ensemble of today’s top-name actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and award-winning producers.” Available from Keith).
o Faith Comes by Hearing: You’ve Got the Time (Dramatized New Testament we used a few years ago during Lent. Available in the library and the church office.)
• Remind class members of the guidelines for healthy dialogue.
• Pray: Take plenty of time during this session to pray for our government leaders. A list of some elected officials is included after this session. Let class members add others to the list. Use the list to pray for our leaders. Here are some suggestions:
o Divide the class into small groups and assign different elected officials to each group to pray for.
o Use the types of prayer suggested in 1 Timothy 2:1 as a prayer guide:
• Supplications – “asking with urgency based on personal need” (Formations Study Guide, p. 56)
• Intercessions – “praying for others”
• Thanksgivings – “expressing gratitude for blessings or benefits”
o Suggest the following prayer exercise: “The Formations Study Guide challenges us to ‘pray for men and women for whom we didn’t vote [or won’t vote] and with whose ideas we don’t agree’ (p. 55). Joe Biden and Paul Ryan were recently in our town for the vice-presidential debate. There’s a good chance you are for one and against the other when it comes to your presidential vote coming up on November 6. Without revealing who, pray silently for the vice-presidential candidate with whom you least agree.”
o Use this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer (referred to in the Formations Study Guide, p. 54) and consider expanding it to include other government leaders by name:
Let us pray for all nations and peoples of the earth, and for
those in authority among them;
For [Barack Obama], the President of the United States
For the Congress and the Supreme Court
For the Members and Representatives of the United Nations
For all who serve the common good
That by God's help they may seek justice and truth, and live in peace and concord.
o Write prayer letters to government leaders as suggested in “From Theory and Practice” in the Formations Teaching Guide (p. 49).
• The Lord’s Prayer, we pray each Sunday, includes the prayer, “Thy Kingdom come thy will be done.”
o When we pray that our leaders will lead with justice for the poor, deliverance for the needy, and peace, we are praying for “God’s kingdom come.”
I have set aside a shelf in the library with resources for Sunday School teachers. I will place there resources of general interest and some specifically applicable to current lessons.
• For additional commentary on the text see these commentaries in our library:
o Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
o Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)
• Sessions with Timothy & Titus, Michael D McCullar (Smyth & Helwys, 2006). Available in Keith’s office.
Pray for our Elected Officials
Hon. Harold W. McKinney
Boyle County Fiscal Court
321 West Main Street, Room 111
Danville, KY 40422
Hon. Bernie R. Hunstad
Mayor, City of Danville
445 West Main Street/P.O. Box 67
Danville, KY 40423
Representative Mike Harmon
House District 54
633 N 3rd St
Danville KY 40422
702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 429C
Frankfort KY 40601
Senator Tom Buford
Senate District 22
Boyle, Fayette (part), Garrard, Jessamine
409 W Maple St
Nicholasville KY 40356
702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 252
Frankfort KY 40601
Contact Governor Beshear
700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
The Honorable Ben Chandler
United States House of Representatives
1504 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-1706
Contact Form: https://chandler.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
1010 Monarch Street, Suite 310
Lexington, KY 40513
The Honorable Rand Paul
United States Senate
208 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1703
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1702
President Barack Obama
Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure your message gets to the White House as quickly as possible.
1. If possible, email us! This is the fastest way to get your message to President Obama. http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments
2. If you write a letter, please consider typing it on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper. If you hand-write your letter, please consider using pen and writing as neatly as possible.
3. Please include your return address on your letter as well as your envelope. If you have an email address, please consider including that as well.
4. And finally, be sure to include the full address of the White House to make sure your message gets to us as quickly and directly as possible:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500