This article/commentary examines 1 Timothy 2:1-4 regarding how to pray for those who aren’t believers yet and how to pray for the leaders of our nation.

Today we wrap up our first series of messages on First. We have been looking at what God wants us to have as a priority in our lives.

  • We have seen that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength.
  • We then examined what it means to be first or great in God’s kingdom and learned you must have a servant’s mindset and heart.
  • Last week we looked at the importance of forgiving others in our lives.

Today we are going to focus on the priority of prayer, but with an emphasis on praying for those who need Jesus in their life. With that said, take a look at 1 Timothy 2:1-4 which says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (NLT).

This deals specifically with evangelistic praying. The context of these verses deals with salvation and people coming to know Jesus. This focuses on praying for those who don’t know Jesus and praying for an environment where it is easier to share the gospel and a culture that allows believers to share their faith freely.

Before we get into this, I want to remind you of the five stages of spiritual growth. Everyone in this room is somewhere within these 5 stages. In your outline you will see a chart I’ve provided for you.






Spiritually lost

Spiritual infant

Spiritual child


young adult

Spiritual parent

Needs Jesus

Knows Jesus

Growing in Jesus

Serving Jesus

Leading for Jesus

Exploring truth

Discovering truth

Growing in truth

Applying truth

Guiding others to the truth

Eph. 2:1-2

2 Cor. 4:3-4

1 Cor. 3:1

1 Pet. 2:2

1 Cor. 2:12-14

1 John 3:12, 14

1 Cor. 4:14-17

1 Thess. 2:7-8, 11-12

With that said, Paul is telling Timothy in 1 Timothy 2 how to pray for the seekers. Let me give you some truth about praying for seekers.

Praying for seekers is a priority

Number one, praying for seekers is a priority. Paul said, “I urge you, first of all to pray for all people” (v.1, NLT). Let me give you some observations about this priority.

  • This priority calls for urgency. Paul says, “I urge you.” There is a passion and sense of urgency behind this phrase “I urge you.” Time is running out. People are dying. This type of prayer should be a driving force in our life and ministries.
  • This priority calls for commitment. He says “first of all” I want you to pray for those who don’t know Christ. Make this a priority. Make this an emphasis in your prayer life. Make a list of people who you believe is lost and pray they would come to know Christ. Get serious about it is what Paul is saying.
  • This priority calls for broadness. Paul says we are to “pray for all people.” In this context he is referring to “all [the] people” who are seekers and don’t know Christ. No one is off limits. No seeker is beyond prayer. No seeker is beyond hope. It is never a waste of time to pray for the salvation of a seeker, no matter who they are or what they have done.

Praying for seekers involves various prayers

Number two, praying for seekers involves various prayers. Paul goes on to say, “Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them” (v.1, NLT). There are three types of prayers mentioned here.

  • A prayer of supplication for the seeker. Paul says, “Ask God to help them.” Some translations says “entreaties and prayers.” The idea here is they need something, they lack something, or they are deprived in some way. This kind of prayer arises from a sense of need. Here is where we pray that God would open their eyes to show them their need for Jesus, to help them understand their sin, and to realize the only way of salvation is through Jesus Christ. We are to ask God to help them.
  • A prayer of intercession for the seeker. Paul goes on to say we are to “intercede on their behalf” (petitions/enteuxis). Some translation use the word “petitions.” To “intercede” for someone means “to fall in with someone,” or to get involved with them. We identify with their needs, and become involved in their struggles. To intercede relates to words like advocacy, empathy, sympathy, compassion, and involvement. Praying for seekers is not cold, detached, or impersonal. We know where they are headed and we pray and intercede with urgency for their rescue and salvation. To intercede in this way is to be willing to get involved in their life and become an answer to our on prayers for them.
  • A prayer of thanksgiving for the seeker. Paul says we are to “give thanks for them.” This is praying with gratitude. We thank God the gospel has an opportunity to be presented and heard, we thank God that we can be a part of that outreach, and we thank God that some will respond with faith and repentance.

Praying for seekers includes the leaders of the nation

Number three, praying for seekers includes the leaders of the nation. Paul says in verse 2, “Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority…” (NLT). As we are praying for the seekers in general we are reminded to pray for the “kings and all who are in authority” over them and us. Keep in mind that at the time Paul wrote this Nero was the one in authority. He was one of the most evil rulers in history and opposed anyone who was a follower of Christ. Nero, would be considered an extreme example, but throughout history those in authority of the land have often resisted Christ and His people. Even today, we have those in leadership throughout our own country who do not respect the Lord or His people. Sometimes these people can become targets of bitterness and animosity. There is a tendency for believers to be indifferent toward them. Instead of being indifferent and bitter towards them, we are to pray for them. This means at least two things.

  • We pray for our leaders to become followers of Jesus. For those who are not believers, we intercede on their behalf that God would open their eyes, place believers into their life, and bring them to the point where they recognize the truth about Jesus, their sin, and their need for Jesus as the Lord of their life.
  • We pray for our leaders to give the church favor. As we pray for the leaders of our nation we are asking God to move upon their hearts in such a way as to give the church freedom to share the gospel and make disciples freely, without persecution.

This takes us to our fourth observation.

Praying for seekers creates an evangelistic culture

Number four, praying for seekers creates an evangelistic culture. Paul says the result of this kind of prayer is “so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (v.2, NLT). As the believers pray for the leaders of the nation and some of them become believers and some them become stronger believers and they show favor toward the church it will create an environment that is “peaceful and quiet” between the government and the church resulting in an evangelistic culture, societal conditions favorable for the church’s evangelistic efforts.

With that said, we must remember that the seekers who oppose Christ and national leaders who oppose Christ and His people are not our enemies, they are our mission field.

What we, the believers and the church, bring to helping our nation remain a healthy evangelistic culture should be “marked by godliness and dignity.”

  • A life marked by “godliness” (eusebeia) is a life that has a healthy reverence toward God. You and I should live for the majesty, holiness, love, and glory of God. It goes back to loving the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all you mind.
  • A life marked by “dignity” (semnotes) is a life that has a strong sense of morality. As a believer you are to be marked by a commitment to a holy behavior. In other words, you are honest, kind, trustworthy, and faithful. You don’t lie, steal, or deceive. You are a hard worker and a person of integrity. Your life is marked by dignity.

If you have a life that is marked by “godliness” and “dignity” it helps create an evangelistic culture in the nation, county or town we live in. Here at Genesis Church, our desire is for people to think about us as those who love God and love people. A people of godliness and dignity. We have a reverence for God and a respect for people. This will help doors to open when it comes to reaching the seekers in our county.

Praying for seekers pleases God

Number five, praying for seekers pleases God. Paul says, “This is good and pleases God our Savior…” (v.3, NLT). Praying for seekers, praying for our leaders, and living a life marked by godliness and dignity “is good and pleases God.” Many seekers are struggling with the weight of their sin, the shame of what they have done to themselves and to others, and the search for meaning and significance of their life. God says it is a good thing that His people pray for them and live honorable lives before them. This pleases and brings joy to God when His people are concerned about seekers.

Praying for seekers reflects God’s desire

Number six, praying for seekers reflects God’s desire. Paul says in verse 4 that “[God] wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (NLT). Regardless of what you believe about how one comes to salvation… whether you believe it is a person’s free will or by God’s sovereign choice it is and has always been God’s desire that “everyone” be saved and come to an understanding and knowledge of God’s truth about eternal life. There are two truths I want you to see here.

  • First, God desires everyone to be saved. This desire is consistent with who He is. In Isaiah 45 God said, “Let all the world look to Me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other” (v.22, NLT). Isaiah 55:1 invites “anyone” who is “thirsty” to “come and drink” from the waters of salvation. In Ezekiel 18 God states very clearly that He does not desire that the wicked should perish, but that they would sincerely repent (vs. 23, 32; cf. 33:11). Then in 2 Peter, Peter explains, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Pet. 3:9, NLT). God desires everyone to be saved from their sin. He takes absolutely no pleasure in seeing anyone go to hell. Our desire should be like His.
  • Second, God desires everyone to understand the truth. This word “understand” (epignosis: sometimes translated knowledge) refers to deep understanding, comprehension, and discernment, not merely awareness of factual truths. There is a huge difference between someone knowing they are a sinner and understanding what that means. There is a difference between knowing that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and understanding what that means. God wants people to understand, comprehend and discern the meaning, implication, and application of this truth regarding salvation.

As you pray for seekers you are reflecting this desire of God.


  • Who in your life do you believe is a seeker and God is calling you to pray for them specifically? Make a list of 4-5 names and begin praying for them and see what God does with that in your life and theirs.
  • Maybe today you see yourself as a seeker and you want to know more about Jesus and this eternal life that He offers. We want to talk to you.