As you start your week, there are some first things you must do. From checking your email to meeting with your staff about the week to setting out your weekly to-do list, you have a routine.
But, there may be one thing missing. In fact, God seems to think it is the most important “First of all.”
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).
First of all, you must pray. God wants everything to begin with a conversation with Him. Rosalind Rinker had a very simple definition of prayer: “Prayer is a conversation between two people who love each other.”
God wants that conversation first, not last. Not just when you’re in a bind, or when things have gotten so messed up that it takes God to untangle them. First.
All Types of Prayer
It is not just a single type of prayer Paul mentions, but “entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings.” A conversation with God may include all of those or just one of those.
My first conversation with Him this morning might be nothing but thanksgiving. What a delight for Him to hear this! But as I enter His presence and listen to Him, He will probably lead me by His Spirit in multiple prayers. And many prayers …
For All Men
God wants us—first of all—to pray for others. We are intercessors. It is one of our main callings. to stand in behalf of “all men” and intercede before God for them.
Our prayers can go wherever God can go and do whatever God can do. If we realized this (and practiced it), we could affect the world while sitting in our den or at our office desk.
There is a glorious side benefit for us and those we love as we pray without ceasing “first of all.” It affects our environment. It brings peace, and we are allowed to lead a “tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”
And, this opens the door for the gospel, as Paul says just two verses later. God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” First of all, praying for all men—both those far from God and those called to share the good news with them, and especially for leaders who affect the culture so deeply—accelerates the spread of the gospel.
Paul closes this section with this thought: “Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” (v. 8).
First of all.