How should we pray for unbelievers?
We have already seen that the context surrounding 1 Timothy 2:1–2 implies that this passage’s command to pray is a command to pray for the salvation of all people.
So, now the question is, how does 1 Timothy 2:1–2 tell us how to go about praying for the salvation of all people?
First, let’s remind ourselves of Paul’s command: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” (1 Tim 2:1 - ESV).
Various terms for prayer indicate indicate how we can specifically pray for the salvation of others: supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings.
This passage and others show us that these terms can overlap and emphasize prayer in general.
Paul couples “prayers and supplications” elsewhere in other general passages on prayer (1 Tim 5:5; Eph 6:18). “Prayer” and “thanksgiving” are found in Col 4:2–3. Paul gives prayer as the remedy for anxiety in Phil 4:6 and mentions that we should give “prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” to God, which uses three of the same terms as our passage in 1 Timothy 2:1. The larger point in 1 Timothy 2:1 is simply this: however you pray for unbelievers, pray.
However, we can see how to better pray for the lost by the differences between the terms as well.
Next week we’ll finish this series off by looking at 1 Timothy 2:2.
Pastor David Huffstutler
Pastor Huffstutler regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our pastoral bio page.