1 Timothy 2:1-2
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;…
I. THE APOSTLE EXHORTETH CHRISTIANS TO "PRAY FOR KINGS" WITH ALL SORTS OF PRAYER; with δεήσεις, or "deprecations," for averting evils from them; with προσευχαὶ, or "petitions," for obtaining good things to them; with ἐντεύξεις, or "occasional intercessions," for needful gifts and graces to be collated on them.
1. Common charity should dispose us to pray for kings.
2. To impress which consideration, we may reflect that commonly we have only this way granted us of exercising our charity toward princes; they being situated aloft above the reach of private beneficence.
3. We are bound to pray for kings out of charity to the public; because their good is a general good, and the communities of men (both Church and State) are greatly concerned in the blessings by prayer derived on them. The prosperity of a prince is inseparable from the prosperity of his people; they ever partaking of his fortunes, and thriving or suffering with him. For as when the sun shineth brightly, there is a clear day, and fair weather over the world; so when a prince is not overclouded with adversity or disastrous occurrences, the public state must be serene, and a pleasant state of things will appear. Then is the ship in a good condition when, the pilot in open sea, with full sails and a brisk gale, cheerfully steereth on toward his designed port. Especially the piety and goodness of a prince is of vast consequence, and yieldeth infinite benefit to his country. So, for instance, how did piety flourish in the times of David, who loved, favoured, and practised it! and what abundance of prosperity did attend it! What showers of blessings (what peace, what wealth, what credit and glory) did God then pour down on Israel! How did the goodness of that prince transmit favours and mercies on his country till a long time after his decease! How often did God profess "for His servant David's sake" to preserve Judah from destruction; so that even in the days of Hezekiah, when the king of Assyria did invade that country, God by the mouth of Isaiah declared, "I will defend this city to save it for Mine own sake, and for My servant David's sake." We may indeed observe that, according to the representation of things in Holy Scripture, there is a kind of moral connection, or a communication of merit and guilt, between prince and people; so that mutually each of them is rewarded for the virtues, each is punished for the vices of the other.
4. Wherefore consequently our own interest and charity to ourselves should dispose us to pray for our prince. We being nearly concerned in his welfare, as parts of the public, and as enjoying many private advantages thereby; we cannot but partake of His good, we cannot but suffer with him. We cannot live quietly if our prince is disturbed; we cannot live happily if he be unfortunate; we can hardly live virtuously if Divine grace do not incline him to favour us therein, or at least restrain him from hindering us.
5. Let us consider that subjects are obliged in gratitude and ingenuity, yea in equity and justice, to pray for their princes. They are most nearly related to us, and allied by the most sacred bands; being constituted by God, in his own room, the parents and guardians of their country. To their industry and vigilancy under God we owe the fair administration of justice, the protection of right and innocence, the preservation of order and peace, the encouragement of goodness, and correction of wickedness.
6. Whereas we are by Divine command frequently enjoined to fear and reverence, to honour, to obey kings; we should look on prayer for them as a principal branch, and the neglect thereof as a notable breach of those duties.
7. The praying for princes is a service peculiarly honourable, and very acceptable to God; which He will interpret as a great respect done to Himself; for that thereby we honour His image and character in them, yielding in His presence this special respect to them as His representatives.
8. Let us consider that whereas wisdom, guiding our piety and charity, will especially incline us to place our devotion there where it will be most needful and useful; we therefore chiefly must pray for kings because they do most need our prayers.
II. THE OTHER (THANKSGIVING) I SHALL BUT TOUCH, AND NEED NOT PERHAPS TO DO MORE. For —
1. As to general inducements, they are the same, or very like to those which are for prayer; it being plain that whatever we are concerned to pray for, when we want it, that we are bound to thank God for, when He vouchsafeth to bestow it.
2. As for particular motives, suiting the present occasion, you cannot be ignorant or insensible of the grand benefits by the Divine goodness bestowed on our king, and on ourselves, which this day we are bound with all grateful acknowledgment to commemorate.
Parallel VersesKJV: I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;