First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people.

1 Timothy 2: 1

Do you pray? Do you go before God to speak to and with Him and to listen and hear what the Lord has to say? Sometimes this is ordered in one direction as in, I speak forth what is on my mind and pressing upon my heart and then wait for God to respond. At other times I simply wait in silence and attempt to clear my mind of everything in anticipation of the far greater thoughts that God might have for me. There are also times when words pour forth from my mouth as if they are being forced like a geyser’s spout out of my overly full spirit, heart, and mind. The point is that prayer takes on many forms, has various shapes, and can occur on any day, at every hour, and in any circumstances that I might find myself. Some prayer has a formal and even a ritualistic quality to it, but most of it is among the most casual and in-the-moment speech that comes out of my mouth. Prayer can be constant, unceasing, and as present in the life of a follower of Christ as is the air that we breath.

With all of that said, God desires to hear from us. He actually cares about what is on our hearts and the issues that are filling our minds. The Lord also wants us to trust Him with the feelings that are rife within us and with the thoughts that are circling about inside of us. God’s intense interest in what is going on inside of His people is interesting to me in that I understand that He already knows all about everything and everyone. Yet, the Lord cares about relationship with us so greatly that He delights in these times when we enter into the intimacy of prayer with Him. Prayer is a way that we can grow closer to God, wherein we can hear that deep and personal voice of our Creator as He speaks the truth of life into us. There is no more personal a thing that any of us can do with God than to pray, and there is perhaps nothing that we can do as a gathered body of faith that is more impactful upon our unity than praying together.

As Paul instructs us, offering up prayer for all people and in every situation leads us deeper and more fully into God’s heart and mind. There are many people in my world that are easy to pray for. I care about them and they care about me, and I have much in common with them and share important aspects of life and of living with them. There are other people who are close to or important to people that I know and care about; so, it is also easy to seek out the Lord’s involvement in their situations. Then, there are those people who have positions and authority such that the things that they do and the manner in which it is accomplished has an impact upon my life; thus, I tend to pray for their wisdom and protection in carrying out their responsibilities. But after that, there are people who I do not like, that I might fear, or that possibly are antagonistic in some way to and with me. These people are not so easy to pray for, but they are certainly included in the “all people” that Paul is urging us to pray for. As we pray we are taken into God’s heart and mind in ways that are wonderful, powerful, and profound. In prayer we often see solutions to relational challenges that had eluded us in other aspects of engaging with people. Through prayer, we are provided with the grace and the forgiveness that are necessary if we are to truly love others regardless of what they may be doing or saying, and it is this form of Godly love that seeks for the salvation of people that we despise and that desires for them to become a part of the same body in Christ that we dwell within.