I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 1 Timothy 2:1-3
This is a passage that God’s people especially need to read and understand clearly in the days that we are living. There is so much discussion about those that are in authority in our country and others. People have a lot of thing to say about those in authority, and often it is not good. So much concern is expressed about where they are leading us.
Paul encourages us (in the midst of the Roman rule) to pray thankfully for all men, for kings and those in authority. I looked, and I could not find anywhere that we are encouraged to speak badly about our rulers, or be concerned with the direction they are going. We need to pray for them and let God be in control.
Praying thankfully is even more difficult than just praying that God would replace them, which is what we sometimes want to do. We can be thankful for those in authority, because God is the one that removes rulers and sets up rulers (Daniel 2:21). All of this, God does to bring about His will. We should be thankful that God is working out His will to bring about the end of this age. Our part is to pray for our leaders with thanksgiving.
The other part is too pray for all men. We are encouraged in Ephesians 6:18 to pray for all saints everywhere, and so we should. It is an expression of our love for God’s people, and our love for our Lord. God’s people in many parts of the world face persecution and hardships that maybe we are not facing. We can certainly intercede for them before the throne of grace.
For those that are not yet saved, we pray that they would come to the knowledge of the truth, and be saved. This is the most important thing that we could pray for the unbeliever. We pray this way, because it is the will of our Lord. Again, it shows our love for our Lord.
The three parts of prayer that are mentioned in the verse; supplications, prayer (worship) and giving of thanks, should be a part of every prayer. We come to our heavenly Father with our needs, but we should never forget our worship that He deserves. Every prayer should be accompanied with thanksgiving, because we already know, by faith, that He hears and answers our prayers.