24TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority.
Jane was frustrated with her boss and often complained about him to others. For as long as she had worked for him, he had never complimented her for her work or given her greater responsibility. One day, a friend suggested that she pray for her boss and ask God to bless him. Jane decided to give it a try, and as she did, she noticed that her attitude toward him began to change. What’s more, she saw an improvement in the way he related to her!
Jane’s experience highlights the same truth that St. Paul wrote to Timothy in today’s first reading: when we pray for others, especially for those in authority, it blesses us as well as them. Paul encouraged Timothy to tell the Christians in Ephesus to pray for everyone—not just other believers, but even for the leaders of the city, unbelievers who held authority over them. Doing so, Paul said, would help the young church to live a “quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:2).
When we complain or focus on what is wrong in the world, we can create an air of negativity, not only in our own hearts, but all around us. Without even realizing it, we can bring down our friends, family, or coworkers. But when we pray for people instead, our hearts change. We become more loving, patient, and kind toward them. As a result, our demeanor can help dispel any negativity that we might have brought to the people around us.
So who should we be praying for? If you’re a student, pray for your parents or teachers. If you have a job, pray for your supervisor and the leadership of your company. Pray for the leaders of your town, state, and nation. You don’t have to agree with them on everything—or anything! But you can still pray that God’s blessing and goodness would be upon them. You can still pray that they fulfill God’s purposes for their lives and that they lead as he intended. By doing so, you’re helping to fulfill those purposes. And in the process, you’re softening your own heart.
“Lord, the next time I want to complain about someone, help me to remember to pray for them instead!”
1 Timothy 2:1-8
Psalm 28:2, 7-9