A Timely Purpose for Daily Prayer

We could never find a person whose life was less tranquil than that of the apostle Paul. His list in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 of the troublesome things he had to endure, in the service of God, is astounding. Yet, it is this same harried apostle who wrote, “I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Did he petition God for the same peaceful and tranquil life for himself? If he did, does it seem that his prayers were answered, in view of his suffering?

If Paul were alive today, and living in America, would his enthusiastic promotion of the Gospel of Christ bring him beatings, or imprisonment, or a stoning? Probably not. In all of our centuries-long history as a nation, researchers would be hard pressed to find examples of the violent treatment of Christians. In America, it is possible to live a “peaceful and tranquil life” without dread or fear. Every child of God, however, could fulfill one thing that Paul urges on them in their prayers: “thanksgivings!”

Though we can be supremely thankful to God for our “tranquil and quiet life” in Christ, we have no need to pray for delivery from beatings, stonings, imprisonments, and the other things suffered by Paul. However, our present security could disappear in a moment. In countries where Islamic fundamentalists impose their religion through their laws, all who claim to be Christians are branded as heretics and idolaters. They are persecuted in violence, often imprisoned, and many are murdered. We can be sure that if there are deeply committed Christians living in those countries, they are taking the admonition of Paul to heart, and are earnestly praying for the establishment, or the return of peace and tranquility.

Though we still escape such persecution in this country, and enjoy the benign benefits of a peaceful, tranquil and dignified lifestyle, our earnest prayers should daily ascend to the throne of mercy in heaven for those who do not have or enjoy those blessings. We need to be aware of the plight of our brethren in such places, and pray from righteous and loving hearts for their deliverance .

While we are praying for them, there is the side benefit of preparing ourselves to endure whatever suffering we may have to face in any future loss of peace. When we are deprived of a peaceful life, will we be prepared, mentally, and spiritually, to endure that change? Will our faith be strong enough to survive?

Do we love the peace and tranquility we have in this country? Do we appreciate it enough to pray that our brethren throughout the world might enjoy the same? If we do, it is appropriate to pray often for the things urged by Paul, for ourselves and for our brethren.