Monday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
There’s a temptation in Christian life to only pray for those worthy of prayer. It is good and right to pray for victims of violence, natural disasters, those in poverty, and those we deem good people. However, praying for those who do not merit our prayers is much more challenging. How often do we hear prayers for the villainous in our society: the ones who cause violence, those who take advantage of the poor, and the just downright no-good bad people?
Paul today insists that we pray for everyone (1 Timothy 2:1-8). He says, “I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone.” Everyone! He doesn’t exclude anyone from this. Paul continues, “This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” Again, he stresses everyone. No one is out of bounds when it comes to prayer.
Praying for others does not mean supporting their causes either, to be clear. Praying for a politician does not imply endorsing that politician’s political platform. It means you are praying for them to “be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” Some people get upset when they hear this. It might be thought that by praying for one’s enemies, they are letting them off the hook for the crimes or worse, praying that God may be on their side and help whatever evil cause they are pursuing. But this is not the case.
Is there someone in my life who I have never prayed for? Is this someone I have just never noticed before or refuse to pray for? Can I pray for them now? And if the pain is too real for me, can I pray for the grace of healing for myself and that this person will at least stop causing pain to others? Can I pray for everyone so that the world may really be a more peaceful place?