Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 1 Thes. 4:11-12 NIV 1984
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim. 2:1-4 NIV 1984
Paul urges us to aim to live peaceful, quiet lives that shine as beacons of godliness and holiness to an unbelieving world around us. For this to happen, we must be prayerfully interceding for kings (political leaders) and those in authority that the Lord might grant us favor in their eyes. For, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases (Proverbs 21:1).
It is interesting to note that in Thessalonica and Ephesus Paul had caused riots and civil upheaval. It was for the sake of the gospel that he was in these cities and we also note that in both cases it was not Paul who instigated the disturbances. It was the enemies of the gospel who stirred up the crowds, drawing the responses from the civil leaders. See Acts 17:1-9 and Acts 19:23ff.
Paul did not want this type of upheaval to be perceived as ‘normal’ for those following Christ in the respective cities. Rather, the goal, as he reminded them, was to live peaceful and quiet lives; living such counter-cultural lives that they would win the respect of those who did not yet know Christ.
Our turbulent times call for us to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). And in the midst of this turmoil, we are to be praying for our political and civil authorities – asking that the Lord would cause them to show us kindness and favor. The result will be the advancement of the Kingdom and the gospel in the lives of many.
Are you praying for those in authority over you?