The following was originally a Twitter thread.
In light of many threads today: ποιεῖσθαι δεήσεις προσευχὰς ἐντεύξεις εὐχαριστίας ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων to make petitions, prayers, intercessions, thanks, for all men (1Tim 2:1) followed by the inclusion of kings and those in authority. The string of nouns together with the specific command to include “kings and all in authority” is often missed. Why the string of mainly synonymous terms or prayers/petitions/entreaties/intercessions? And why wouldn’t “for all men” be sufficient? Because of the persecution brought by kings and those in authority against the church. Hence they have to be enumerated as objects of prayer rather than merely petitions for protection from their wickedness. We are to pray for their conversion, and give thanks when appropriate when they act properly.
But there is nothing here that limits the content of these prayers to blessings or benefits. When the Christians prayed for Nero toward the end of his reign, it was not, “Oh Lord, give Nero long life, bless his efforts.” It was “protect us from this demonic tyrant.” While at the *beginning* of his reign the prayers would have a different character (he was somewhat stable at first, only going complete insane later on).
The new regime has announced its intentions to do all sorts of things that we may find utterly foolish and destructive. But more important than such mundane policy issues is the regime’s announced intentions regarding the Equality Act, illustrated in the selection of Richard Levine. The Equality Act is foundational to the establishment of legal grounds for silencing Christian proclamation. In light of such intentional, knowing, purposeful evil, our prayers surely must call for the conversion of men and women in the regime, of course. But it must also call for God’s restraint on the madness of men, and protection for His church from such evil.
Note as well: ἵνα ἤρεμον καὶ ἡσύχιον βίον διάγωμεν ἐν πάσῃ εὐσεβείᾳ καὶ σεμνότητι. What is the purpose of these prayers? They are focused upon the church! We desire to live a “quiet/tranquil/peaceable” life–these terms do not mean “boring/uneventful” however! They refer to “well ordered” rather than chaotic, hence, when authorities do what they are intended to do, we can go about the work of the kingdom without external distraction, hence being a blessing to any culture.