“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” (1 Timothy 2:1)
The book of 1 Timothy consists of various charges (1:18-19) to Paul’s disciple Timothy. The first charge (2:1-8) concerns prayer in the church. The fact that Paul mentions it “first of all” (v. 1) indicates that he felt it of primary importance. Note the four types of prayer in our text verse.
Supplications, or perhaps petitions, referring to one’s personal needs: We must recognize our continued dependence on God’s provision. “The effectual fervent prayer [same word] of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Prayers: This is a general term with a number of applications, but foremost it indicates reverence for and worship of the one to whom the prayers are offered. “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8).
Intercessions: This word implies a personal bequest on an intimate basis, as child to father. The only other occurrence of the word regards the eating of food that “is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:5).
Giving of thanks: When we give thanks, we recognize that our blessings are undeserved. “Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever” (Revelation 7:12).
These types of prayers, which should probably be understood as representing all types of prayers, should be made “for all men,” specifically those in authority (v. 2) and for the unsaved (v. 4). Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will present our prayers to the Father (v. 5) and insure that He will answer them as He sees best. JDM