“First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NET).
The next communication element given to us in 1 Timothy 2:1 is the word prayers. This represents a general form of interaction with God that should reflect an attitude of reverence and respect. Just as we would not present a friend or superior with a list of tasks to fulfill on our behalf, so it is also important to approach God in prayer with an attitude of humility, respect, and appreciation.
One commentator offers some additional insight into this subject with the following observation: “There are certain needs which only God can satisfy. There is a strength which he alone can give; a forgiveness which he alone can grant; a certainty which he alone can bestow. It may well be that our weakness haunts us because we so often take our needs to the wrong place.” (1)
Intercessions or petitions (CEB) follow next. These words are associated with the requests we make of God on behalf of others. Unlike those who are solely interested in seeking God’s help to meet their own needs, a God-honoring person is someone who is conscious of others and prays for God’s intervention on their behalf.
This corresponds to the message given to us in the Biblical book of Philippians: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
The same commentator quoted earlier provides us with some further information regarding the word “petitions”…
“Of the three words this is the most interesting. It has a most interesting history. It is the noun from the verb entugchanein (G1793). This originally meant simply to meet, or to fall in with a person; it went on to mean to hold intimate conversation with a person; then it acquired a special meaning and meant to enter into a king’s presence and to submit a petition to him. That tells us much about prayer. It tells us that the way to God stands open and that we have the right to bring our petitions to one who is a king.” (2)
(1) Barclay, William. William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible, The Way Of Prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-7 continued), https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/1-timothy-2.html