First of All

First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

The expression “first of all” which the Apostle Paul uses in the First Reading of today is significant, showing how fundamental prayer is for the life of every disciple. In other words, Paul seems to give an imperative: “First of all, prayer!” Everyone can exemplify according to what he lives every day, applying this primacy to himself, to examine himself and consider whether God truly has first place in our existence.

The relationship with God must come first of all, because it is the Lord who gives meaning to every activity of our life. First of all, we should pray as a family before starting the day, before going out for work and school, for sport and leisure, or to experience moments of joy with friends, in the parish and in groups. Often, in fact, one can frequent ecclesial environments without experiencing this primacy of the relationship with God, forgetting the fact that He is the source from which to draw life in abundance.


Prayer embraces everyone because whoever is with God cannot close his heart to his brothers but is always ready to make room in his soul for those he knows need his prayer and intercession. In this way, Paul asks to pray “for all men”, then specifying, “for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.” The disciple of Christ, according to Paul, must pray for everyone, not only for his own needs, because this will amount to pure selfishness, but he must have a particular remembrance of those who have responsibilities, for the position they hold.

For the government, Pope Francis once said, one cannot only criticize, but first of all pray, to ask the Lord for light and strength on their behalf, courage and the ability to always seek and implement the good of everyone. Pope Francis exhorts, as he underlined during a homily at Santa Marta: «A Christian who does not pray for the rulers is not a good Christian». It makes me wonder: do we ever pray for our leaders and those in government? Do we ever entrust them to God? Do we ever pray for our neighbors and for people who do not have anyone to pray for them?

“It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument” (1 Timothy 2:8).

[Readings: 1 Tm 2:1-8; Lk 7:1-10]

Fr. John Bosco Obiako

Fr. JohnBosco Obiako is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu, Nigeria. He is a doctoral student of Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome - Italy, with a special interest in Philosophy and Ethics of technology. He also provides spiritual and pastoral services as Chaplain to African Anglophone Catholic Community in the Diocese of Prato, Italy. Email contact: [email protected]

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