Reading through the first Epistle of Paul to Timothy last night I was somewhat surprised at a verse that popped out at me regarding prayer. Here in Chapter 2 the Apostle Paul presents the type of prayer that is “good and acceptable in the sight of God”.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. (1 Timothy 2:1-7, KJV)
While I have no other sources to back me up so far (little Google time of late) verses 1 & 2 outline essentially the structure and content of the litanies in Orthodox Divine Services. Maybe I should not be surprised, having read much church history on early worship but I suppose it was not expected to be this clearly stated. These verses are nearby many others that are my favourites, perhaps I have just found a few that, as is said by many, were not passages I underlined in the Bible when I was a Protestant.
The soul of some Christians might be slow at hearing this and may resist this exhortation. For at the celebration of the holy mysteries it may be necessary to offer prayers for a heathen king. Paul shows them the advantage of fulfilling this duty at least to reconcile them to the advice, “that we may lead a peaceable and quiet life.” … For God has appointed government for the public good. When therefore they use force for the common good and stand on guard for our security, isn’t it reasonable that we should offer prayers for their safety in wars and dangers? Such prayers are not excessive flattery but agreeable to the rules of justice. (St John Chrysostom, Homily on Timothy)