“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you have welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7).
We, too, live as a people in exile; aliens in a foreign and hostile land. Just as it may sound strange for some to hear Paul instructing the Ephesian church to pray for kings and all those in authority (1 Timothy 2:2), today’s text indicates this expectation was a precedent established long ago. Praying in such a way serves as a constant reminder that God’s desire is to expand his kingdom, and the witness of his power, far beyond the boundaries we seek to draw around our ceremonial, comfortable, and well-ordered institutional religion. It’s only in a world for which we are praying that the mission of God’s people has its best chance of flourishing.