We are directed to pray for all people

In 1 Timothy 2:1-6, Apostle Paul was very specific about how, and for whom, we are to pray: “I urge first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed at the proper time.”

John 3:16 expresses our Father’s heart as to who should hear this message: “ For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The definition of “whosoever” is this: “anyone; any person whatever.” “Whosoever” is an emphatic pronoun that represents anyone and everyone, believers and unbelievers alike, who are so loved by God that He sent His only Son to the world so all would have the opportunity to believe and have everlasting life.

One of the first truths that I understood in my faith walk is that I am a whosoever and so are you.

— Beverly Mattox, Word Alive International Outreach

Set aside the divisions we have created

In the shadow of the recent events at places like Jacksonville State University and Majorie Stillman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., we as Christians should begin to move beyond the distinction of Christian vs. non-Christian and into a greater concern for the whole of the broken world.

As we approached the end of Lent, in which we prepared for the death of our savior, and arrived at Easter, in which we celebrated Jesus’s victory over death, we were reminded that in Christ all distinctions that we place between one another fall away in the power of the resurrection.

Thus, the Apostle Paul declares, there is no longer slave or free, Jew or Greek, male or female, because all are made one.

This is an especially powerful statement in this epoch in history in which we find ourselves — a time in which we have created impenetrable walls of division between people.

Our faith demands that we set those human categories to the side in favor of a view of all people as children of God, and as children of God they deserve to share in the familial bonds that Christians seek to form with one another.

We should pray, then, not for believers or nonbelievers, but for all those who suffer and need to know and experience the peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding.

— The Rev. Dr. James D. McLeod Jr., First Presbyterian Church, Anniston