Prayer: The Power of the Local Church
I Timothy 2:1-8
by Dennis Baker, Brotherhood President
The focus of the text is prayer for all men in relationship to the preaching of the gospel message. Paul encourages Timothy to make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks on behalf of all men. This included praying for all that are in authority. Then he emphasizes, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.”
No one is outside the in?uence of prayer. This means that we pray for the unsaved and saved, for people near us and people far away, for enemies as well as friends. We must pray for those in authority. Even when we cannot respect men or women in authority, we must respect their office and pray for them. When we face opposition and persecution it is wise to pray for those in authority. It is good that we pray, “so that we might live peaceful and quiet lives in holiness.” The word “quiet” has reference to a calm attitude within us. The calm attitude is the result of turning over what is on our heart to God.
Paul stresses the reason for prayer, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
The purpose of prayer is not to get our will done in heaven, but to get God’s will done on earth. It is God’s will that we pray for “all men” because as stated in the text, God would, “have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” We must pray for all people, Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, religious and pagan. We have the responsibility of praying for lost souls and making ourselves available to share the gospel with others.
The basis for prayer is the work of Jesus Christ as Savior and Mediator. There is only one God, therefore there is a need for only one Mediator, and that Mediator is Jesus Christ. No other person can qualify. Because the death of Christ is efficient only for those who trust Him, but is sufficient for the sins of the whole world we must pray for all as we become a part of God’s world program to reach all people before it is too late.
The posture of the heart is more important than the posture of the body. “Holy hands” refers to a holy life. It is symbolic of a blameless life. If we have sin in our lives we cannot expect God to answer our prayers. Psalms 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” The phrase “without wrath and doubting” requires that we be on good terms with other believers. Christians should learn to disagree without being disagreeable.
Effective praying is demanding. It requires a right relationship with God and with fellow believers. How much more effective would the ministry of the local church be if we spent more time preparing to pray and getting our heart right before God? Do you think it would help us to quit looking at past hurts and disappointments and cause us to be focused on praying for “all” that they might be saved?
I would like to close by sharing a blessing I receive the first Wednesday night of the month at the church I pastor. The entire service is focused on prayer. There are no classes or preaching, just the church praying together. We have a prayer list with many names, some are church members, some family members, coworkers, friends, neighbors, and ministries. We pray for health needs, our church ministries, the bereaved, the unsaved, and the churches and pastors of our associational works. Some of the names or items have been on the list for years, but we rejoice together as God answers our prayers. Prayer is the Power of the Local church!