Faithlife Sermons

Living as a Prayer Warrior

Generous Living  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 2 views

We need to not be stingy, but rather generous, in our prayers!

Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
I remember a time when I was a kid and my sister decided to bake a cake for a surprise for mom and dad. She put all the ingredients together and baked it. And it came out like a hockey puck. We couldn't figure out what we did wrong. Mom helped us out when she got home. The recipe had called for self-rising flour and we had used all-purpose flour. The cake never rose, so it was almost like a giant cookie. It's amazing how one little ingredient change can impact a recipe.
I remember a time when I was a kid and my sister decided to bake a cake for a surprise for mom and dad. She put all the ingredients together and baked it. And it came out like a hockey puck. We couldn't figure out what we did wrong. Mom helped us out when she got home. The recipe had called for self-rising flour and we had used all-purpose flour. The cake never rose, so it was almost like a giant cookie. It's amazing how one little ingredient change can impact a recipe.
I also remember assembling models when I was a kid. I would carefully cut the pieces out of their mold skeletons and then glue them together. There was a car model I built that had a hood that opened. So, you had to put together the engine first, and it came in 3 pairs of pieces. First you put the engine block, the headers and the carburetor together. You needed to let those three dry, then you put them together to make the engine. Then you put the engine in the car. It was quite involved and not good for an impatient kid like me. I hastily put it together and stuck it in the car and it all fell apart. I had to let the individual pieces dry properly first in order for it to work right. It's amazing how skipping one step (letting the glue dry) can impact a model.
Now let's talk about church. This letter that Paul wrote to Timothy is a picture of what makes a church. It is list of ingredients in the recipe of church. If you leave one out, the church will never be quite right. It is an instruction sheet for building the church. If you skip one step, it just won't fit together right. So Paul is telling Timothy what the pieces are and how they work to make a church. He started in Chapter 1 with talking about who makes up the church and how we should always remember the greatness of our salvation. He called us to live according to the example of Jesus. Namely, we need to be generous like Jesus in showing mercy as He has given us mercy. We need to be generous like Jesus in giving grace as He has given us grace. And we need to be generous like Jesus in offering patience as He has been patient with us. Today, we’re going to look at generous living as a prayer warrior.
1 Timothy 2:1–7 ESV
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Now I have already set most of the context for this passage in setting up the passage. But just as a way of reminder. Paul wrote the letter to Timothy. Do you remember when he wrote it? (62 A.D.) And why did Paul write it? (to describe church). And remember the way letters from Paul were treated in the ancient world. They were read by the church leader to the church. So, in this case, Timothy read Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus. And, as I seek to accurately present the power of Paul's message to both Timothy and the church, it is my prayer that we will get the same benefit today that they got back in the 1st Century. As I said, the first chapter of the letter is really about the hearers, both Timothy and the church. And last week we looked at 3 ways we can encourage believers to finish the race strong. The first way we can encourage believers to finish the race strong is to remind them, the second is to restoke them, and the third is to release them. Now let's look at 2 parts of prayer in church.

The Who of Prayer

The Why of Prayer

1. The first part of prayer in church is the who of prayer.
1 Timothy 2:1–2 ESV
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
1.2. Coming from the end of chapter one where Paul encourages Timothy to fight the good fight, he says of first priority is prayer. Not first in order, but first in priority. It is like he is saying, “Timothy, fight the good fight and the most important weapon you have for that fight is prayer.” And Paul approaches prayer from 4 different directions. All 4 are different Greek words. Let me explain
1.2. Coming from the end of chapter one where Paul encourages Timothy to fight the good fight, he says of first priority is prayer. Not first in order, but first in priority. It is like he is saying, “Timothy, fight the good fight and the most important weapon you have for that fight is prayer.” And Paul approaches prayer from 4 different directions. All 4 are different Greek words. Let me explain
a) Supplications – making requests for specific needs
b) prayers – bringing those in view before God
c) intercessions – appealing boldly on their behalf
d) thanksgivings – thankful for the answer already counted on
1.3. So we are to pray hard for whom? On behalf of all men. The temptation to only think of our own little corner of the world in prayer is too great. That is why we pray in church. It broadens our vision. It makes us think outside of just our spheres of influence. We have to think, even if just for a moment, about other places and other people. And that is how we pray on behalf of all men.
1.4. And just in case you try to wiggle out of praying for all men by saying there are some that are too bad to pray for, Paul gives us verse 2. We are to pray for kings and all who are in authority. That may not sound like such a big deal until I tell you who the Emperor of Rome was when Paul penned this letter. It was none other than Nero. Nero went quite literally insane while he was emperor. One of the things he is remembered for is his intense persecution of Christians. There is one account of how he put up new street lights in Rome. The lights were Christians impaled on poles and lit on fire. Nero was perhaps the single greatest persecutor of Christians the world has ever known. And Paul says to pray for him.
1.5. Oh that would have stuck in the craw of a first century Christian. Pray for Him? Don't you know who he is? Don't you know what he does? How can we pray for him? Paul keeps on going, pray so that we can lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
a) peaceful – the absence of conflict without
b) quiet – the absence of conflict within
1.6. So our prayers are such that we may enjoy peace from our leaders such that external worries are diminished and such that our internal concerns are calmed. That we may be in one moment completely at peace. That is the way we are to pray. And from that peace will come a godliness and dignity that rises above the fray.
1.7. Now if I can interject into the conversation my opinion on much that goes on in our political arena today. I have seen Christians turn purple in the face as they debate for one side or the other. I have seen them look just like their opponents in debate. No difference. But if we were praying for our leaders the way Paul says to pray here, I don't know that we could get so upset. We are to pray with the purpose of peace, both without and within. Once again, remember that Paul is telling people who are under Nero to pray this way. We have not in our lifetimes experienced a leader over us as depraved as Nero.
1.8. So let's pray. If things are looking dark, let's pray more. If things are looking darker, pray harder. Remember, the first weapon in our arsenal for fighting the good fight is prayer. The first mission of the church is to pray. Even in we see that they were gathered together to pray. And again in chapter 2 as the Holy Spirit comes with the sound of a mighty wind they were praying. In fact, as we work our way through the birth of the church in Acts, we find that they were praying a lot. So prayer is not just something a church does, it must be the first thing a church does. We need to pray more.

The why of prayer

1 Timothy 2:3–7 ESV
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
2.2. Why pray? It is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. I suppose I could stop right now. Do you need more reason than that it is good and pleasing to God? But Paul gives us more reasons. This God our Savior desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. We need to pause right here. Just because that is God's desire, doesn't mean all men will be saved. There is the mystery of the free-will of man and the sovereignty of God that must enter in. God desires all to be saved, but man may still reject God's offer of salvation. He wants all men to come to the knowledge of the truth. He wants them to know their own standing before Him. We are sinners. We need a Savior. Jesus is that Savior. Which is the next verses in our passage this morning.

2.2. Why pray? It is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. I suppose I could stop right now. Do you need more reason than that it is good and pleasing to God? But Paul gives us more reasons. This God our Savior desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. We need to pause right here. Just because that is God's desire, doesn't mean all men will be saved. There is the mystery of the free-will of man and the sovereignty of God that must enter in. God desires all to be saved, but man may still reject God's offer of salvation. He wants all men to come to the knowledge of the truth. He wants them to know their own standing before Him. We are sinners. We need a Savior. Jesus is that Savior. Which is the next verses in our passage this morning.

2.2. Why pray? It is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. I suppose I could stop right now. Do you need more reason than that it is good and pleasing to God? But Paul gives us more reasons. This God our Savior desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. We need to pause right here. Just because that is God's desire, doesn't mean all men will be saved. There is the mystery of the free-will of man and the sovereignty of God that must enter in. God desires all to be saved, but man may still reject God's offer of salvation. He wants all men to come to the knowledge of the truth. He wants them to know their own standing before Him. We are sinners. We need a Savior. Jesus is that Savior. Which is the next verses in our passage this morning.
2.2. Why pray? It is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. I suppose I could stop right now. Do you need more reason than that it is good and pleasing to God? But Paul gives us more reasons. This God our Savior desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. We need to pause right here. Just because that is God's desire, doesn't mean all men will be saved. There is the mystery of the free-will of man and the sovereignty of God that must enter in. God desires all to be saved, but man may still reject God's offer of salvation. He wants all men to come to the knowledge of the truth. He wants them to know their own standing before Him. We are sinners. We need a Savior. Jesus is that Savior. Which is the next verses in our passage this morning.
2.2. Why pray? It is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. I suppose I could stop right now. Do you need more reason than that it is good and pleasing to God? But Paul gives us more reasons. This God our Savior desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. We need to pause right here. Just because that is God's desire, doesn't mean all men will be saved. There is the mystery of the free-will of man and the sovereignty of God that must enter in. God desires all to be saved, but man may still reject God's offer of salvation. He wants all men to come to the knowledge of the truth. He wants them to know their own standing before Him. We are sinners. We need a Savior. Jesus is that Savior. Which is the next verses in our passage this morning.
2.3. There is one God, only one. This is a sure echo from , also known as the shama, Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! There is only one God. To the Jews back in the days of Moses, this was a strong statement. Every little tribe and city had their own gods. Then Paul echoes the same sentiment to the church at Ephesus. A Greek city under Roman rule. The Greeks had their pantheon of gods. The Romans had Mount Olympus and all the gods there. Everywhere you looked there was a temple to some god or another. And Paul says there is only one God. To today when the Buddhists say all roads get you there eventually to the Hindus who claim millions of gods. And Paul says there is one God. This is a very exclusive claim, but he doesn't stop with just one God.
2.4. He goes on to say and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Not only is there just one God, there is only one way to talk to Him. And that is through Jesus Christ. In Jesus said of Himself, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me. Jesus is the one and only way to the one and only God. There is no other path to heaven or paradise. There is no other name that can save. Paul says in Phillippians 2:9 – 11: God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. There is no other way.
2.5. It is this Jesus who (verse 6) gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. The old Dottie Rambo song, If That Isn't Love says it better than I can.
a) He left the splendor of heaven, Knowing His destiny, Was the lonely hill of Golgatha, There to lay down His life for me. If that isn’t love; The ocean is dry, There’s no stars in the sky, And the sparrow can’t fly. If that isn’t love; Then heaven’s a myth, There’s no feeling like this, If that isn’t love!
2.6. Jesus gave His all so we could be called children of God. And Paul recognizes what Jesus' gift meant when he says, For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. The truth of Jesus is what made Paul a preacher, a proclaimer of God's truth, and an apostle, an authority on God's truth. He was given to the Gentiles (that's us) in faith and truth. He preaches down through the ages to us here today. His authority as an apostle speaks to us today. And he says we must pray. Why? Because Jesus died so that people could have a relationship with their Creator. And the number one most necessary thing we can do to introduce a lost and dying world to its Creator is to pray.
2.7. So the answer to the question of why pray? Is because it pleases God and because Jesus died in order to save people. They need Him. And we must pray for them.
In conclusion, Paul has shown us two parts of the church ingredient of prayer. We have seen the who of prayer and the why of prayer. Which leaves me with some questions today.
I think we could pray more as a church. Is once a week enough? Is twice a week enough? Throughout history, whenever God has broken out in true revival, it has begun with a dedicated group of laymen who were burdened to pray. And I don't mean just a few minutes of prayer. But hours of heart-breaking, soul-searing prayer. Prayer that isn't confined to any formula. Prayer that understands what it means to enter into the very presence of God and make requests to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is this kind of prayer that changes the world. It is this kind of prayer that changes the church. It is this kind of prayer that changes us.
We need to be transformed into a praying people. We are called to make disciples in our world 1 heart at a time. We need to be building relationships in our world. But we need to be praying. We need to entreat and pray and petition and thank. We need to pray for the salvation of people we know.
I opened the message this morning talking about a cake my sister baked many years ago. She had the wrong kind of flour and it was a flat, unappetizing cake. Folks, evangelism without prayer is like all-purpose flour instead of self-rising flour. You might get a result, but is it really what you wanted? You might be able to convince someone to say a prayer and claim to be saved. But does their life bear the fruit of the Spirit? Pray first. Let the Spirit lead. Pray first. And share with the confidence of God behind you. Pray first. And watch people be truly saved.
I don’t know that I can say much more to you about prayer. So, let’s PRAY!
Related Media
Related Sermons