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Instructions concerning Prayer

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1st Timothy 2:1 – 7 Instructions concerning Prayer

1  First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, 6 who gave himself a ransom for all --this was attested at the right time. 7 For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

The First Duty of the Church—Pray.

Introduction: It is important that the church have a balanced ministry of the Word of God and prayer. The Word instructs the church; prayer inspires the church to obey the Word. The church that has an abundance of Bible teaching but little prayer will have “much light, but no heat.” It will be traditional but frozen!

The other extreme is the church that has much prayer and religious enthusiasm, but little teaching from the Word; this may produce a group of people with zeal but no knowledge.

1st Timothy 2:1 – 7 are verses that begin a significant section in the teaching of 1 Timothy, a section that covers the duties and order of the church. The first duty of the church is basic: it is the duty of prayer.

Point 1: (2:1) According to instructions given in scripture we are to pray for all men. Not a single person is to be omitted or left out. We are to pray for all persons, the high and the low,  the educated and the uneducated,  the important and the unimportant,  the rich and the poor,  the leader and the followers,  the old and the young,  the friend and the enemy.

Pray for all men. Do not neglect, ignore, or bypass any person. Every person needs prayer; every person needs God: we all need his salvation, care, direction, approval, and acceptance. Therefore, we are to pray for all men.

Note, the verses that we read: this is an exhortation (parakaleō) to pray, which means that it is both an encouragement and a charge. The believer is both encouraged and charged to pray. He is given the encouragement and charge to pray just as a soldier is encouraged and charged to fight.

 

Please don’t miss the way that the verses start off. . . "First of all" stresses just how important prayer is. "First of all"—above all else, of supreme importance—put prayer first. "First of all"—before all else—pray for all men.

Upon rereading and close examination, the scriptures in 1st Timothy show us four kinds of prayer:

1.  There is "supplication" (deēseis PWS: 3857). This refers to the prayers that focus upon special needs—deep and intense needs. When we see special needs in the lives of people—all people—we are to supplicate for them. That is, we are to be carrying the need before God with a great sense of urgency and plead and beg for the person or persons. The idea is that of intense and deep brokenness before God in behalf of others—that God would help and save the person.

Just think what a different world this would be, what a different community we would have if we really took the names and needs of people before God and pleaded for them in an intense brokenness and in tears. Just think . . .how many more loved ones would be saved and helped . . ..how many more within our community and villages and country and world would be saved and helped . . . how fewer problems would exist within society.

Scripture emphatically declares: "Ye have not, because ye ask not" (James 4:2). We need to follow the instructions found in the verses that open up the second chapter of 1st Timothy.

The verses go on to tell us that there are "prayers" (proseuchas). This refers to the special times of prayer that we set aside for devotion and worship. We are to have set times for prayer, times that we set aside to worship God and when we pray for all men.

The verses speak of "intercessions" (enteuxeis PWS: 2182). This refers to bold praying; to standing before God in behalf of another person. Christ is our Intercessor, the One who stands between God and us in our behalf. But we are to intercede for men, to carry their names and lives before God and to boldly pray for them, expecting God to hear and answer—all in the name of Christ. We are to intercede for all men—to stand in the gap between them and God, boldly praying and asking God to be merciful and gracious in salvation and in deliverance.

Then, the scripture speaks on something that is sadly, so often overlooked! I am talking just as the scripture does about prayers of  "thanksgiving" (eucharistias PWS: 1691). This means that we thank God for hearing and answering—thank Him for what He has done and is going to do for all men.

 

Somewhere I read. . . . .

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke 18:1).

Point 2: now, I don’t want to get myself in any trouble after all this is an election year, but we are to pray for the powers that be in government: we got to pray for civil authorities, for kings and for all who are in authority.

No matter how good or how bad they are, pray for them. No matter how moral or immoral they are, pray for them. No matter how just or unjust they are, pray for them.

The thought of praying for evil rulers is shocking to some people. Just think of the evil rulers in the world even today.

But don’t miss this. . .  remember: Nero was on the throne in Rome when Paul charged believers to pray for the king or emperor. And Nero had already burned Rome and had blamed it on Christian believers. In fact, he was presently launching a violent persecution against the believers.

 Donald Guthrie says, "This Christian attitude towards the State is of utmost importance. Whether the civil authorities are perverted or not they must be made subjects for prayer, for Christian citizens may in this way influence the course of national affairs, a fact often forgotten except in times of special crisis" (The Pastoral Epistles. "Tyndale New Testament Commentaries," p.70).There are two reasons why we are to pray for rulers.

1.  We pray for rulers so that we can lead quiet and peaceable lives. The only way the citizens of a nation can live quiet and peaceable lives is for the ruler to be filled...with wisdom and knowledge…with morality and justice. . .with courage and boldness . .with compassion and understanding. . .Therefore, believers must pray for the rulers to be filled to the brim so that the rulers can bring about peace and security throughout the land. Then and only then can the citizens of a land live quiet and peaceable lives.

2.  We must pray for rulers so that we can live godly and sincere lives. Believers want freedom of worship for all citizens. . .They want freedom of worship, and freedom of life and choice, the right to worship and live for God without being opposed and persecuted. Belivers want freedom of life and choice, the right to live sincere or purposeful lives, the right to pursue their own lives and wills without being opposed by a ruler.

Point 3: Prayer is so important: pray for all men to be saved, both rulers and citizens, both high and low.

First, God is our Savior and He wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. As pointed out earlier (1 Tim. 1:1), God our Savior is one of the great titles for God. God is our Savior, the source of our salvation. God is the first Person who has cared for and loved man. God loves us and He is not willing that any should perish; therefore, He has taken the initiative and provided the way for us to be saved.

 What truth is it that God wants man to know? . . .that there is only one God, and there is only one Mediator who gave Himself a ransom for all. . . What truth is it that God wants man to know?. . .the truth that all can be saved from sin and death and judgment to come through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. God loves man so much that He has provided the way for man to be saved. That way is the truth, and that truth is the truth that God wants man to know.

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

This is the reason we should pray for all men, both rulers and citizens, high and low, educated and uneducated, moral and immoral, just and unjust, civilized and savage, saved and lost. God wants all men to be saved regardless of who they are and no matter how evil they may be.

Point 4: there is only one God, not the many gods of men. If there were many gods, then there would be many ways to reach the heavens of the gods. But there are not many gods. Logically, there could not be many gods. When we speak of God, we mean the Infinite and Supreme Majesty of the Universe. There can be only one Supreme Being, only one Infinite Being. If there should be many gods, then they would not be infinite or supreme; therefore, they would not be God. The point is this: since there is only one God, there can be only one way to reach Him—only one way to be saved.

How, then, can man become acceptable to God? God has to make man acceptable. God Himself has to handle the sin, condemnation, and death of men. But how? There was only one way: God, the Perfect Person, had to become Man. God had to come to earth in such a way that man could understand Him and understand what He was doing. This He did by partaking of flesh and blood and coming to earth in the person of His Son, the Man Christ Jesus.

When a man really believes in Jesus Christ...God takes that man's belief and counts it as the righteousness of Jesus Christ. . .  God accepts the man's faith and honor in His Son as righteousness.. . . God lets the righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ, cover the man.. .    . . .  .God accepts the man's faith as the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Very simply stated, man is not righteous, but God takes man's faith in His Son and credits his faith as righteousness. Jesus Christ stands as the Mediator between God and men; He stands as the Mediator of perfection and righteousness for man.

The point is this: since there is only one Mediator, we must pray for men to come to know Him. And we must rush to proclaim Him to all men so that they can know about Him and have the opportunity to follow Him.

 "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

Point 5:  The man Christ Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all. The word "ransom" (antilutron PWS: 3161) means to exchange something for something else. The man Christ Jesus exchanged His life for the life of man; He gave up His life for the life of man. By the cross. Jesus Christ took the sin and condemnation of men upon Himself and bore their judgment for them. Christ died for man; He bore the judgment of God against sin for man.

This is the glorious gospel of God: man can now live forever in the presence of God. Jesus Christ gave Himself as a ransom for sin and death. When man receives Christ Jesus into his heart and begins to follow Christ...God gives him life now and forever, abundant life and eternal life. When the man finishes his task upon earth, God will transfer him right into His presence—quicker than a flash of lightning. The man never has to taste death.

We must pray for men to believe that Christ died for them—pray that they might be saved. And we must rush to proclaim the glorious news that Christ Jesus has paid the ransom price for us: we can now be set free from sin, death, and condemnation. We can now live with God eternally.

Conclusion Preachers are called to lift the eyes of people to God.

Some people who come to hear us, carry heavy burdens, deep pains, intense struggles, and their own private suffering. That is all they can see. The preacher stands and dares to say, "Pray then lets look for the eternal."

Some come to us indifferent. They come to church out of habit; it is the thing to do. These people are concerned about making it in life. Their eyes are on mortgage payments, college tuition, a demanding job. The preacher stands and dares to say, Pray "Let's look for the eternal."

I don’t know but I believe that, some come spiritually satisfied. They look at their lives which are better than most. They love God, if not with all of their heart, mind, and soul, at least with some of it. They like sermons that talk about positive thinking and how to be self-fulfilled; they look for a church that does not expect too much. And the preacher stands and dares to say, let us Pray. . .then "Let's look for the eternal."

Some do not come at all. The church is insignificant to them. If pushed, some will profess faith in a kind of God, but this God has little relevance to their lives. The church is for those who need a crutch. Ministers are viewed as kindly, boring people who mean well but have little sense of what life is about. And still the preacher stands and dares to say, Pray. . ."Let's look for the eternal."

The message in 1st Timothy Chapter 2 verses 1 – 7. . . we are to use the power of prayer to come To "Throne Of Grace" The throne of grace is established. There we are to get all the grace we need. Sin is not so strong as the arm of God. He will help and deliver you if you will come and get the grace you need. . . . . .Let Us Pray. . . .

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