Paul was a man of prayer and he used his persuasive power to call upon the church to pray.
He wrote to Timothy, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone” (1 Timothy 2.1).
Every form of prayer at our disposal should be used to pray for everyone.
I began the ministry in Perkins Missouri at the age of 19. I had no formal training and had attended church for a little over one year.
Those are definitely not the best credentials to pastor a church.
The church was extremely helpful in my development. I learned to preach by copying sermons from Charles Spurgeon and we prayed about everything.
The town had a population of 142 and I was able to pray for every home by imagining their locations on the gravel roads of the village.
The church took Paul’s “everyone” to mean exactly that. The result was that a little country church grew from 35 members to 75 in three years.
Does praying for “everyone” make a difference? The answer is a definite “yes.”
Prayer for Leaders
Among the “everyone,” Paul included the authorities who control the destinies of a nation’s people.
He urged the church to pray “for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2.2).
The Ephesian church had only been in existence for a few decades. They worshiped a crucified Messiah.
Crucifixion was the most shameful way to die and it was inconceivable for people to believe that their God had been so weak as to be crucified.
Paul was quite aware that “the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1.18).
Worshipers of Jesus were suspect and Paul called the church to pray for governmental leaders to allow them to serve Jesus in peace.
Serving Jesus in “peace and dignity” is a possible reference to the disruption that false teachers caused the congregation in Ephesus.
Instead of praying for “everyone,” some in the church had “turned to meaningless talk, desiring to be teachers of the law without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions” (1 Timothy 1.6-7).
Prayer is a solution for more than the church’s relationship with the government. When prayer is accompanied by an open attitude toward God’s Spirit, it will also solve problems within the church.
Prayer is Always Right
Prayer for “everyone,” including authorities is always right.
Prayer wasn’t just Paul’s idea. Concerning prayers for everyone Paul wrote, “This is right and acceptable before God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2.3).
We don’t have to read far into the Gospels to find Jesus’ teaching about prayer. In the early chapters of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus gave us the content of the most effective prayer we can pray.
“Pray, then, in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be revered as holy.
May your kingdom come.
“May your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
“Give us today our daily bread.
“And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
“And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6.9-13)
Jesus taught about prayer through his words and actions. He gave the church promises concerning prayer on several occasions.
Seven prayer promises fill the pages of John’s gospel from chapters 14-16.
The Gospel and Prayer
Paul was devoted to Jesus and to telling others about God’s love. The central purpose of prayer was the expansion of the good news.
We can expect results to our prayers because God is the One “who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 1.4).
One of Jesus’ prayer promises illuminates God’s desire for humans to know his love.
Jesus said, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples” (John 15.7-8).
The gospel was central to Paul’s ministry because he knew it was the most important gift the church could offer the world.
This priority has not changed since the first century. When people tell the good news to others in the power of the Holy Spirit, they have the opportunity to meet the Ultimate Reality of All, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.