1 Timothy 2:1-15
It should be our desire to pray for those around us. The truth of the gospel should spur us to prayer. It is God, not us, that brings salvation and peace to the hearts of family, friends, and neighbors. If we truly believe this, why would we not pray regularly for all people? Do we not believe that God has the power to save those around us? Prayer isn’t only about salvation though. If we are not praying for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our family and friends, it can only be a testimony to one of two things: our lack of belief in the effectiveness of prayer or our lack of love for our neighbors. Not only should we be continually praying for the salvation of unbelievers and the needs or our neighbors, but we should also be in a continual state of thanksgiving for those that God has put into our lives. We should express our thankfulness to God for answered prayers and for the evidence of his work in the people around us. Prayer and thanksgiving is essential to the Christian life. It is essential to our relationship with God and to our relationship with those who are the closest to us.
Paul reminds Timothy that life also continues outside of our inner circles – and our prayer should reach out as well. There are people all around us that have little-to-no requests lifted up to God on their behalf. Who will pray for the unchurched, the unloved, and the unbelieving if we don’t? Who will pray for the person in line behind us if we don’t? Who will pray for the homes in our neighborhood if we don’t? Who will pray for our teachers, our mayors, our governors, and the leaders of our nation if we don’t pray for them? How can we assume peace and salvation will come to our land if Christians fail to pray for the unrest and the unbelief of our nation on a regular basis? Flag poles and national days of prayer are important, but so is today is more important. Our leaders are subject to the creator of the Universe regardless of whether they acknowledge it or not. As believers in a sovereign God, why would we not ask him to give our leaders wisdom in the way they lead? Do we not believe that prayers for people outside of our social sphere of influence will be received by God? How do we expect for freedom and peace to abound in a secular society if we, as believers, are not interceding for them to God.
Furthermore, our prayers must be accompanied by holy hands. Do not allow your pursuit of prayer in private to be followed by ungodliness in public. This is especially relevant in relation to our leaders and to politics and in our age of blogs and Facebook. It is one thing to voice your concern towards the legislations and the decisions of politicians, it is an ungodly thing to defame who they are as individuals. If we are praying to God for the salvation of leaders in private and then defaming their name in public, I have to question the sincerity of our prayers and the sincerity of our love for them as individuals. Are we so selfish that we will eagerly slander leaders before we will pray for them. Leaders are people too. Our national and local leaders will either spend eternity with or without God? If we, as believers, truly embrace the gospel as truth, we must place more weight on the eternal state of a person than the temporal weight of their decisions. I have to wonder what the outcome would be if believers put as much time into praying for our leaders as we did into blogging about their political decisions.
Do not lose sight of the context of Paul’s letter to Timothy or to the world around you. Paul has just urged Timothy to resist “strange doctrines” that preach anything other than Christ crucified as a means of salvation. He is about to speak to the importance of godly living in an ungodly world. Chapter two – our prayer lives – is the connection between these two passages. There is no personal righteousness without the righteousness of God. There is no personal holiness without prayer and total reliance on God. God is sovereign over all. He has offered us access to him through prayer. Do not neglect such an amazing truth. Do not neglect prayer.