PRAYER IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
1 Timothy 2:1- 8 by Cooper Abrams
by Cooper Abrams
A church can have a nice building with adequate facilities. It can have regular services that are well attended. It can have a good bible teachers for Sunday School. It can have a good well trained pastor. It can have a great visitation program. But if that assemble does not fervently prayer....the church will accomplish little. If a child of God wants to do God’s will and be a faithful servant accomplishing God’s will that believer must also be a prayer faithful warrior. If a local church does not have many prayer warriors the power of God will not be on that church.
In the beginning of this church in September 2000 we were in constant prayer for each other, for souls, for our outreach in to our community. God blessed us greatly and the congregation great, and within two years we were able to complete this building. Over the next few years we continued to pray and God blessed us greatly with souls saved and spiritual growth in the lives of those who attended. However, about 2007 your pastor, failed in his leadership and our congregation did not emphasize prayer as it had earlier. The church continued, but the power of God we had seen earlier was not present. I learned an important lesson during that time.
Dear Friends....prayer is a vital part of our ministry in this church. It is vital in each of our lives individually and collectively as a congregation who worship and serve our Savior.
In 1 Timothy:
Chapter 2:1-3, 8 Deals with prayer in the local church. The instruction is to the pastor that he should have a two fold ministry
A church must have a balanced ministry of prayer and the Word of God. The Bible instructs a church and inspires them to obey the Word they hear. However, a church that is weak in prayer can have great light yet little fire or heat. On the other hand a church can have much prayer and religious enthusiasm and little teaching of the Word, producing a group with zeal, but little knowledge. The key to having God’s approval is there to be a proper balance both of truth and prayer.
Our church spends the first part of our evening service taking prayer requests and praying for needs of others, our church, and the lost. Again on Wednesday night Bible study we spend the first half praying. We pray for each member of our church even those who have chosen not to attend these two services. We pray for each family in our church and specifically for the needs that are shared doing this time. We pray for our missionaries. We read and shared need they express in their prayer letters. For many months we have been praying for several missionaries and pastor who have cancer. We have seen God answer prayers.
Our custom is to have a season of prayer. I will ask on e of our men to begin and then encourage every one present to also prayer aloud one after the other. That includes men and women. This is a family prayer meeting....the family of Calvary Baptist Church. I believe we are honoring our Lord and Savior. I also believe that we can do better.
Paul begins saying that first a church must be a praying church. It does not mean this diminishes the other activities of a local church such as preaching, evangelism, etc. It means that a church is to be totally dependent of the Lord. Offering our prayers to the Lord is the means of empowering a local church to conduct the rest of its ministries. Prayer sets the attitude of the congregation. Prayer shows the church is not going forward in its own strength, but going forth dependent on the Lord.
Serious prayer is vital because is shows a wholehearted trust in the Lord. (See 1 Thess. 2:13, Eph. 3:20-21) The Holy Spirit works through prayer and the Word of God. In prayer is the power to make the Word of God practical and real. It tunes our hearts and the heart of the local church to the mind and will of God.
Supplications: This means submitting our petitions and asking for needs.
Prayers: This means earnest worship and praise.
Intercessions: Requests on the behalf of others.
Thanksgiving: Expressing appreciate and making recognition of the source of our very life and all good things.
C. We should understand the aim of prayer. Verse 2 suggests that prayer helps to maintain peace in our society.
We are to pray for our rulers, president and lawmakers. God will overrule and protect His children from wicked men in our government. Further, government upholds civil law which offers protection for the believer as well. Through government a society has order. Without law society will result to anarchy which brings turmoil without peace. Verse 3, says that prayer for our rulers in authority pleases God and glorifies Christ.
Verse 4, says we are to pray for the lost. God desires that all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. This states a purpose for the local church to preach the Gospel that men might be saved. The verse specifically states that the Lord desires all to be saved.
This soundly refutes the false teaching of Calvinism that says God has decreed or elected who would be saved and who would not. God’s stated desire to give grace to all who will receive His freely offer grace in faith.
We should pray for the family of God, but also the lost. "All" men need our prayers.
Many times only one or two are praying for the salvation of a lost person. Often churches get complacent in praying for the lost. We should be prayer warriors. Mothers and father should pray for their children.
Wives and husbands must pray for their lost spouses. Christians need to pray for their brothers and sisters, for their friends, neighbors.
How many people outside of your church are praying for the lost here in our town? That’s one reason the church is so important as it is to be a house of prayer. It is tragic that many churches are not in earnest prayer for the lost in their area and that have no power to reach the unsaved. D. The One Way. Verse 5. Paul stresses the important truth that there is only one God and mediator between men and God and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. It was only Jesus, God incarnate in man, that could and did pay the sin debt of the world. Only Jesus Christ could and did atone for sin and offer salvation by simple faith in His sacrifice and free offer of salvation.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Jesus who is our Savior is our mediator between us and God. Only through Him are our prayers heard by God the Father. Verse 5 should end prayers to Mary of the Catholics and to other “saints” as the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic church practice.
Jesus Himself instructed us that our prayers as Matthew 6:5-8 states are to be directed to God the Father. Therefore our prayers are presented to God the Father, through our mediator Jesus Christ.
As Hebrews 12:16 states, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Therefore we need not pray to any priest or any religious person. Prayers are not presented to God by a church, but by Jesus Christ.
E. We Should Pray for the Sure Future Revealing of Jesus Christ. (Verse 6) Though only believed by a few today, the truth (testimony) of the truth of verse 5 will in due time be revealed to all.
“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11)
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Philippians 2:10)
(See Revelation 19:11-16)
F. Paul’s Calling. Verse 7. Paul interjects the authority of his statements. He states he was ordained a preacher and an apostle. Note the order of these to positions of service. First he was called or placed in the ministry of Christ as a preacher to the Gentiles. Second he states he is an apostle. Some accused Paul of taking the title of Apostle while not being qualified to be one. However, Paul met all the qualifications of an Apostle as much as the Twelve. He had met and been called personally by Jesus Christ on the Damascus road. He had the gifts of the Holy Spirit in performing the miracles (signs). Like the other Apostles he had left his profession and given himself wholly to preaching the Gospel and serving the Lord. The further proof of his Apostleship was in the fruit of his work for the Lord. Many churches were established and great numbers saved. Further, it could be clearly seen the hand of God was upon him in inspiring him to write his epistles which make up most of our New Testament.
Paul’s message was of faith and verity (truth). His message was clearly the word of God and authenticated by God in numerous ways in success of taking the Gospel to the Gentiles.
Writing to the Corinthians Paul made this clear, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:11-13)
To the Thessalonians, Paul wrote, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
G. THE AIMS OF PRAYER: Verse 8, lays down three conditions for public praying in the local church.
WITHOUT WRATH: Means in love. We do not pray for God’s judgment on wrong doers, but for God’s mercy and grace. We pray not with malice, but with a caring and loving heart, which them God’s grace and for their turning to Him. ( See Mark 11:25-26)
WITH HOLY HANDS: Separated from sin, living clean lives dedicated to the Lord. The New Testament is very clear that we must come to the Lord with a clean heart and life. God cannot bless error or use those that allow sin to rule their lives. They have no outward testimony of God’s grace and their upholding God’s truth, thus the sinning believer’s prayers are not no avail.
Jesus stated, “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23-24)
James says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:3)
Peter warned husbands to honor their wives that there prayers not be hindered. “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7)
WITH FAITH: Pray believing. James 1:5-8 The motivation for prayer is faith. Faith means we are trusting in the Lord for our being and substance. Hebrews 11:6 says without faith we cannot please God. Having faith means we are trusting in Him. We have not righteousness or power in ourselves to do anything for the Lord. But by faith, we act relying on God’s strength and He then works through us to accomplish His will. That means the work we do is God’s work and not our own and it means the glory is wholly His and not of ours. God cannot honor the prayer not offered in faith. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:7-8) “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24) “And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:15) “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” (James 1:5-7)
2. Prayer to be effective must come from a burdened heart.
3. Prayer that honor the Lord is not a ritual. It is not some religious action we do, but a fervent outpouring of our heart felt desire to see God intervene.
4. Question? Are you obeying God’s compassionate command to “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Is continual prayer a part of your life and relationship wit the Lord?