The Apostle Paul wrote to Pastor Timothy in the context of Ephesus, a Greek and Roman city. The church had been planted by the Apostle on his second missionary journey. He spent three years there building up the body of Christ with sound doctrine. Included in sound doctrine is the doctrine of prayer.
When we pray, we talk to God. Prayer is both service and worship by the Christian. We learn to pray from God’s revealed Word, the Bible. There, we discover both formality and informality in prayer. Jesus’ disciples made their request known to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray…”
Christians pray to God the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and always in the name/authority of Jesus. God hears our prayers because we have an advocate with the Father, who is the one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5). Our resurrected, ascended, and enthroned Savior, who is our great high priest (Heb 4:14), ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb 7:25).
We pray because we are people in need. We have a need to worship because God designed us to worship Him. We have a need to confess our sins because sin hinders our relationship with God. We pray, giving thanks to God the Father because all things are from Him (Rom 11:36).
Prayer is prescribed by God; and men must pray. Men pray as examples to all people. We ask for God’s will to be done; and we pray to align ourselves with His will. The man of God is a man of prayer.
Prayer must be proper because we reverently approach the throne of the holy and righteous God. This is symbolized by the holy hands lifted toward heaven. Holy hands are clean hands. In the Old Testament, the priests would go into the Temple via ritual washings. We must be holy in the presence of His holiness. Only God’s Spirit and God’s Word can sanctify us.
The Bible teaches us that the prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much. We join with the Spirit in praying for ourselves and for others, including kings and all those in authority over us. It is wrong to pray in wrath and with words of dissension (1 Tim 2:8). Our relationships with others must be right. We must refrain from arguing positions in prayer. This was one of the errors for the men of the Ephesian church.
We want to live in peace and tranquility; and this is so we have an effective platform for the Gospel advance. When men in the church are at odds with one another, the world finds no allure to listen to nor join with the church in worship to the one true God. Thus, we pray for unity — that we would be one in the body of Christ. This is good in the sight of God.
To be effective in our service to God, we must pray in unity and fellowship with the saints in every place. We must never cease to pray because we so desperately need God’s wisdom and direction to do truth.
When we pray the Bible, we have the very Words God has given us, to know His will. We then pray that God would help us to do, not our own wills, but that His will be done. His will is for His glory to be known throughout the earth. His glory is seen in creation for sure, but God’s glory is most clear to us when we see Jesus.
With the opened eyes of the heart, we see the beauty and the glory of Christ. He truly is our everything; and He dwells in all who have received Him by the will of God (Jn 1:12–13; 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; Gal 2:20). We pray that the name above every other name will be exalted by us and in us (Phil 2:9). Therefore, we pray for boldness in our witness of Christ (Eph 6:19). Surely God answers prayers that align us to Him and which bring others to know Him.
When we pray “Deliver us from evil” we are praying for that which God delights to do. The same is true for “forgive us our sins.” It is a pleasure to God when He receives the prayers of His people, who demonstrate faith in calling upon His name for help and deliverance.
Of course, God does not always answer our prayers in the way we would prefer; but this is our misalignment…not His. In answering our prayers, God does work for the benefit of His beloved. Even when we are at a loss to know how to pray, the Spirit groans in prayer on our behalf (Rom 8:26–27).
In the Apostle Paul’s writings, we frequently see whole sections of thanksgiving. It is right to give our God thanks and praise. Praise aligns our heart attitude to an attitude of joyous thanks
Christian intimacy with God in prayer is an offense to the sons of disobedience who are outside of Christ (Eph 2:2–3). They are repulsed by the familiarity we have with all three Persons of the triune Godhead. We are not ashamed of the One we call on because He has given us the right to call Him “Father” (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6), with the additional consideration that He gave us the right to be called “children of God” (1 Jn 3:1. 10).
Children of a loving Father need no formal invitation to enter the presence of the One who loves and cares for them. Thus, we call on the lover of our souls precisely because He does love us (1 Jn 4:19).
In conclusion, God’s chosen people want what God has revealed to us. We pray toward that end, even as we work toward that end, always in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 20, 2023
1 Timothy 2:8