I TIMOTHY 5
THE IMPORTANCE AND POWER OF PRAYER
Before Paul gets into his dissertation on women’s role in the church, he spends some time giving a very positive lesson to Timothy on the use of prayer. Because this is such a very important part of the Christian’s life, I want to take time to emphasize some of the things Paul said and some other aspects of prayer that may be often missing from one’s prayer life.
Here Paul says for Timothy to pray for everyone. He then specifies that Timothy should pray for all those in authority. At that time they were under Roman rule. These rulers were cruel and often enemies of the church. But Paul still says to pray for them. This is still true today. No matter how bad the leadership might be, or how much we oppose them, in Paul’s admonitions we should pray for them.
There are two reasons for this: first, because Jesus came to save the lost. God loves all of His creatures…smart or dumb, rich or poor, black or white, good or bad…He loves them all and wants all of them to be saved. Our prayer should support the will of our Father. May they all accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be ultimately saved. The Gospel is universal. It is for all people everywhere. That is why our missionary efforts are so important.
The second reason is that we should be praying that the ones in power would strive for peace…would work for the good of the country…would make wise and prudent decisions. This is a prayer that they will give us peace, keep us safe
and provide a leadership that would make the country better.
But do you really believe in prayer? Are our prayers in church, at the dinner table or at bed time, just a ritual in which we say memorized phrases and satisfy our need to feel religious? Prayer is first and foremost a recognition of the real presence of God, at our side, hearing our petitions and caring about us. Secondly, prayer is not informing God of what we need, much less telling Him how to solve our problems. He knows what we want, but even more, He knows
what is best for us, and because of His infinite love, He will give, or withhold, what His wisdom dictates.
Prayer is not for information. It is for companionship with our Creator. It is a time when we can know that He wants us to come to Him and confide in Him the innermost thoughts of our hearts. That He knows them does not matter. He has invited us into the throne room of Heaven to talk to the King, with the assurance that He will listen. He is not listening to a million prayers at one time. God is Spirit and He can, and does, listen to you alone at this sacred time. That is what prayer is all about. Does it change God’s mind? Only in the sense that it is a demonstration of your faith in Him, and that makes all the difference in how He responds to you. He will bless you only if you will let Him, for He has given you freedom of choice. Prayer is saying I believe and trust Him and turn all things over to His wisdom and His love.