In 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Paul turns his attention from the problem of false teachers to guidelines for God- honoring public worship. According to Paul, we each have a role to fill in God’s household, and each role has responsibilities. Let’s look at some of them. One of our chief responsibilities as Christians is to pray (v. 1). God has chosen to bring about his sovereign purposes in the world through the prayers of the church. Things come to pass in this world because we pray that would not if we failed to pray. Prayer, then, is both a privilege and a necessity. Paul is telling Timothy—and us—that the progress of the gospel in the world is dependent upon the prayers of God’s people. God’s plan, and therefore our duty, as Christians extends to all men. Because God’s saving desire and Christ’s death concern everyone, our prayers and proclamation of the gospel must concern everyone.
Paul calls upon Timothy and the church in Ephesus to employ every dimension of prayer on behalf of all people, whether they are saved or unsaved, believing or unbelieving (v. 2). The first candidates for the church’s prayers are political leaders, many of whom aren’t Christians and could care less about God. All the more reason that they need our prayers. At TCC, we should pray against the growing culture of intolerance toward Christianity. We should pray against the prevailing climate of political correctness, and the tendency for people to be offended by anything that challenges their values or worldview. You can imagine the anger and bitterness that might grow in your heart toward leaders who were persecuting you; yet Paul tells us to pray for them. Only a praying church will be equipped to live lives of godliness and dignity amid persecution.
Next, Paul calls on us to pray for people’s salvation (vv. 3-4). We need to pray for the salvation of those who have not yet come to know God in a personal way through Jesus Christ…including our leaders. Now we know that all men will not be saved, but the problem isn’t on God’s side, it is on ours. People perish because they have sinned against God and either haven’t heard the gospel; or, hearing it, have chosen to reject it. God gives people the freedom to choose to accept or reject Christ. Sadly, many choose to reject Him. But because God loves and desires the salvation of all men, we should pray for the salvation of all men.
When you pray for your lost friends, family members, co-workers, and political leaders around the world, you can do so knowing that God desires their salvation. One thing is certain; all men need God’s salvation—they need to come to the “knowledge of the truth,” as Paul says in verse 4. This mention of divine truth prompts Paul to restate the gospel message, only now, he restates it in the context of his urging prayer (vv. 5-6). There is only one God, and there is on one way to Him, and it is through his Son Jesus Christ. There is only one acceptable mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave his life as a ransom for all (John 14:6, 1 Timothy 2:6).
The word ransom in Greek is “antilutron.” It is made up of the prefix “anti” (in the place of) and “lutron,” the word used for the ransom of a slave or prisoner. Paul applies this term to Jesus. He died in our place. Jesus’ death was the ransom payment God required to free us from sin’s guilt and bondage. But it is not enough to just pray. People cannot respond to a Savior they know nothing about. Therefore, in addition to praying, we must proclaim the gospel message to all men. Paul concludes his discourse on the critical importance of prayer in verse 8. As we seek to tell others about Christ in a God- defying world, we must do so prayerfully and dependently. We are to pray for peace and we are to be peacemakers ourselves. It is in this way that we make our greatest impact.
Prayer is not just a privilege; it is a responsibility. It is something that all believers can and should do. If we are to reach the world for Christ, we must pray, as well as share our faith. Both are necessary.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Form the habit of God-honoring prayer, associating it with another regular activity in your life.
- Set no limits on prayer. Don’t try to resist temptation in any area without God.
- Use 1 Timothy 2:1-7 as a prayer guide. Pray for government officials, for freedom to flourish, and for the salvation of family, friends, co-workers and for those around the world.
- If you would like to know God personally, contact us here. Scroll down to the Ministry Information Request section and mark the first or second checkbox. We look forward to helping!