"Praying People" - 1 Timothy 2a
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. - 1 Timothy 2:1-2
The main emphasis in our passage this week is found in these opening verses and concluded in verse 8:
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting - 1 Timothy 2:8
God wants his church to be a praying people. This is consistently emphasised throughout the New Testament and demonstrated from the churches beginning in Acts where we see a dedication to prayer and as a result an empowered people.
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:31 NKJV)
When the Apostles became overwhelmed with responsibilities within the growing church in Acts it was decided that they could best serve the church by focusing on two things:
“but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." Acts 6:4
The power of prayer is seen in the fact that nations and kingdoms, leaders and authority figures can be moved by the hand of God as his people pray. Daniels prayer for his people while in Babylon is testimony to this point, with God using the Persian king Cyrus to accomplish deliverance for His people.
There is an exhortation to be praying for the leaders and authority figures in our own nation. God can turn peoples hearts and change the course of disaster through our prayers.
if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV
Despite these exhortations there remains a sad absence of prayer in many of our lives. Warren Wiersbe quotes a pastor:
“If I announce a banquet,” a pastor said, “people will come out of the woodwork to attend. But if I announce a prayer meeting, I’m lucky if the ushers show up!”
There is power in united prayer
One last point I want to make is the power of united prayer, in a congregational sense.
"No great spiritual awakening has begun anywhere in the world apart from united prayer—Christians persistently praying for revival.” Such is the dictum of J. Edwin Orr, one of the world’s authorities on the subject of revival, and it is a lesson for the church of our day.
Both Scripture and experience unite to indicate that there is cumulative power in unified praying. Faith is infectious, and infection spreads where numbers congregate. Unbelief, on the other hand, thrives more readily in isolation. A single stick can kindle a fire only with great difficulty. Was it not at a united prayer meeting that the power of Pentecost was unleashed?
It is a consistent teaching of Scripture that, when a number of Christians unite in prayer for a given person or objective, special spiritual power is brought into operation, for their gathering demonstrates that oneness that God delights to see and acknowledge. Did Jesus not pray, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11)? J.Oswald Sanders (BOOK: THE POWER OF TRANSFORMING PRAYER)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Matthew 18:19-20 NKJV
That word ‘agree’ is from the Greek word pronounced soom-fo-neh'-o. It’s where we derive our English word symphony from. So, in a sense when we pray together in agreement it is like playing together in symphony, creating a beautiful sound in God’s ears and He will hear our prayers and heal our land.