Encouraging Prayer

a Word from "THE WORD"


by Rev. Dr. John Keith


1 Timothy 2:1 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving thanks be made for all men.”


The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson now has a program which they call “Integrative Medicine.” It is a program designed to study and apply alternative forms of medicine.


Among the forms of alternative medicine which the college employs is prayer.


In scientific studies, prayer has been shown to lower blood pressure. Even more impressively, religious folks have been found to live longer than agnostics and atheists.


One recent study has shown that heart patients are less likely to die when designated family members pray for them, even when these heart patients do not realize they are being prayed for. Isn’t it amazing that medical science is finally catching on to what Christians have known all our lives?


In our text, the apostle Paul is giving young pastor Timothy some encouragement to pray. Let me share three thoughts from this passage of Scripture.


First of all, notice the obligation to pray. Notice how Paul begins verse 1—“therefore I exhort first of all…” As believers our first obligation is to pray—no matter what the situation is, prayer should be our first response. We should not do anything until we pray and seek the guidance and direction of the Lord. All too often prayer is our last resort, when in reality it should be our first resort.


My philosophy is that we cannot do anything until we have prayed, and then there is nothing impossible after we have prayed.


Second, notice the opportunity of prayer. Prayer gives us the opportunity to see what God has to say about a matter. Prayer gives us the opportunity to pause and get some direction before we make a decision.


When we pray we should seek God’s direction before we make a decision—not after. All too often we make a decision without consulting God and then ask Him to bless the decision that we have already made.


You should take note that the opportunity to pray is open to everyone—not just a select few, not just pastors, but everyone has the opportunity to pray. The sad thing is that not everyone does take advantage of the opportunity to pray.


Third, notice the operation of prayer. It is for all men. Verse one begins with the word “therefore.” I have always heard that when one comes to the word “therefore” in the Scripture, he should see what it is there for. The word “therefore” draws attention back to what was said previously.


When we look back at chapter 1 verses 19-20 we see that the word “therefore” is a reference to two men—Hymenaeus and Alexander who had become shipwrecks in the faith. We should pray for all men, but especially for those who have become shipwrecks. I believe that prayer for all men would prevent many from becoming shipwrecks as well as restore some who have become shipwrecks.


Folks, if there ever was a time when our nation needed prayer, it is now. We have an obligation to pray for our nation.


1 Timothy 2:2 commands us to pray for kings and all who are in authority. We don’t have a king but we have a president, we have congressmen and senators. We have an obligation to pray for them. Pray for God to guide them in their decision making. Ask God to speak to their hearts about the direction our country should go.


Pray for God to give us Christian leaders. By the way, the only way we will have Christian leaders is if we elect them. Therefore, it is every Christian’s responsibility to be sure they vote for candidates that represent Christian values. It is my prayer that every believer rises to the occasion and intercedes for our nation.

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