Summary: Prayer, the missing jewel of worship
1 Timothy 2 : 1-3
The passage that we have read together this morning is headed up in the NIV Instructions for worship.
At first glance you may well think, hang on , this chapter say’s nothing about worship, we however need to ask our selves is this really true and that is what I pray that we can do this morning, it would be beneficial to split our time into two and firstly to look at:
1. The missing element of worship
It is interesting when you ask people what is worship, the usual answer that people would come up with will mention Hymns, Songs, music, style, freedom, restriction, musicians, moving, dull, dry, inspiring, incredible, to mention but a few yet rarely in my experience when you ask about worship will people mention the word prayer, yet here we meet Paul giving instructions to Timothy, a young pastor in a troubled church in the city of Ephesus and what does Paul major on, is it the Hymn book they are using, is it the style of music that they employ, is it the appointment of a worship leader. As important as all these issues mighty are, none of these are anywhere near to what Paul writes about.
Paul begins with the words “I urge then”, in the NKJ the word exhort is used instead of urge, both of which express an urgency, a need, an essential, also in the NKJ the word therefore is used instead of then, both terms suggest because of what has gone on before, [read from 1:18 – 2:1]
First of all, before you do anything else, this is the most important thing, Paul may not be saying that this is what you must do first, every time that you come together, though I am pleased to say this would be our normal practice, what he is saying is that prayer, whatever else is done, prayer must be given utmost priority. I don’t believe that it is coincidence that we are at this point in Timothy at the same time that we are looking as a church to develop our prayer lives.
We need to here to be careful that we do not just become mechanical in our prayers; we need to seek God and ask him to give us a spirit of prayer, so that prayer becomes real and as natural as talking to our earthly father.
Surely the question that we need to ask ourselves this morning is how much emphasis do we ourselves put on prayer, both individual and corporate. It is often as we come together to pray that we are drawn closer to God.
Listen to the words of Spurgeon ‘We shall never see much change for the better in our churches in general till the prayer meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians’
As we have already said, we must guard against our prayers being mechanical and only praying because we feel we have to, they should be times of very real heart felt communion with God and surely that is why Paul is here urging Timothy and the Church at Ephesus to place such importance on this work of prayer.
Paul then goes on to mention 4 of the 7 terms used for prayer in the NT, Paul talks about requests or supplications as it is worded in the NKJ, these should never be selfish, and we should always be praying for the needs of our brothers first, yet when we do come with our own requests, what do we major on, may I suggest that we should major on our spiritual needs before our physical needs, even though these are essential it is amazing the way God provides before we even ask when we are walking aright with him.
Paul then goes on to say ‘Prayers, intercession and thanksgiving, what is the difference between these, prayer in the sense that it is used here, is a term relating to wonder and awesomeness, as
We approach a God who is infinitely holy.
There are always needs within our congregation, so we should pray that those needs would be met by our glorious God. We should pray for God’s witness through his people throughout the world. We need to pray that we will daily live our lives in way’s that are more honouring to him than they have been in the past, also we should uplift God’s justice in prayer and pray that it will always be done. The term prayer, is a general term covering the types of prayer mentioned above, next we come to intercession, this word is only used only 10 times in the whole of scripture, and conveys the idea of drawing close to God, it means ‘gaining entrance to the presence of a King in order to present a petition’.