Summary: The need for prayer
1 Timothy 2 - Prayer
Turn with me this morning to the second chapter in the book of 1 Timothy. Timothy in towards the end of the New Testament, in the second half of the Bible. We saw that this is a letter from the Apostle Paul to Timothy, his young protegé. Paul left Timothy at Ephesus to straighten out the problems in the church there. Ephesus was a city filled with idol worship, sexual immorality, and false teachings.
Timothy, though, is a young man and sometimes people in the church did not follow his leadership and give him the respect he deserved (1 Tim. 4:12). Timothy was timid and shy (2 Tim 1:6). He sometimes was sickly, or at least was so troubled by the problems in the church that his stomach bothered him (1 Tim 5:23). The tension in the church had him to the point of giving up. But Paul gives him a letter to encourage him to keep on going.
We saw Paul give three commands to Timothy in chapter 1:
1. Teach Sound Doctrine 2. Preach the Gospel 3. Defend the Faith
Today as we come to chapter 2, we want to look at the role of Prayer. So, as we come to the passage this morning, let’s do what it tells us to do: let’s pray. PRAYER: for God to inspire us to pray
When you get sick, you go to the doctor, who helps prescribe help for you. But we also go to the doctor for something called a “checkup.” Once a year, we schedule a time to go to the doctor, who checks us out: he takes our temperature, checks our weight, monitors our cholesterol, and tells us how we are doing. Today, we want to take a “spiritual” checkup. We want to take an inventory of our lives to see how we are doing in this area of prayer.
There are a lot of Christians who want to read a book to get “3 simple keys to living a godly life” - 4 keys to a good marriage - 3 keys to financial success. We want short, easy solutions for complex problems of life. Often, those who make millions selling those “self-help” books simple restate very simple, basic biblical answers in ways that sound new and intriguing. The reality today is that as we talk about prayer, each one of us here knows about prayer, we just need to be reminded how valuable and important it is in our lives. Paul gives us that reminder here in 1 TImothy 2. Read 2:1-8.
Today as we take a spiritual checkup, let’s consider our prayer lives. The first evaluation:
Is your prayer URGENT? Paul urges Timothy and the whole church to pray. This is something that is for every Christian. You might not be able to sing well or play the piano or give a lot of money, but EVERY Christian can pray, because prayer is simple sharing your heart with God.
The word “Urge” here is really the concept of being called to come alongside someone else. Think back to the Gomer Pyle show: here’s Gomer, taking his good old time, and here is Sargeant Carter, right beside him yelling, Move it, Move it, Move it! Paul is telling Timothy, Pray, pray, pray! He is urging him to pray.
He says, I urge “then” - what does the then mean? In light of the fact that we want to teach sound doctrine, share the gospel, and defend the faith - to do that we need prayer!
So, why don’t we pray? The reality is that even though as Christians we know we can pray and we know we should pray, often we don’t pray. Why not? There can be many answers for that, but it really comes down to the fact that we don’t pray because we don’t think we NEED to pray. We think we can make it on our own; we think we are ok.; we think our problems aren’t beyond our ability to resolve them.
There is a saying that “there are no athiests in foxholes.” What that means is that when you are desperate, when you realize you have no other hope, you cry out to God. When you get desperate, you WILL pray. So when we don’t pray, it is because we delude ourselves into thinking that we really don’t need God’s help. We wouldn’t ever say it in that way, but that’s the reality.
So, take your spiritual pulse this morning: Are you Urgent about praying? Is is a matter of importance to you? Paul says, I urge “first of all” - it was top priority for him. In Acts 6:4 we see it was top priority for the other apostles as well. In the passage where they choose the deacons to care for the food ministry, they say: We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”