An Exhortation to Pray

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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Did you hear about the woman who bowed to pray on New Year’s Eve, saying, “Lord, for the coming year, I pray for a fat bank account and a thin body. And whatever You do, please don’t mix the two up like You did last year.”

While Christians often forget to pray for others, most of us remember to pray for ourselves, especially when it comes to things like that!

Of course, you wouldn’t think a pastor would forget to pray for others, but pastors are Christians too. So Paul wrote to Pastor Timothy, saying,

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

Now, when Paul only exhorts Timothy to pray after charging him to “teach no other doctrine” (1:3,18), it’s easy to conclude from this that praying is not as important as teaching. But an exhortation from God is a serious thing! After the Lord told the Jews that “the blood of all the prophets” would be “required of this generation” (Lu. 11:50,51), Peter chose to “exhort” them, “saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40). That sounds serious to me! And when Paul then exhorts us to pray, we know that prayer must be just as serious a matter in the eyes of God.

As we look back to the previous chapter to see why Paul would exhort Timothy to pray “therefore,” we see that Paul just finished charging him to “war a good warfare” (1:18). Well, what does every soldier do before going into battle? He prays! I don’t care if he’s a Christian or not. An old saying says, “There are no atheists in foxholes!”

Yet, as Christians, it is so easy to forget that God has called us to “wrestle… against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). After Paul went on in that passage to describe the armor God gave us to conduct that warfare (v. 13-17), he exhorted the Ephesians to pray (v.18). Naturally! After donning his armor, every Roman soldier was certain to pray to his god, and so must we.

Beloved, we must pray for the lost with whom we share Christ, and we must pray for the saints with whom we share the mystery, if we hope to “war a good warfare” against the wicked spirits that are keeping them in darkness with their “doctrines of devils” (I Tim. 4:1). If you are laboring to bring souls to Christ and then build them up in the faith, why not follow the example of Epaphras, who was “always laboring fervently…in prayers” that people might “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12).

To the Reader:

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