What get’s first priority at Sunday worship when your church gathers? It’s probably the exposition of Scripture. Thank God for the teaching of His truth! But did you know that his first priority for the church gathered is prayer – and prayer concerning evangelism? That’s right; read 1 Timothy 2:1-7.
Here a couple of things the passage commands. First, we are to pray for government leaders to allow us to live peacefully, without persecution (2 Tm 2:1-2a). Because of the context it’s safe to assume that we are to also pray for their salvation. This is terribly important now that our presidential election is over. Many Bible believing Christians are struggling over whether they are to disobey our current government. The answer Paul gave to those living under Nero (and to us) is submission (Rm 13:1) and intercession (1 Tm 2:1). So, we pray for the salvation of civic leaders and for freedom from persecution. We also pray for our witness and the salvation of the lost (2 Tm 2:2b-7).
Why make prayer priority one? First, because God told us to. And second, because it pleases him (1 Tm 2:3). If you are a church leader, evaluate the priority and practice of corporate prayer in your fellowship, especially in this area. Make changes if needed. If you are an evangelist equipping others for outreach, consider two actions. One, discuss this passage with your pastor and see if he will increase this practice. Second, pray like this when you get together with those you are training.
No one can explain the mystery of how prayer and outreach work together. But we can all obey what God clearly states. Let’s do it together.