The Primacy of Prayer

In Sermon Ideas by Rachel Schultz

The Primacy of Prayer


Key Passage:  “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone.”Key Thought:  The most successful people in life and ministry make prayer a priority each day.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:1-8

Idea:  If you are a parent, a Christian engineer, a computer programmer, or nurse; if you are a Sabbath School teacher, Deacon, or Elder; if you are on the front lines of personal evangelism—prayer is to be the number one thing on your job description. Prayer is the launching pad for effective life and service for Christ, for it is in communion with Him that we not only find the energy to blast off, but to reach our destiny as well.

Story:  When Pastor Paul describes for us the spirit of prayer in 1 Timothy 2:1, he uses four power-packed words. The first word he uses is requests. At the heart of this word is a profound sense of need, and that is where all true prayer begins. The second word is prayers, and the focus here is not so much on our needs, but on God Himself. Our purpose is to connect with Him. To know His heart. To linger in His presence. To worship Him in spirit and truth. The third word is intercession, and the thrust of this word is not that of presenting to God our list of needs, but our coming to Him with an attitude of absolute confidence in His ability to help us in our time of need. The fourth word is thanksgiving. A spirit of praise and thanksgiving sets the whole tone for our intimate moments with God.

The objects of prayer are outlined for us in verses 1 and 2 where we are told, first of all, to pray for all kinds of people. The gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone, and so we need to pray for the kids next door, the Baptist preacher down the street, the guy in the office across from us, the woman who does our hair, etc. Then we are called upon to pray for those in positions of government leadership—the President, congressional leaders, judges, police officers, and all the rest. These men and women bear the burdens of leadership. They must make decisions that will impact the destiny of our nation and the world.

The basis for prayer is conveyed in verses 5 and 6 where we are reminded that there is one God. When Red and Yellow, Black and White—all who are precious in His sight go to their knees in prayer, they pray to the same God. Our prayer life is also based in the mediatorial ministry of Jesus Christ. When we pray in His name, all Heaven sits up and pays attention. The substitutional death of Jesus also puts velcro into our prayers, because it is His death in our place that connects us once again with Heaven. Last of all, prayer rises up out of the advancing gospel that seeks to win the world for Christ.

Pastor Paul ends on a practical note as he addresses the manner of prayer in verse 8. There are many prayer postures given us in Scripture, and one of them has to do with the lifting of hands. When we lift our hands in prayer it gives expression to our inner longing to touch God and to be touched by Him. Beyond the posture, there is the heart. That is why Pastor Paul talks about lifting holy hands. Effective prayer raises out of hearts that are holy and free of duplicity.

The time has come for us to tighten our connection with God. In our busy lives and ministries we need an action list, and right at the top of that list we need to put communion with God. We need to make prayer a priority.

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