Have you ever thought about your prayers for the salvation of your friend, neighbor, or beloved one as something that pleases the Lord? Have you ever considered that your prayers for the salvation of souls in our community, country, and world bring Glory to Jesus because this is God’s will for his people?
As believers, we do not doubt that through prayer, we fellowship with God, but the question is, how much of our time do we spend praying, or how much of our prayer time do we spend praying for others?
In the passage above, Paul encourages and challenges Timothy and the church in Ephesus to pray for all people. In Matthew 6:9-14, we see Jesus teaching his disciples how to pray. In these verses, we see the Lord’s prayer, a prayer that most of us know by memory, but what Matthew does not tell us, and Luke does in his gospel chapter 11:1, that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.
The disciples frequently witnessed Jesus going to quiet places by himself to pray. Sometimes, he took some with him. On other occasions, they heard him praying. Jesus’ prayer life and way of praying caught the disciples’ attention. He did not pray like the religious leaders of his time and did not use vain repetitions or seek to be seen by others while praying. Instead, Jesus prayed personal and spirit-filled prayers, and the disciples wanted to pray like him.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 and Luke 11 are windows that lead us into his prayer life. Jesus taught the disciples how to pray by example. This is quite astonishing to think that the incarnate son of God, one with the father, would find time in his busy ministry schedule to pray, sometimes at the expense of rest and a night of sleep.
In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Paul is instructing Timothy to pray and to lead the church by example in praying for all people and for the salvation of souls, and he adds, “Because this is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved.”
Paul urges Timothy to pray for the political leaders of his day, authorities, and even the false teachers of chapter 1, who were causing harm to the unity of the church. In summary, Timothy is to pray for everyone indiscriminately, whether believers or unbelievers, good leaders or bad leaders. These verses encourage and challenge Christians today to pray and intercede for the salvation of family members, friends, and political leaders (whether we agree or not with their policies) to our bosses (regardless of how corrupt and mean they might be).
Because in our fallen condition, we tend to live and walk more by sight than by faith, and we can easily get discouraged, we need to be reminded that praying for the salvation of souls is the will of God for his people.
If you are praying for the salvation of someone, let this passage strengthen you to keep up the good work. If you have stopped praying for the salvation of someone because too many years have passed and nothing has changed, and you grew tired and discouraged, be reminded that God’s time is not our time. His will for you and me is that we pray and trust in him. If in your prayers you are not used to supplicating for others, let these verses challenge you to make an intentional effort to do so, and remember, our Lord delights when his people pray.
Overall, be encouraged by the fact that even though we might not see the results of our intercessions for others here on earth, I’m confident that on that great day when the Lord comes, we might be surprised to see how many of our prayers were answered.
Let us be a people and a church that do what pleases the Lord. Let us be people that pray.