Stop! We’re Going to Pray! – Part 1
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.” (1 Timothy 2:1 NIV)
The apostle Paul … outlines in Romans 10:13-15 a chain of events that describes New Testament salvation: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?”
Churches often refer to this passage in connection with overseas missionary work. “We need to give a good offering today in order to send out preachers,” they say—which is true. But that is just the beginning of Paul’s sequence.
Sending leads to preaching.
Preaching leads to hearing.
Hearing leads to believing.
Believing leads to calling on the name of the Lord.
Notice that believing is not the climax. Even the great Protestant Reformers who taught us the principle of sola fide (“faith alone”) also preached that intellectual assent alone does not bring salvation. There is one more step for demonstrating a real and living faith, and that is calling out to God with all of one’s heart and soul.
The clearest instructions about church life come in the Pastoral Letters, where Paul tells young pastors such as Timothy how to proceed. The apostle couldn’t be more direct than in 1 Timothy 2:1: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone.”
Why? Why first of all, before anything else? Well, Timothy my son, we’ve got to remember that God’s house is to be called a house of prayer.
To be continued...
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire)
Read 1 Timothy 2:1-6.