2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2.1-4, KJV)
When we read 1 Timothy in the light of the fact that Timothy is written by Paul to show us how to behave in local church, we can then put everything penned in the letter into the context of local church – and that includes prayer! Prayer should be at the heart of every local church, every church should pray together, and pray in a variety of different ways.
I am not going to give a general teaching on prayer, but I will tell you that prayer should happen within private and also at the same time in the local church. If you do not have a local church, your prayer life is missing an essential direction. I cannot emphasise that enough – if you are not having success in your prayers and do not go to church, those two things are absolutely related. You need to pray with not just other Christians, not just the Christians you meet in the pub, not just your fellow Bible College students (if none of them go to church, you are all a bunch of clowns) – you need to pray with your church. The first time the prayer of agreement is mentioned by Jesus in the Word it is agreeing in prayer with the people from your church! The first time the prayer of binding and loosing is mentioned it is in the context of local church praying together. The first time Peter is jailed for his faith, as soon as he leaves jail he goes to his own company to pray with them. If you do not have your own church, your own company, you have missed the point of Christianity. It really is that simple.
So when we gather we should pray and not just pray for your knees and my back. We should be praying for the nation and city we live in and pray for the leaders of the town, nation and region. We absolutely must be praying for those. Then we should be praying for all people! Why? Because God wants people saved and God wants people to know the truth. Those two concepts – the world being saved and people knowing the truth are summed up in two words: evangelism and discipleship. God wants the church to be evangelistic and God wants the church to make disciples. So, God put praying together into the church. The more we pray, the more we communicate with God and we find out the wisdom, the strategies, the flow of the gifts to help evangelise and disciple the world.