The fact that prayer is mandated of all believers is clear from the Bible. One such place is 1 Timothy chapter 2. Do you ever wonder why we struggle with prayer when the difficulties of life make prayer most necessary? In 1 Timothy 3:14–15, Timothy is exalted to guard worship, and here he is given an assignment to ensure public worship goes the right way. And prayer is emphasised. In this article, I would like to do an exposition of 1 Timothy 2:1–5 in order to show the place of prayer in the life of the church. I make three observations from this text:

Its importance

 This is clearly suggested by Paul’s choice of words. His opening words in 1 Timothy 2:1 are, “First of all; I urge.” The phrase “to urge” means to exhort, entreat or beseech. Paul gives a strong suggestion that the Ephesian church had abandoned prayer for the lost, and maybe the cause could have been a false view that salvation is for the Jews only (see verse 1 and verse 7). Even though the importance of prayer cannot be overemphasised, it is neglected in the life of the church today. Prayer in most churches is a filler programme.

Prayer must be a priority in the life of a church. We note that Jesus said that prayer was a solution to the need of more labourers in his Father’s harvest field (Matt. 9:35–38). There is an important word here for both the elders and the flock in our churches. If we neglect prayer and we fail to teach our people its importance, we are depriving ourselves of God’s leading in ministry. When the church gives prayer its rightful place, God causes growth in the life of that church (Acts 6:4, 7). Edward McKendree Bounds stresses the importance of prayer this way, “The life, power, and glory of the church is prayer. The life of its members is dependent on prayer and the presence of God is secured and retained by prayer. The very place is made sacred by its ministry. Without it the church is lifeless and powerless. Without it even the building itself is nothing, more or other, than any other structure.”[1]

Its objects and its reasons

 Paul mentions that prayer must be for all the people. This is important in this context because, as Warren Wiersbe observes, the Pharisees did not have this universal outlook in their prayers, for they centred their attention primarily on Israel. In 1 Tim. 2:2, he charges that prayer must be offered for those in authority. History says the cruel Emperor Nero was in authority at this time. They were to pray for him—imagine! According to verse 2, it was for their benefit. The words “quiet” and “peaceable” have been well defined for us by John MacArthur Jnr, who says, “Quiet refers to the absence of external disturbances and peaceable to the absence of internal disturbances.”

Prayer is for the benefit of our churches and our personal lives. E M Bounds, earlier quoted, is right in saying that the life of the church and its members is dependent on prayer. In the context of our text here, the result when we pray is that we will be godly and reverent in our lives (2:2). Even when we disagree with those in authority or we do not like them, we must pray for them. Several years ago, I followed grumbling on Facebook over the depreciating Zambian currency. Even though I am not an economist, to the credit of those who were complaining, I knew something was not right. My curiosity nonetheless was to know if people were praying about the situation and for the authorities because prayer is God’s way of helping us. Instead of sinning against God by complaining and worrying, we must pray.

Its foundation

 There is one God and one way to get to him (1 Tim. 2:5). Prayer finds its basis in the finished work of Christ. Because Christ satisfied the demands of the Father, we can go through him to the Father (John 14:13). He gave his life as a ransom or price for our redemption. God who has ordained the salvation of the lost has also appointed the means of that same salvation—through Christ.

There is no other way to deal with the pressures that are presented by life other than by prayer. Prayer leads us to the mind of God, to his leading. In light of the circumstances of the day, Paul longed for prayer so that the ground might be convenient for the gospel. He had just come out of the prison and longed for the old days, and only by prayer could that be achieved. We must not neglect prayer because by it God leads his church.


 Several years ago, I heard a sermon on 1 Samuel chapter 1. The sermon was preached by Pastor Choolwe Mwetwa and the title was, “The Burden Necessary for Meaningful Prayer.” Among many reasons, one reason we struggle with prayer is a lack of burden in our praying. Our prayers are routine and, as said earlier, are treated like a filler programme on television.

Oh, that God might help us to pray. Wiersbe further says, “Because God’s people do not pray for people in authority, wars close mission fields, officials do not grant needed visas, and the work of the Lord suffers.” May God help us to revive prayer in the church.


Bounds, Edward M. 1990. The Complete Works of E. M Bounds. Grand Rapids: Baker House

Wiersbe, Warren. 2001. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Colorado Springs: Cook Communications Ministry

Jeremiah, David. 1997. Prayer the Great Adventure. Oregon: Multinomah Publishers

MacArthur, John. 1997. The MacArthur Study Bible. Oregon: Thomas Nelson

[1] Edward M. Bounds. The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds on Prayer.( Baker House, 1990) p75