1 Timothy 2:8 “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”
While there is definitely a God-ordained time to pray alone, our prayers must never be self-focused or self-sufficient. Much of God’s response to human intercession is biblically predicated upon a group of people praying together. Paul models for us a burning desire (“I will) for all Christians to offer up prayers for a widespread spiritual awakening among the populace and its rulers.
Here are three requests to God that will produce new prayer partners:
Pray for “men everywhere” to lead in prayer.
Paul specified that he longed for men everywhere to lead the congregation is prayer. This is the word for man in contrast to women; not the generic word mankind. Men should pray, not just the ladies’ missionary circles or prayer groups. Some take this specifically to mean public prayer in a church and believe it indicates men should do the public praying. The emphasis is that men should pray everywhere as opposed to infrequently or not at all.
Recently someone posted online, “We need more men of God leading their families and setting an example. Men, lead your family in Bible study. Lead your family to church. Lead your family in prayer. Be that man of God. Make your stand in your own home first.” Instead of bemoaning the lack of male leadership in our day, pray about it. Pray for the men in your extended family, your church, your community, and even the future (i.e. young men). If more prayer is the result of initial, visionary prayer, what are you doing to call out the names to the Lord of the men around you?
Pray for “holy hands” to be lifted in prayer.
These prayers were to be offered with lifted hands. This was a common Old Testament practice. Paintings on the walls of the catacombs in Rome portray this posture. The hands were to be holy (“devout, undefiled”), signifying an internal cleanness on the part of these spiritual leaders. This expression, both literal and figurative, signifies earnest entreaty.
The focus of this prayer request is focused upon vertical integrity before the Lord who sees and knows the human heart of all who pray. It is not enough to pray for others to “go through the motions” of prayer. You must pray for them to do so with sanctified sincerity. Prayer is not just so God hears the believers voice but so the believer reflects God’s character-holiness. Instead of striving to enforce outward conformity on others, pray for the sanctifying demands of authentic prayer to work in them!
Prayer for “wrath and doubting” to be removed through prayer.
Leaders in prayer must be men of sound relationships, not characterized by anger (“outbursts of temper”) or doubts (disputings). Toward others there must be no wrath, even against the evil rulers of the day. The heart attitude toward God and before others must be characterized by faith and fidelity. These outbursts and abrasive doubts are most effectively removed and guarded against through prayer.
Broken human relationships affect one’s ability to pray (Matthew 5:22–24; 6:12; 1 Peter 3:7), which would include leading others in prayer. The horizontal always impacts the vertical! Invest more time in praying for unity and charity amongst the brethren, not just for pragmatic peace but for greater power and grace in prayer before the Lord. Christ promises those who pray in this fashion, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).
Don’t forget “It does not take great men to do great things; it only takes consecrated men.” A consecration that can only be experienced through committed, collective prayer.