“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
E.M. Bounds said, “Prayer can do anything God can do.” That’s true because the only power in prayer is the power of God. What’s more, prayer can reach anywhere God can reach. And God is everywhere, so his power can reach to every corner of the earth through our prayers.
Two phrases in the above verses emphasize the broad scope of prayer: “for everyone” and “all men [people].” Because God wants all people “to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth,” he urges us to pray for everyone.
Ole Hallesby in his classic book Prayer grasps the heart of Paul’s injunction: “It is our Lord’s will that we who have received access to these powers through prayer should go through this world transmitting heavenly power to every corner of the world which needs it sorely. Our lives should be…quiet but steadily flowing streams of blessing, which through our prayers and intercessions should reach our whole environment.”
Though God would have us pray broad intercessory prayers, our prayer responsibilities start close to home. Our first responsibility is for immediate family members, then relatives and friends, then the spiritual family in which God has placed us, and then beyond that to our neighbors, community, nation, and world.
If our prayers focus only on those who are nearby, we have not caught the scope of what God intends through prayer. If they focus mainly on those far away, we may be guilty of failing to provide for our immediate families and of denying the faith (1 Timothy 5:4, 8).
Imagine your prayers transmitting heavenly power and blessing to people in every corner of the world. Think of some of those people and places. Now imagine persons experiencing the joy of being saved and coming to a knowledge of the truth as a result of your prayers. Thank God for allowing you this amazing privilege to join him in his work near and far.
Lord God of the Nations, I give You praise that You are present everywhere in the universe and that Your heart resonates with love for every person on earth. Forgive the narrowness of my prayers and stretch me towards Your purposes near to me and across the world. Thank You that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory and honor of Your perfect and powerful Name!
–Adapted from Be Jesus in Your Neighborhood (Developing a Prayer, Care, Share Lifestyle in 30 Days) by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise “the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (Jas. 1:17). Thank God for remaining the same throughout all eternity (Ps. 102:27). Confess that sometimes you are not as consistent as you would like to be in your walk with God. Commit yourself to remaining true to that which does not change, the eternal God (2 Cor. 4:18). Ask God to glorify himself in your life.
Pray that the stewardship of resources in your congregation will please God. Ask that members will be willing to give generously of their time and talents as well as their finances. Pray that they will experience joy in giving.
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