“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone…” (1 Timothy 2:1)
In the second chapter of Paul’s first pastoral letter to Timothy when he sorts out priorities of the many activities of the church, the Apostle Paul declares prayer to be an absolute, number-one priority.
Paul’s rationale for making prayer the first priority of the church is that prayers should be made for everyone because God wants everyone to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. I find this to be a challenge. In many years as a pastor, I found it all but impossible to get people to come and pray with me for an hour. As I pleaded with parishioners to attend prayer meetings, I often quoted the question of our Lord Jesus, “Can you not keep watch (& pray) with Me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40)
Over many years I have concluded that God’s people do not pray because the evil one does not want them to pray.
“When it’s hardest to pray, always pray the hardest!”
An old soul shared that prayer insight with my wife and she shared it with me. We should apply that insight by praying the hardest when we do not feel like praying. We should pray the hardest when we are facing challenges that are not just hard, but impossible apart from God. We should certainly apply that insight when personal problems and disappointments weigh us down with sorrow.
If we pray when it’s hardest, we will discover that prayer can turn a great storm into a great calm.
Can you keep watch and pray with Jesus?
Dick Woodward (April, 2000 Prayer Letter)