First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,1 Timothy 2:1(NASB)
In this section of his letter to Timothy, Paul gives vital instruction concerning the normal Christian life and maturing in the faith. His teaching touches on the role of men and women, the qualifications necessary for elders and deacons, and the desired conduct of people within the church... but first of all, Paul touches on the important issue of prayer.
We saw in the Gospels, the necessity of prayer in the life of the Lord Jesus, and Paul's epistles contain many inspired prayers that have encouraged saints down through centuries of time.
Old and New Testament saints alike have discovered the power of prayer and the importance of prayer in the life of a child of God - and here in his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul urges believers to "Make entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, on behalf of all men."
Paul lists four types of prayer that should be used in both a communal prayer group and in one's individual prayer life: 1) entreaties 2) prayers 3) intercessions and 4) the giving of thanks. Whether praying in public or communing with the Lord in private, prayers should be offered for all men - and as believers we should recognise the distinct privilege and value in approaching our Heavenly Father in prayer.
The first type of prayer Paul lists are entreaties or supplications which talk of earnestly, yet reverently pleading with the Lord for some very specific purpose. The next on the list is simply called 'prayer' which may refer to general prayers or be a reminder of the incredible privilege believers have - in that we have the right to approach the throne of grace and enjoy fellowship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ - our Lord and Saviour.
The third type of prayer in Paul's list is intercession, where we employ our God-given position of priests and mediate on behalf of others who, for one reason or another, may not be able to lift up their needs to the Lord in prayer... and finally Paul entreats us to offer up thanksgiving and praise to the Lord at all times and for all things.
Our whole approach to God in our prayer-life should be one of reverence and thankfulness, humility, trust, and love. And we should not be biased in our prayers for we are called to pray for ALL men, the saved and the lost, the rich and the poor, the hurting and the self-satisfied, and we are even to pray for our enemies and those that despitefully use us.
As born-again children of God, we have access to our Heavenly Father Who is a God Who hears and answers prayer. Let us boldly approach the throne of grace and make supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings on behalf of all men - to the glory of God.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift and privilege of prayer. It is amazing to realise that by faith in Christ's sacrificial work on the Cross, I have been given access into the very throne room of Almighty God to intercede on behalf of others and to offer my prayers and supplications to You. Teach me to pray aright and help me to develop an ongoing attitude of prayerful thanksgiving and reverential praise - for You alone are worthy. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.