nothing is more important, next to being born again of the water and of the Spirit, than having a prayer life. this applies to all souls everywhere, but especially the minister (and we have all been given the ministry of reconciliation). how would we reach and teach to those around us and not be in continual communication with the Master? i will be comparing Acts 6:4 and 1 Timothy 2:1-2 as it relates to prayer and ministry. All Scripture cited is from the King James Version (Tyndale, 1987).
Acts 6:4 states, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” here continual prayer is first mentioned and then the ministry of the word. Strong’s (3056) definition for “word” in Greek includes reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive. if we would first give ourselves to prayer, our motives should be in line with Jesus and the subsequent ministry would be more compassionate. people are looking for kindness and genuine Godly concern for their souls.
in the letter to Timothy, Paul writes, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” this passage begins by referring to many different types of prayers to “be made for all men”. intercessions and giving of thanks are not just “lay me down to sleep” type prayers. there’s something to them, including physical groanings and grit your teeth and thank God for that person. sometimes we judge within ourselves the current state of a man without seeing the end result or believing that God could change such a person. when the truth of the matter is Jesus loves “all men” and each soul is precious to Him! we should, in turn, reciprocate that love as recipients of Grace.
at the time of these Biblical writings, much of the region was under Roman rule, so Paul adds to pray, in various ways, for kings; that we lead quiet peaceful lives. this verse stands the tests of time and applies to all rulers. he knew as a former prosecutor that the church is able to advance its mission so much more effectively out in the open, without having to meet in secret and hide our beliefs. there are places on Earth that face this every day and we are so blessed to be able to continue assembling for worship.
i think the most notable comparison of these two scriptures would be taking the honorable motives from Acts and the “giving thanks for all men” from 1 Timothy. our flesh is not equipped for such things. only through prayer, we prepare our hearts and minds to produce Godly compassion towards our fellow man. even if we’ve been hurt or betrayed by a person, Jesus still went to a cross and loves that soul unconditionally. i may not be strong enough to accomplish this on my own, but through continual prayer, Jesus opens my heart and shares a little bit of how He sees hurting individuals.