by Duane Nelsen
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Prayer is one of the greatest privileges believers in Jesus Christ have. Think about it. The eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, sovereign God allows us to approach His throne to find the grace and mercy that we need. He not only allows and commands us to pray, but in fact, delights in His children’s prayers. “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Proverbs 15:8).
This is only true for believers though. “He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9). The only prayer God delights in from the unbeliever is “God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). God delights to answer that prayer and to save repentant sinners.
Believers’ prayers should not only focus on our own personal physical and spiritual needs but also the needs of others. We should pray for our physical family, our church family, the lost, and even our government leaders. “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
We should pray for our government leaders’ salvation and that they would lead in a way that gives us the opportunity to live a godly, tranquil life. These prayers are good and pleasing to God (v. 3). His desire is that all men be saved (v. 4), and He has provided the Savior to make that possible (v. 5-6).
Since God desires all men to be saved and has provided the way for that to happen, how much more should we pray for situations to be a godly testimony in our actions and words. We should align our wills with God’s will. We should desire all those we come into contact with to come to know the gracious God we have come to know. We should be praying for opportunities to represent Him and to present Christ Jesus our Savior, “who gave Himself as a ransom for all” (v. 6a).
May we not grow weary in praying on behalf of all men. May we be like Epaphras who was always laboring earnestly in his prayers (Colossians 4:12).