The Place of Prayer in Public Worship

1 Timothy 2 addresses some essential aspects of public worship in the proper order of the church. That public worship is the focal point of this chapter is clear from vv. 8-12.

God says that much prayer must occur when God’s people assemble, and that such prayer plays an essential role in the salvation of sinners (cf. the close connection between prayer and God’s desire for their salvation in vv. 1-7).

What place does prayer have in our assembling? What are we praying for? Does my life support or work against the order necessary for praying? If my or another’s life is not properly ordered, especially for public prayer, my and other’s attention and focus will not be where it should be.

The balance of the chapter addresses two additional issues necessary for biblical worship, issues that if not dealt with will distract the church from worshiping God, especially through prayer.

Men are to strive for holiness of life (“lifting up holy hands,” cf. Psa 24:4; Jas 4:8) and living peacefully with others. Women are to exhibit a proper focus in life, especially in regard to apparel (vv. 9-10), actions in the assembly (vv. 11-12), and their aim in life (v. 15).

While recognizing that Paul’s instruction to Timothy addresses particular problems in the Ephesian church, we must recognize the continuing application it has for us today. Thus, it seems that men struggle most in the areas of personal holiness and proper relationships and attitudes. Women are most easily distracted by an over-emphasis on external appearances (cf. 1 Pet 3:3-6), a desire for prominence and attention, and leaving their God-appointed role in life. When a Christ-centered perspective on life is lost the church’s worship is directly affected.

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