Free files for youth pastors:
“See You At The Pole” is coming up next Wednesday, September 24th. I’ve been involved in SYATP for years, but I didn’t realize how it was birthed until recently. Apparently, a youth group was so moved by God over a Disciple Now Weekend that they didn’t want to go to their homes, eat their snacks, or chill out in front of the TV’s. Instead, they went straight to their schools to pray around their flag poles begging God to work in their schools what He’s worked in their lives. Well, the word spread like wild file. Within the next few months (September 12, 1990), the first SYATP was official, and 45,000 students showed up to pray around their school’s flag poles. The next year, 1 million students came to pray on SYATP day. Reports say that today over 3 million students from all 50 states and over 20 are SYAPTers.
Prayer is such a crucial part of the Christian life, and yet it is one that we may struggle with the most. I know I do! I think we struggle with prayer so much because either we think that God doesn’t need our prayers since He’s just gotten it all figured out anyways, or we feel to busy to pray so we just let Him handle everything, or we’re just so prideful that we don’t think we need to communicate with Him, or we’re really just apathetic Christians who care more about our will than God’s will. It also could be that we really just don’t understand what prayer actually accomplishes. Some say that prayer changes the mind of God because He depends on our prayers to accomplish His will. Others say that prayer doesn’t change the mind of a sovereign God, but rather prayer changes our minds as we seek His will to be done. I do believe in a sovereign God who knows the future and ordains things to come about. Therefore, I believe that when we pray, we are responding to God’s draw in our life to accomplish His will by calling us to pray. He’s including us in on what He’s doing! This is why Paul urges Christians to pray!
In 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Paul doesn’t tell the church that he’s going to teach them to pray or give them an outline on 4 layers of prayer. No, Paul is urging, begging, pleading them to pray to see God’s ultimate will done in their lives, in their church, and in their community (2:1). In fact, Paul is telling them to pray, pray, pray, pray. He uses four different words that all are a different aspect of prayer. But his point is…pray! The context here is to be praying others’ salvation.
Paul first says that he urges for prayers of supplications to be made for all people. The word supplications literally means to “make an urgent request for a specific need.” We need to pray for specific people to specifically believe in Jesus Christ by coming to Him through the knowledge of the truth…even those who may mistreat Christians like people in political power (2:2-6). Secondly, Paul says that prayers of “prayers” should be made for all people. That word for prayer means “a request made to a deity as an act of worship.” When we’re praying for the salvation of others, we must remember that ultimately we want them to come to Christ through the gospel so that He would get the glory from their lives. Salvation is the ultimate act of worship to God! Third, Paul says that prayers of intercessions must be made for all people. Paul is emphasizing that lost people can’t pray for themselves (unless it is for their salvation), so we must go to God on their behalf begging Him to turn their hearts towards following Jesus. Lastly, Paul urges the church that prayers of thankfulness must be made. When we pray for others to be saved, pray in thanksgiving for your salvation, for the salvation of others who God used you to lead them to Christ, and for the work He’s going to do in the life of the ones you’re praying for.
In my last church in Indiana, I remember praying with my pastor that a certain teenager would be saved. Soon after that, that teenager did get saved, then his dad got saved, and then his cousin got saved. It’s an incredible story that I’d love to tell you sometime, but I want us to see the power of prayer for the salvation of people! Paul is calling us to pray, pray, pray, and pray. Think of some people right now that God has put in your life to witness to them the gospel of Jesus Christ. As you’re witnessing, is your time in prayer for them matching the time you share?