It is a Biblical principle that everything done in the church should be done in order. God does nothing haphazardly. From creation to today everything God did and does He has an order to it. I’m not sure where we got the idea that the church is an exception to this rule. I’m all for people shouting, raising their hands and letting God take over a service. I have been in many services however that I witnessed people acting out of order and claiming God wanted them to act that way. One person said that the church is an “organism” not an “organization” therefore we should not be worried about “order.” The problem is that when an “organism” is in disorder, it dies. It would seem that Timothy was having some trouble with this in Ephesus.
Paul speaks about prayer in this chapter and the order it has in the service. He begins the chapter with the phrase “first of all” which seems to indicate that prayers should have the number one priority in the church. A church that does not pray does not have any power with God. One preacher said: “Much prayer, much power. No prayer, no power.”
Pray for those who rule over you (verses 1-7)
Paul wants them to pray for those in power, meaning those in public office (verses 1-2). Do you pray for the President? How about the Senate and Congress? Do you do this in church? If you don’t then you should. The question is raised, “Should I pray for them when they are so wicked?”The answer to this question is “yes”. Paul wanted these people to pray for their leader and at the time Nero was ruling in Rome. Nero was one of the most wicked, blood thirsty men alive and still yet they were to pray for him. You may not agree with the President or your congressmen, but that does not excuse you from praying for them.
The next question is always “Why?” Well that question is answered in these verses. We should pray for these people so that we can see the lost saved. Today it is perfectly legal for me to tell someone about Christ, invite them to my church, and lead them to the Lord. We should pray so that this does not change.
How men should pray (verse 8)
Next we are told how men are to pray in the church (verse 8). Men are to pray “lifting up holy hands.” Some criticize people for lifting their hands in church, but this is a good Bible practice. It was the custom in this day to pray with your hands lifted toward heaven. Notice however what kind of hands we are to lift up. We are to lift “Holy Hands.” Holy hands are hands that are clean.
To have clean hands does not mean that you don’t have dirt under your fingernails, but that you are in good fellowship with God and with others. You may disagree with me, but I think it’s wrong for a person to live like the devil all week, then come to church on Sunday and shout, pray and testify like nothing is wrong. If you are a troublemaker it should not surprise you when you have no power in prayer.
Men are to pray prayers of faith. Why is that we pray about things so many times, but in our heart we really don’t believe God can or will answer our prayer? When we pray we should take God at His word, pray with faith and trust God to answer our prayer. I think you would be amazed at what God could do for you and your church if you prayed this way.
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew the great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3
How women should pray (verses 9-15)
You and I live in a day where women in the church are placed into one of two extremes. One extreme is to let a woman do whatever she wants in the church. They preach, hold offices, lead the choir and so on. No position is withheld from them, and as a result women are not only prominent, but also dominant in the church.
The other extreme is not allowing a woman to be heard in the church at all. They are not allowed to pray, sing, testify. The problem with this is that those churches are giving up a great deal of talent that God could be using for His glory. God can and will use women for His work.
Let’s establish first that God has used many women in the Word of God. God used Deborah, Esther, Ruth and others. It was a group of godly women that followed Jesus to the cross and ministered to Him after His death. A woman was the first to herald the message that He was alive. We read of women like Lydia, Priscilla and Berean. Paul greeted at least eight women in the letter to Roman and he entrusted the letter to Rome to be delivered by Phebe. There are multitudes of women down through history who have been used by God for His service.
Paul does have some words of wisdom about the role of the woman in the church. Paul begins by saying that a woman should be “modest” in the way they dress. This word "modest" means to avoid extremes, to have self control or to have good sense. I’m not saying that a woman should dress like a nun covered from head to toe, but I am saying that she should show some self control in the way she dresses.
Next Paul teaches that a woman is not to take the role of authority in the church. In this day many women were experiencing something they never had experienced before and that was equality. In Paul’s day women were treated like they were inferior to men, but the gospel teaches that all people are on equal ground in the eyes of God. Because of this new freedom found in Christ, some of the women were getting out of control in the church it would seem. Paul warns them that they could be damaging the service of God by trying to take over.
Paul gives two arguments for what he is teaching. First is the argument of creation. Adam was created before Eve. The second argument is that man was not the one who Satan deceived, but instead it was the woman.
Let me finish by saying what I began by saying, everything God does He has an order to. This includes the home (children are to submit to their parents, the wife is to submit to the husband, and the husband is to submit to God). This also applies to the church (a woman is not to take the role of authority in the church).
The Bible is very clear in its teachings, sometimes we don’t understand or even like what the Bible teaches but that does not change it. I do not believe that one person is superior to another just because of their sex, but I do believe God has order to everything He does.