Prayer and The Ministry of The Word: 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Acts 6:4
“16) All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 16) so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭
In the book of 1 Timothy Paul emphasized prayer. (See 2 Timothy 2:1-8) Here in the book of 2 Timothy he emphasizes the ministry of the Word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16-4:5) God wants them to be wed together in our personal lives and ministries. As I age, I am becoming more focused on building men and ministries on prayer and the ministry of the Word of God.
I see Acts 6:4 as the biblical foundation of this principle. After succumbing to “the tyranny of the urgent” early on in the exploding ministry, the Apostles needed a reset. They created a new office to pick up the work load, but they decided; “4) But we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.”
The past several years, the Holy Spirit been burning this passion into my heart and spirit. I now spend hours every night in prayer and the ministry of the Word. I am finding that these are the two callings that build intimacy with God and effectiveness with men.
In this text, Paul lays out the Doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture. I whole heartedly embrace this doctrine without reservation. I believe scripture is God breathed, complete, authoritative and accurate. It is universal in scope and application. It covers every subject needed by mankind. It is the curriculum God gave to build mighty men, women, teens, families, churches, businesses and nations.
To the degree Gods Word is prayerfully applied and built into our personal lives or our churches, God shows up with glory, wonder, intimacy and power. To the degree it is neglected we become mundane and ordinary.
Revival happens every time prayer and the ministry of the Word come together. This includes the preaching of the gospel. The Word of God is the fuel for ministry and prayer is the ignition switch. When the Holy Spirit brings them together in perfect timing, a powerful engine is started. Soon mighty, miraculous and Divine things begin to happen. Lives are transformed and movements are launched.
According to 2 Timothy 3:16, Gods Word is intended to be the basis for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. It is intended to be the primary curriculum to build the mighty youth, men and women needed for kingdom work.
Men and women seasoned in prayer and skilled with the Word of God are more than adequate for the Holy Spirit to use to bring regeneration to our broken world. To the extent that Christian leaders, churches and ministries stray from these two primary callings they become powerless, misguided and ineffectual. They will soon contribute to the problem rather than the solution.
But when any man, woman, church or Christian organization prioritizes and harmonizes the callings of prayer and biblically sound ministry, miraculous things begin to happen. It is like a switch suddenly turns on.
God shows up in all of His glory. People start getting saved. Marriages are restored. Lives are transformed. A sense of awe and joy is poured out on Gods people. Divine cooperation starts taking place between churches, Christian organizations, business owners and even the government. Turf mentalities are laid aside and replaced by a kingdom mindset. This step is crucial! Soon God grants favor and begins orchestrating providential meetings between key people.
But amazing movement of God is accompanied by a long string of logistical problems that can throw cold water on the movement. More staff will be needed, buildings get to small, there is a temptation to reign in and control what God is doing. We subconsciously switch our focus from what God might want to what we want. In so doing, we often kill the living organism by turning it into a static organization.
Every church and Christian organization will hit this ceiling. How it is handled determines if it dies or thrives. The biblical solution seems to be doing whatever it takes to double down on Acts 6:4. There must be a concerted and fresh focus to devote attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
I believe this is what was happening to the growing church in Antioch as recorded in Acts 13:1-4. They set aside time to minister to the Lord in fasting and prayer. They were listening for the leading of the Holy Spirit. They were avoiding the temptation to take the reigns of ministry from God. This gave birth to the early mission movement under the ministries of Paul and Barnabas. The remainder of the book of Acts is a diary of what followed.
Biblical solutions are powerful but often very simple. Therefore, it is easy to stray from them and embrace worldly ways. I believe in the wedding between 1 Timothy 2:1-8 and 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5. Herein is the key to unlock the presence, power and glory of God in our personal lives and our churches or ministries. The world needs both individual Christians and the modern church to do a courageous reset back to Acts 6:4.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global