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提摩太前書二 1 說：「因此，我勸你最重要的是要為萬人、君王和一切有權位的懇求、禱告、代求和感恩……」保羅教導我們要為「萬人」禱告，意即要為「所有人」禱告，因為提前二 6 說：「他捨了自己作萬人的贖價」，基督是為世上「所有人」獻上自己的生命，救贖他們。彼得後書三 9 又說：「主決不耽延他的應許……其實他是寬容你們，不願有一人滅亡，卻願人人都悔改。」以上的經文顯示了在教會的公開聚會中，無論是祈禱會或崇拜，為「萬人」禱告不單是神的心意，更能提醒信徒，教會有宣教的使命。
How can we pray for ‘all people’?
Rev Sylvia Kwok
The post-modern era in which we live is characterized, among other things, by its paramount emphasis on sensual perception. People attach great importance to the fulfilment of their emotional needs. Post-modernism also takes its toll on some believers who stress their sensual experience in church attendance. When these believers are immensely moved by the sermons they hear or excited by the worship songs they sing, they will think that their worship has been fruitful. But is worship all about personal growth? I sometimes find brothers and sisters who cannot really join in the prayer in worship services or prayer meetings because they are praying for believers they do not know, missionaries, or even some social or livelihood issues. As far as these brothers and sisters are concerned, they find the people and issues being prayed for unfamiliar and remote.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 says: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people——for kings and all those in authority….” Paul taught us to pray for “all people,” meaning “everybody.” This is because 1 Timothy 2:6 says Christ Jesus “gave himself as a ransom for all people.” He gave Himself as a ransom for “everybody” on earth. Again, 2 Peter 3:9 says: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise…. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” It is clear that in open meetings of the church, whether these are prayer meetings or worship services, praying for “all people” is not only the will of God, but it also reminds believers about the church’s evangelism mission.
How, then, can we be more passionate about, and more committed to, praying for “all people”?
1. Pray with the heart of the Father:
Take on the heart of the Heavenly Father when you pray. Look at everyone through the eyes of the Father. The Heavenly Father has compassion on all who are sick… It is the Father’s desire to save non-believers. The Lord wants nobody to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Every missionary is sent by God to serve the unreached peoples. If we can only look at everyone from God’s perspective, we will be able to join them, better understand their needs and pray for them.
2. Get to know unfamiliar people:
On the Internet, you can find a host of information about various community groups such as refugees and unreached peoples in different parts of the world. The information is just a click away. The websites of various mission organizations also offer insights into the needs of missionaries and mission fields. Getting to know these unfamiliar people will stir our hearts of love and care and help us to pray fervently for them.
3. Join a missionary care group:
Joining a missionary care group to regularly care for the needs of missionaries and their fields together with other brothers and sisters is a good way to set our eyes beyond the city of Hong Kong, and in doing so extend our care and prayers to all the world.