May Women Lead Prayer In Church Assembly? 

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

Many people in our culture are greatly troubled by the fact that God’s Word shows men and women have different roles. 

These roles do not imply inferiority, for God’s Word is clear that both males and females are created in Gods’ image (Genesis 1:26-27). 

This truth of the Bible is reiterated in several different passages and in several different ways (cf. Exodus 20:12; 1 Kings 2:19; Luke 8:1-4; Romans 16:1-2, etc.). 

While men and women are equal in God’s sight, this does not mean that they have the same roles to fulfill.
This is especially illustrated by the Apostle Paul. While instructing Timothy about how to behave in the Lord’s church (1 Timothy 3:14-15), he points out that women are not to preach in the general assembly (1 Timothy 2:12-14).

 It is in this context that he writes:
1 Timothy 2:8-I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;  

Please notice a few things with me at this juncture.

First, Paul is specifically discussing the subject of prayer in the public worship assemblies of the church. How do we know this? Aside from the general context (cf. 1 Timothy 3:14-15), he indicates this by the word “everywhere.” 

What does this mean?
“These words about women learning but not teaching are hardly applicable to home and private settings (Titus 2:3- 5). The conclusive point to my mind is the phrase “in every place” (1 Timothy 2:8). Although it is often taken to mean “everywhere,” there is another Greek word that means “everywhere” ( pantachou ), and this phrase “in every place” often appears in Jewish and Christian usage with an almost technical meaning of “in every place of meeting” (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 1:8). 20 This phrase would be equivalent to the phrase “in church,” or “in assembly” in 1 Corinthians 14.” (Everett Ferguson, Women In The Church: Biblical And Historical Perspectives, 489-492 (Kindle Edition); Abilene, TX; Dessert Willow Publishing)
There is no doubt that Paul is here addressing specifically the church assembly.

Second, it is also clear that God expects the “men” to be the leaders of prayer in these assemblies. 

The Greek word translated here as “men” carries with it specifically the meaning of “males” as opposed to “females.” 

By this wording, Paul makes it abundantly manifest that the men are to be the leaders of public prayer in the assembly of the saints.

Third, the men who lead the church in prayer are to be those who are living a life dedicated to The Lord, i.e., “holy.”

 If a man in the congregation is living in sin, he is not to lead God’s people in prayer in the assembly. It is important here to remember that there is a difference between LIVING AND SINNING and LIVING IN SIN. Every Christian will at times sin (cf. 1 John 1:8); but this is not the same as one who is living in public sin (1 Corinthians 5).

Fourth, please notice that these inspired guidelines are not based on some type of machoism or chauvinism on the part of the Apostle Paul. 

Instead, they are directives from God Himself and are clearly manifested as a result of the order of the Creation and of the Fall. In Creation, God gave men the greater responsibility; and in the Fall, man had the greater accountability (cf. ! Timothy 2:2-15; Genesis 3:1-6, 17; 2 Corinthians 11:1-3).

Finally, please notice with me that obviously worship in the public assembly is to be directed by God’s Word. 

Many teach today that you can do virtually anything you want to do in a worship service and it will be accepted. Clearly, this is not true. Jesus teaches that worship must be offered in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). 

To worship in “spirit” is to have the proper attitude in worship (cf. Hebrews 12:28; Romans 12:1-2). 

To worship in “truth” is to worship according to God’s approved apostolic pattern (John 17:17; cf. Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 4:17; Colossians 3:16-17). 

Acts of worship that are self-chosen and self-directed are part of empty worship that God warns His people against (Colossians 2:20-23). Remember, worship is deemed to be “empty” when it is based upon the doctrines and regulations of man (Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:1-7).

The Word of God teaches us many important lessons about the public worship of the church assembly. Are you a part of God’s church? He adds the saved to it (Acts 2:47) when they gladly receive and obey His Word (Acts 2:41), which revolves around the atoning death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). 

Believers are commanded to repent of their sins and to be baptized into Chris for the forgiveness of their sins and that they may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). 

Why not “gladly receive” His Word today?

The grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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