June 13, 2024
Prayer

Reading

1 Timothy 2:1-8 - First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.

Summary

In 1 Timothy 2:1-8, the Apostle Paul urges Timothy and the church to make prayer a top priority. He instructs that "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people" (v.1), including those in positions of authority and government, so that Christians may live peaceful and godly lives (v.2). Paul explains that this pleases God, who desires all people to be saved (v.3-4). He affirms that there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity - Jesus Christ, who gave His life as a ransom for all (v.5-6). Paul sees his own calling as an apostle and teacher in light of this truth of Christ's universal atonement (v.7). Finally, he expresses his desire that men everywhere pray with holy and united hearts (v.8). This passage teaches us the incredible importance and scope of prayer in the Christian life. Prayer is to be our "first response", not a last resort. It should include humble asking (supplication), general conversation with God (prayer), requests on behalf of others (intercession), and grateful worship (thanksgiving). Amazingly, Paul instructs us to pray for ALL people - leaving no one out of our prayers. Even those who seem opposed to us, like governing authorities, are to be prayed for, not only for their salvation but so that we as believers can live in peace and godliness. At the heart of Paul's exhortation is the wonderful truth that God desires everyone's salvation. Christ died as a ransom for all, and now God wants us to pray for all. As those who have experienced the truth of the gospel, we have the joyful duty of praying for the spread of that truth to others. And as we pray, we must check our own hearts. Are we approaching God with holy, cleansed hands? Are we harboring anger or division towards others? Prayer is not just an outward exercise but an overflow of our inner spiritual life and unity in Christ.

Reflection

What a challenging and encouraging passage on prayer! So often, if we're honest, prayer can feel like an afterthought in our daily lives as Christians. We know we should pray, but it's easy to let other priorities and distractions crowd it out. How convicting then to read Paul's words that prayer should be "first of all" in the church's activities. Before strategizing, before planning, before anything else, we are called to pray. And what a comprehensive view of prayer Paul gives us. Prayer is so much more than rattling off our personal wish list to God. It includes asking God to meet needs (supplication), but also reverently talking with Him (prayer), lifting up others (intercession), and expressing gratitude (thanksgiving). It encompasses all of life and all kinds of people. I find it particularly challenging to pray for "all people", especially those I disagree with or feel opposed by, like some politicians and leaders. But Paul doesn't give us the option of selectively praying only for those we like. If we want to live peaceful and godly lives, prayer for those in authority is essential, both for their salvation and for their wise leadership. When I think about it, some of the political leaders I've most disliked are probably those most in need of prayer! Ultimately, praying for all people flows from the heart of God Himself, who desires all to be saved. What an amazing truth - that the God of the universe wants to have a relationship with every single person. And what a privilege that we get to partner with Him in praying for that desire to be fulfilled. Christ has made a way through His death on the cross, and now we have the opportunity and responsibility to spread the message of His ransom through our prayers and our witness. Of course, to pray effectively, our own hearts need to be right before God. Paul urges us to pray with "holy hands" that are unstained by sin and anger towards others. If we are harboring bitterness in our hearts, it will hinder our prayers. How I need God's grace every day to search my heart and cleanse me from the inside out so that my prayers can be pleasing to Him. Today, let's commit to putting prayer first as Paul exhorts us. Let's bring all kinds of prayers for all kinds of people before God's throne, knowing that He hears us and desires to answer. Let's pray confidently in light of Christ's reconciling work and faithfully as God's appointed messengers of truth. May God reshape our hearts and our habits as we learn to pray according to His will.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, Forgive us for the times we have neglected prayer and made it a last resort rather than a first priority. Thank You that because of Jesus' sacrifice, we can approach Your throne with confidence. Thank You that You desire all people to be saved and come to know the truth. Help us to pray faithfully for all people, including those we struggle to love or agree with. Give us Your heart for their salvation. Remind us to pray for our leaders, that they would govern wisely and that we would be able to live godly, peaceful lives. Align our hearts with Yours as we pray. Cleanse us from sin and anger. Unite us as believers in our desire to see Your truth proclaimed in all the earth. Make us faithful in prayer and bold in our witness. Thank You for the privilege of partnering with You through prayer. Teach us to pray without ceasing and to trust in Your good purposes. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We pray all of this in the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Generated Image(s)

Hands lifted in humble adoration, Bathed in heaven's radiant light. A soul in sweet communion, Drawn to the Father's guiding sight.

Hands lifted in humble adoration,
Bathed in heaven's radiant light.
A soul in sweet communion,
Drawn to the Father's guiding sight.

This image was generated by AI from the devotion text.