1 Timothy 2:1-4
I urge, then, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
The elections are over and in spite of the reactions of many people God is still in control and we are still called to be people of prayer. We have an amazing country founded on solid truths but the paradox of our time is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower minds. We spend more, but have less. We buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years! We have been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We have built more gadgets to share more information, yet we communicate less and less. How can we be missing the mark by so far? And what is missing that is causing us to miss the mark?
Paul calls us to pray, we can either focus on the problems or the Provider. Paul also calls us to prayer with a focus on the target, because without a target we will always miss the mark. Paul clearly reminds us of that the target of prayer is:
Our last thirty day series on serving reminded us that the focus of serving should be outward focused, directed toward others. As we start our new thirty day series on prayer we also need to have an outward prayer life which is directed toward others. Paul’s first call is to urge us into action, why urge us, because action does not take place on its own. But we will never respond to this call if we don’t see prayer as action. Unfortunately many of us see prayer as a last resort not a first action? Paul’s gives us several aspects to prayer that give further emphasis to its outward focus. Supplication is humbly asking God to provide something on behalf of someone else, prayers here means to step out of the problems and into His presence, intercession is pleading on behalf of another and thanksgiving is an outward heart attitude. Prayer is an action in which we express our love for others. If we really want to see change then maybe we need to respond to Paul and be incited to pray! Who are you praying for?
- Our Leaders
If we spent the same amount of time on our knees for the leaders of our nation that we do in complaining about them would we see a difference? Why is it easier to turn to frustration and facebook than to God? Our tendency is to criticize those in leadership; instead we are called to care by coming alongside in prayer. Belief effects behavior and if we really believe that prayer changes the world we live in, that it is possible to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness, then our behavior would be characterized by prayer.
- God’s Will
So many times we want to know God’s specific Will and here Paul gets pretty specific, he says it’s simply to pray for others. Paul says that this type of prayer is good in God’s eyes and the word good here is the word used to describe how God felt about His creation, it is good. Just as God was pleased with His untarnished creation so He is pleased when He looks upon those who, through prayer, are seeking the best for others. Are you willing to lift others up regardless of who they are, where they are, or what they have done? This is good and pleasing in God’s eyes because prayer looks into the future for what they could become? How’s your prayer life, are you missing the mark, or are you experiencing the power of prayer? Are you grumbling about your present problems or praying to the One who is in control of the future? Don’t miss the target of prayer.