Category Archives: The Value of Prayer

Praying Night and Day

2 Timothy 1: 1-4

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;

I love the way Paul opened his letters both to the churches and to individuals. He was always so gracious and used words of blessing and words to help people remember who he was. This is a characteristic we should all use if we are inclined to write letters by hand (or type them out on a computer). In this world of email, Facebook, Twitter and the rest, letters are a rarity anymore. I know when I receive one it is indeed a blessing.

First, he says he is an apostle by the will of God. Do you view your life and calling that way – that it is only by the will of God that you are engaged in a particular ministry? That it is not because of your talents, or knowledge, or wisdom or any other characteristic you might have. It is by God’s will alone that you are doing this work – buy His good pleasure. He has given us life through His Son Jesus Christ and we should make the most out of our lives. The way we do that is by enveloping ourselves in the will of God and following the course Her has laid out for us. Anything else will cause us to run into resistance in life and we will not have the blessing of God we could have if we did follow His course.

Timothy is Paul’s son in the faith. Paul looked at him as his own son, and I imagine Timothy looked at Paul as an earthly father. There is no mention of Timothy’s father in scripture, just his mother and grandmother. Paul probably served as a father figure for him and brought him up in the faith the way a good father would. He was a mentor, as we would call Him today. One of the gr3eatest honors we can have is to be a mentor for someone else. Not only does this grow their devotion and faith in God, but it will build ours as well. We grow as we take part in their life, showing them the correct way to discipleship. Paul said “Follow me as I follow Christ.”. (1 Corinthians 11:1) What would someone else’s life be like if they carried out this word toward you? Would they grow in their relationship to God, or would they have trouble keeping the faith? We need to examine ourselves.

At the same time, we all need to have someone who is mentoring us, feeding truth into our lives and challenging us to grow in our relationship to God. Personally, I have several. My Pastor is a wonderful mentor. He is kind a compassionate and teaches me what grace and mercy are all about. We regularly talk about various subjects and how they relate to the human condition. He has been such a blessing to us. I can honestly say that most of the pastors I have had through the years were mentors for me. I am one who submits to that authority and helps wherever needed. In turn, I learn a lot from each one. We should give them that place in our lives. God has appointed and anointed them to be in a [position of authority over us. Honoring them by being a mentee is a good thing!

Paul then wished grace, mercy and peace to Timothy in his typical greeting fashion. I would love to get into the habit of starting out emails and correspondence with that statement. Imagine a world where each of us wished grace, mercy and peace on one another. There are few attributes of God that are more powerful than these three things. Some of the others we could use are love, joy and hope. Love might be taken the wrong way and joy might come at a tough time in a person’s life. Hope is a by product of our faith. But grace, mercy and peace can come into our lives at any time and are always working on our behalf. I think that’s why Paul chooses these three things to use in his greetings. I desperately need each one of them every day.

Then Paul says something that really interested me. He said with a clear conscience he could say he prayed for Timothy night and day. I have a confession to make. Sometimes I tell people I am praying for them when I haven’t been really diligent in doing that. A passing thought is usually what I am referencing, not a heartfelt prayer. I am often disappointed with my prayer life. I don’t spend the time I want to in prayer, and when I do spend that time I get too easily distracted. I even wrote a book on prayer and have trouble following the insights God gave me to write the book.

But Paul could say with a clear conscience that he was praying night and day. That means it was the absolute truth to me. He had no reservation about saying it. His conscience would not bother him for saying it. It was something he truly did do. I have no doubt that his prayers were heartfelt and meaningful; not just thrown together at the last minute like a chore he had to do. We should all approach prayer that way. Our prayer lives should be a constant state of mind. Paul write more than once about being in a constant state of prayer (Phil 4:6, 1 Thess 5:17).

In a way, I follow these two verses. I think following these verses is to be ready to pray at any given moment. God will bring things into our spirit that need prayer and we should be ready to pray for that situation when we hear His voice, Whether in our prayer language or our everyday language, we should take time out of whatever we are doing to talk to God and interceded for those in our lies who need prayer. At this I do well. How about you?

Lastly, Paul shares his overwhelming desire to see Timothy. I do not have a lot of knowledge of church history, but I don’t believe Paul ever got to see Timothy again after sending this letter. Paul wrote it from a Roman prison and I doubt Timothy ever made a trip to Rome to see Paul. So, Paul’s hope was never fulfilled and he probably knew that when he wrote this. Why even say such a thing then? So that Timothy would know of Paul’s affection for him, that’s why. We should never shy away from telling people of our affection for them. We never know when it is the last time we will communicate with them. Make sure you tell your loved ones just how much you care today!

Lead a Quiet and Peaceable Life

1 Timothy 2:2

1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Have you ever wondered why there is such turmoil in our country recently? We have seen mass school shootings increase many fold. People are blaming different things for this. Some say we need more gun control, yet in the cities with the highest gun violence they also have the strictest gun control laws. Others say it is a result of the mental health system in our country and want to spend money to fix that. Still others blame the parents of the children and even adults that are doing these things, saying there is trauma that is unresolved in their lives. We simply cannot agree, so no solutions are found.

There is the cry of the LGBTQ community. Many say they should be normalized in every area of our society and given the same rights as any other citizen, including marriage, pastoring a church, and being boy and girls scout leaders. Others say it is clearly a sin according to the Bible. Christians should not be made to bend their beliefs to serve their needs or incorporate them into society. Some states make laws that you cannot even counsel a person with thoughts about these varying lifestyles because of the trauma it will cause. Others say we must counsel them on the dangers of some of these lifestyles. We simply cannot agree, so no solution is found.

There is the climate change community. They say we are rapidly destroying this earth by our human consumption, putting dangerous gases into the atmosphere that will eventually warm it up to the place that the polar ice caps will melt completely and weather will be more dynamic than ever before. Others say climate change has been going on since the beginning of time and climate will continue to change in cycles. It has nothing to do with human interference. We simply cannot agree, so no solution is found.

There is the thought that police target people of race more than whites. Those who believe this say this is the reason there are a higher percentage of blacks and Hispanics in prison per capital than white people. They say police will go after a person of color for no reason and provoke them to act wrong, then take it out on them all the way up to the point of killing them. The other side says perhaps it is because those communities carry out a higher percentage of crime per capita than other races and that they tend to defy authority, which causes a problem when police try to arrest them. Race relations go down the tubes steadily. We simply cannot agree, so no solution is found.

There are many more issues: abortion, immigration, terrorism, cyber security and more that fall into the same problem area. There are two sides to the story and we just cannot come to the place of agreement. The congressional approval rate was 20% in January of 2019. 62% believe our news is biased. The President’s approval rating is 45%. We don’t trust anyone in public office to look out for the needs of the greater population, and we don’t trust the media to truthfully tell us what is going on. Is it any wonder our lives are not peaceful and quiet. Why is it like this?

I would proposed to you that it is the churches fault. It is not the fault of the politicians, the media or the president. It is not the fault of your state and local governments. It is not the fault of the school board or the county superintendents. It is my fault. It is my pastors fault. It is my church boards fault. It is my denominations fault. It is the fault of the Christian church. Yet this fault can be corrected.

We have for too long criticized, made fun of, put down, degraded and laughed at what goes on in politics and the media instead of taking up prayer for them. We have exhibited our pride, thinking we can do better than them when we know nothing about why decisions are made the way they are made. We have deluded ourselves into thinking an election will change things. There is only one way we can change what is going on in this country, and that way is prayer.

I included verse 1 here because it completes the thought of verse 2 and it is worth looking at again. We are to make supplications, prayers, intercession and giving of thanks for kings and all that are in authority. We cannot separate these two verses. Supplications should be given when an urgent bill is before our congress and they are making decisions. Prayer should be given when they are mulling over legislation in a committee. Intercession should be made when they face accusations such as our president is facing right now. Giving of thanks should be made regularly for those who are giving their lives in public service.

This doesn’t just apply to your party and your ideals. Paul says to all men (we can include women here as well). To all that are in authority (both sides of the aisle and from every state). For our President, who would be king in this context. Not just in our country, but around the world. All is an all-inclusive word and we have no right to leave anyone out.

Many of you know the formula for revival but I will review it here. According to 2 Corinthians 7:14, we must first humble ourselves. This is our biggest stumbling block in the church. We want to criticize and all those other things listed above. But none of those things come from a humble heart. They come from a prideful heart. Before the church does anything else, if they want to see true revival, we must humble ourselves. This comes before we pray, before we seek God, and even before we repent. That is how important it is. Yet we come to God with our head high and our scripture verses saying God must do this or that because He says if we ask He will do it. We come telling God what to do instead of beseeching Him on our hands and knees, knowing we are not at all worthy to receive an answer. Humble ourselves and think about everybody else and not ourselves. We have not gotten this first step right and that is why this country and this world is in such disarray.

Next we must pray. Pray with all our heart, desiring God’s will not ours. Pray, supplicate, make intercession every day for all men. Our ongoing prayer is effective as James 5:16 tells us. Then we must seek His face. Not seek our own way. Not seek what our party line wants to do. Seek Him, Jesus Christ. Be in His word regularly, seeking His wisdom and guidance in your prayers and supplications. Then we must repent. Individually we must repent. We must repent for our nation and it’s evil ways. We must stand in the gap. Do this and God promises He will hear our prayer, forgive our sins and heal our land. I do a much better job of breaking down this scripture and the concept of prayer in my book called “The Ask Principle”. I pray you have picked up a copy from Amazon.

What is that biggest prayer that is needed for those in authority? That they would know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. That every one of them would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and turn their lives over to Him. That they would study the scripture on the decisions before them and follow God’s will in every decision. If this would happen, we would not only be living quiet and peaceable lives, but we would see revival spread across this country faster than a wildfire in a field of grain.

It’s time church. Don’t take the wrong path any longer. Do what you are called to do and pray! We can make a difference!