Monday, December 8, 2014

Unleashing the power of God through prayer - 1 Timothy 2:3-8

1 Timothy 2:8 "Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension."

Yesterday we considered the importance of plugging into God's power through prayer. Our main point of application was: Plugging into God's power is done through prayer. We surveyed the Bible's teaching on this subject. In 1 Timothy 2:1-8, the Apostle Paul needed to remind Timothy and the church at Ephesus of the need to plug into God's power through prayer. 

Think of prayer as a rolling out the red carpet for God to come into and do His work. Prayer invites God to work where He wants and how He wants. 

So then in seeing what the Bible has to say about this important topic of "plugging into God's power through prayer", what specific areas can be affected when God's power is unleashed through prayer? 

Plugging into God's power through prayer leads to....

Powerful living. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
1 Timothy 2:2 says these words - "for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." As God's people regularly pray for those in authority, the communities in which they live and the surrounding culture, God's favor works on their behalf. The words "tranquil" and "quiet" speak of a soul that is at rest as a result of improvement of outside circumstances (i.e the word tranquil) and the inward conditions of the heart. (1 Peter 3:4). 

Is Paul saying that plugging into God's power through prayer is going to lead to a life of ease and comfort? Not in the sense of the so-called "American Dream". The type of life which is spoken of here is a life that rests in the fact that God is in control. Notice the type of life that is being encouraged as a result of God's power unleashed through the connection of prayer: "life in all godliness and dignity." 

Powerful witness. 1 Timothy 2:3-4
1 Timothy 2:3-4 is one of the most important passages in the New Testament with regards to God's missionary heart. The text reads: "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,4 who desires all men to be saved and tocome to the knowledge of the truth." When we couple these verses to 1 Timothy 2:1 and 2:8, we see the clear linkage between prayer and evangelism. Mike Barnett, editor of the book: "Discovering the Mission of God", (IVP Academic, 2012 page 375), notes the importance of prayer and missions: 
"Why pray for God's missions and His missionaries? Because God always has and always will answer prayer. Whom should we pray for? The nations and missionaries. Pray for the nations to hear and understand the good news of Jesus Christ. Pray for missionaries to endure and develop Christlike character as they serve. How should we pray? For God's mission to be accomplished. Don't focus so much on plans, strategies, means and methods, but for God's will to be done - His Kingdom to come. These are the basics of praying strategically for God's mission and missionaries."

Powerful focus on Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5-6
How is it that Christians can retain a thorough Christ-centeredness in their lives? by means of prayer! It is no accident that Paul would insert in a section on prayer one of the most Jesus' saturated texts in 1 Timothy 2:5-6 "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time." These two verses in and of themselves could easily turn into two or three blog posts, but for now we will confine ourselves to a few thoughts. 

First, Paul's words and thoughts veer into this focus upon Jesus Christ as the Mediator and is at the center of a section that begins and ends with the exhortation to pray. 

Secondly, the Mediatorship of Jesus, called by Bible teachers His "Session", has at its heart the purposes and power of prayer. The book of Hebrews is replete with reminders of how Jesus Christ is the Living Mediator who intercedes for us and makes such intercession possible. (Hebrews 7:25; 8:6; 9:15: 12:24). 

Thirdly, Jesus' role as Mediator means that He is both the source and goal of prayer. Fourthly, Jesus Christ as man has something in common with us and at the same time being God can connect us directly to the Father. The power of prayer truly means we are connected to that wonderous fellowship that exists between the Trinity through the ongoing Mediating ministry of the Son - Jesus Christ. These thoughts are all to say that when the power of God is unleashed in our lives, the goal of being Christ-centered will go from a duty to a delight, being that prayer itself is only possible through Jesus Christ.

Powerful church-life. 1 Timothy 2:7
We have seen what happens when the power of God is unleashed through plugging into His power through prayer. God's power at work through prayer can lead to a more powerful and effective Christian life, witness and focus on Jesus Christ. What happens when individual believers come together in the setting of the local church. What occurs when a local church body is caught up in a powerful prayer movement? Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2:7-8  "For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 "Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension."

In our churches, when prayer is made the priority, much like the individual Christian life, a red-carpet of invitation is opened up to God to come and do as he pleases in the church's ministries. Paul's mention of his calling and preaching to the exhortation to pray in 2:8 suggests firstly that plugging into God's power through prayer will yield power in the pulpit. The apostolic authority that comes through the scriptures will be refreshed and renewed and thus the church will once again be rekindled in its focus on the Word. The fact that Paul mentions teaching reminds us of the importance of the teaching ministries of the church such as Sunday School and Small groups. Then finally, when we plug into God's power through prayer, the people of God will be illuminated to a greater understanding of life-application. 

Too often our feet hit the ground running without any thought of prayer. The true work of the local church are not so much the works themselves, rather the work of the local church is the work of God at work. How else can God work freely and unhindered in our churches lest He be invited to do so through the church body as a whole seeking Him in prayer. 

No comments:

Post a Comment