Sunday, December 7, 2014

Plugging into God's power through prayer - 1 Timothy 2:1-2

1 Timothy 2:1-2 "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."

Recently our oven at home stopped working. My wife had been preparing to cook supper and when she went to turn on the oven, sparks and flames came from inside the door. Thankfully she was able to get to the breaker box to shut off the power. The oven had cooked its last meal. When I arrived home that evening, I looked at the oven. By and large the oven looked the same as it had when I had used it earlier that morning to make some breakfast. By outward appearance things looked fine and yet, without power, the inside of the oven will remain ineffective and incapable of achieving what it was designed to do. 

When the Apostle Paul is writing to young Timothy who is getting ready to assume pastor leadership, much instruction is given. We discover in 1 Timothy 3:15 the primary intent of the letter: to teach God's people how they ought to conduct themselves in the church of the Living God. As one scans over the first chapter, Paul instructs Timothy about the importance of church membership (1 Timothy 1:1-11); the necessity of thanking Jesus (1 Timothy 1:12-17) and fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 1:18-20). As we prepare to enter into the second chapter of this marvelous book of the Bible, Paul is going to push the urgency of plugging into God's power through prayer.

Point of Application: 
As we consider the significance of prayer in the life of the Christian and the church, we will aim to unpack the following main point of application: "Plugging into God's power occurs through prayer."

Biblical pattern for plugging into God's power through prayer
Plugging into God's power by prayer for daily decisions
Why do we need God's power and why is prayer the way to connect to such power? Paul is urging this church to pray on behalf of others and to seek the face of God. A church and its membership that takes seriously the matter of prayer understands that God's power is needed when making decisions. In prayer the mind and the human spirit are linked together. (1 Corinthians 14:15) The mind that has taken in the words of God from the Bible knows the will of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10-13, 16) The human spirit that is home to the Holy Spirit of God knows the will of God intuitively enough to make decisions that match what God would choose to do in that given situation. All of these linkages are made possible by means of prayer. Remeber: plugging into God's power is done by means of prayer.

Plugging into God's power by prayer feeds the faith
When we deal with the matter of faith, it too requires the child of God plugging into God's power by prayer. Faith by its very definition in Hebrews 11:1 is the substance of things hoped for and the certainty of things not yet seen. Praying in the power of the Spirit is commanded in Jude 1:20  "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit." 

Plugging into God's power by prayer to overcome fear
Such praying is how we overcome the fear that so often tries to constrict the Christian's faith. Did you know that the Bible tells us to "fear not" over 200 times. The language of "faith" vs "fear" shows us the contrast between the two, and why powerful prayer is needed to break the yoke of fear. Fear says: "Maybe". Faith says: "God can". Fear says: "I'm not sure". Faith says: "I know He will". Prayer crosses over that invisible boundary between human half-hearted prayers vs Spirit-wrought powerful intercession by what we can call "certainty" and "knowing that we know that we know". Praying with power will lead to living with power, worshipping with power and preaching with power. 

Plugging into God's power by prayer is demonstrated by people in the scripture
In the scriptures we see Abraham praying with power in Genesis 18, resulting in Abraham's walk with God being made closer and closer with Him. In King Solomon's dedication of the Temple in Jersualem in 1 Kings 8, we see the glory cloud of God (The Shekinah) fill the temple, thus bringing God's power to bear on that ministry. Jesus' first words from the cross was a prayer that stayed the hand of God from destroying Jesus' executioners and really all of humanity from being wiped out by God's wrath at that given moment. Jesus was ever in touch with the Father in Heaven. He chose to willingly take upon Himself the wrath that we all deserved. The early church was a church of prayer and the power of God was said to had been so much so in those early meetings that when they prayed, the whole place was shaken. (Acts 4:31) The Bible's teaching about plugging into God's power is plainly taught.