Based on the Sermon of Chris Osborne
May 14, 2017
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving, 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.”
Our prayer lives…books have been written on how to pray, when to pray and where to pray. Everyone has an opinion on this subject and most of them are different! What am I to believe? What does Paul say to his young disciple, Timothy?
- Supplications: This word refers to very specific prayers. God wants us to pray for specifics…not just general prayers to “bless the missionaries” but specific prayers for the particular needs of those families. Praying scripture is an excellent way to pray for those in our circles when we are unsure of their needs. We can know we are praying His will when we are praying God’s Word over them.
- Prayers: This word refers to our general prayer life. We come into His presence to fellowship with Him but also to hear from Him what we are to pray…to be guided to pray for certain things. Matthew 6:6 says, “But when you pray, go into your room (closet) and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” We are to be alone…to be quiet…to be focused. That means…leave your phone somewhere else. Every ding and every whoosh will take our eyes off of the Father and onto the present, day-to-day chaos of our lives. Ecclesiastes 5:1-1-3 says, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.” So…we are alone and we are quiet. We come into His presence to listen and then to pray as He brings things and people to mind.
How often am I to do this? The Bible does not give us an answer to that question. The one thing we do know is that Exodus 20:8-11 tells us, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Scripture is very clear that on at least one day per week, we are to put aside everything else and take time to hear from and worship the Lord. Does this mean I only pray one day per week? No. We see in scripture that Daniel prayed “morning, noon, and night”. (Daniel 6:10) David in Psalm 55:16 says, “But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.” Jesus himself sometimes prayed late in the evening, sometimes all night and sometimes he arose early and went out to pray. (Matthew 14:23, Luke 6:12, Mark 1:31) I Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing”. From these verses and many more in scripture, we see that there is no certain day or certain time of the day to pray.
- Intercessions: The word “intercession” is a word that means coming into the presence of someone who is above me with boldness and courage. We can come into the presence of our Heavenly Father, God Himself, with courage and boldness! Paul is urging Timothy to do this! We do not have to feel unworthy or timid. God wants us to come and lay these requests before Him.
- Thanksgivings: As we age, there are many things that we may not be able to continue to do. However, prayer is something that we can continue to do until we meet Jesus. Even if we are in a hospital bed or confined at home we can be thankful that we can continue to serve our God in prayer for the saints and for the lost.
Who are we commanded to pray for? These verses say we are to pray “for kings and all who are in high positions”. How can we do that in a very practical way? All of us should have two people on the top of our list: our President and our Governor. After that, pray for the people you are tethered to in some way. Do you have a representative who attends your church? Pray for him/her. Do you live near the City Manager? Pray for him/her. Do you have children in the public schools? Pray for the Principal at your child’s school and the School Board in your town.
The result? “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” We complain about the chaos of politics all around us. We moan and roll our eyes over today’s tweets from our leaders. We are distressed over the condition of our public schools. Yet, how often are we on our knees praying specifically, listening to our Heavenly Father and approaching the throne with boldness and courage? How many times this week have we prayed for our leaders by name? How often are we thankful for this awesome privilege of prayer? And if we read the next verses (3-4) we see that this is “pleasing to God who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” So, in being faithful in prayer…we are paving the way for the gospel to go out effectively in our community, as well!
Taking these steps in prayer can have a powerful impact on our world. Although we may not see it, scripture tells us we must walk by faith and not by sight. We are promised that God is moving. Are you willing to be a part of what God has called you to do?