Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 2, 2017
By Tripp Prince
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to pray for those that we love and are close to us, such as our spouses, children, close friends and loved ones? Those with whom we share life are often the first that come to mind when it comes to prayer and support. And yet, important as this form of prayer is, it should never be the full extent of what it means for us as Christians to be people of prayer.
True prayer is never simply a validation of your current loves but should expand your capacity to love in unexpected and ambitious ways.
Paul’s letter to Timothy includes instruction and guidance on Christian worship, helping clarify what is central to our identity as Christians. He reminds us of who we are and what we are meant to do. And at the heart of this exhortation, Paul tells us that we are first and foremost a people of prayer. Christians are invited to lift up the joys and the burdens of the world to the Lord, asking that he bring his healing and wholeness to the injustice and brokenness of our lives and our world.
There is a boldness in Paul’s words. He reminds us that part of the work God gives us to do as his sons and daughters is global in its focus. Should we pray for those who are close to us suffering, for example, sickness or the loss of a job? Of course! And yet, this must not be the full extent of our vision. Paul invites this small and fledging early Christian community to pray “for kings and all those in authority.” Paul knew that God hears and responds to prayer, and was therefore shamelessly bold in his vision for the prayer life of this early church. Do we have the same bold vision?
It is so easy to identify problems in our world, isn’t it? Injustice, inequality, political abuse and corruption are to be found everywhere we look. And it is equally easy to criticize and condemn those responsible for these actions. Yet if we spent as much time in prayer as we did critiquing and commenting, what might be different? As the late English pastor John Stott once said, “I sometimes wonder whether the comparatively slow progress towards peace and justice in the world, and towards world evangelization, is due more than anything else to the prayerlessness of the people of God.”
In times of heated political debate and polarization across countless ideological lines, the church more than ever must hear the words of Scripture, take them to heart, and obey! Set aside time today to pray for those in authority and leadership, in our churches, countries, and the world, that we might see peace, godliness, and holiness flourish in our day.
PrayerEternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and forever. Amen. (A Prayer for Peace, Book of Common Prayer)
ApplicationHow can you broaden your prayer life and faithfully lift up the joys and sorrows of the world to the Lord?
Related ReadingPhilippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11
Post/Tweet todayTrue prayer is never simply a validation of our current loves but should expand our capacity to love in unexpected and ambitious ways. #WisdomHunters #praybigprayers
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