Who Should You Be Praying For Today?

prayer31 Timothy 2:1,2 – 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.

Knowing Your Place In Line

When I was a kid, I always knew my place while waiting to be picked for the neighborhood football game – near the end. I wasn’t the biggest boy on the block nor the most athletic. So, I knew I wasn’t going to be picked first.

Standing in line for lunch in kindergarten, I knew where I should stand. The teachers lined us up – shortest in the front, tallest in the back. I was either first or second in line.

In my graduating class of 500 plus, I knew about how long it would take for me to walk the line to receive my diploma – too long. But being in the H’s made me feel a little better than S’s or Z’s.

Kings Have It Good

Paul, instructing and directing Timothy in leading the church in Ephesus, tells him that one of his priorities is prayer. Prayer not only for the men and women of the church (1 Timothy 2:8,9), but prayer for those in authority. He says in 1 Timothy 2:1,2 – “…first of all, requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority…”

Why should he (we) pray for those in authority like kings? I mean, kings have it good. They have thrones and servants. They are treated with respect and honor. They would never get picked last for neighborhood football or have to think about waiting in line for anything.

God’s Beauty Though Our Unity

Some men and church leaders love to use the latter part of 1 Timothy 2 as a way to teach the subservience of women. 1 Timothy 2:11,12 – A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. But instead, the focus should be on how there is and should be order in everything. Order shows God’s beauty through our unity.

And Paul teaches that one of the first ways to show His beauty through our unity, is in the order of our prayer life.

Submissive or Subversive?

Romans 13:1 – Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

How can we be subject or submissive when we are subversive? When we pray for those in authority over us like kings, presidents, public servants, policemen, bosses, etc, we show that we submit to the order that God has put into place. It also pleases God (1 Timothy 2:3). When we pray for God’s hand and blessing upon those in authority over us, we are in turn praying for God’s hand and blessing upon us.

Who Should You Be Praying For Today?

I’m still not the biggest boy nor the most athletic. I would still get picked last.  But I know my place.

There are those in authority over me that I must pray for. It’s not a suggestion nor is it a directive based on feelings.

Who should you be praying for today?

It’s proximity, not the problem

2 Tim 3:11 – …the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.

cover-design-13.jpgIt’s proximity, not the problem.

We want and pray for deliverance, healing, comfort, peace, ease, etc. The Lord is gracious and compassionate. He, at times, answers our cry for exactly what we pray. At other times, in the middle of our problems, He gives us something that’s bigger than the release we seek – His presence.

I can’t help but notice what seems to be a weird duality of sorts in some of Paul’s writings. The verse above… the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me. If Paul endured or went through persecutions, did the Lord really rescue him? To me, going through them isn’t really being rescued.

Or another verse in the same letter, 2 Timothy 4:18 – The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack… But the Lord didn’t rescue him from every evil attack. It was an evil attack that later separated Paul from his head.

I looked closer at the verse above – Yet the Lord rescued me from all of themand I’ve found that rescue isn’t the rescue I understand it to be with the idea of completely taking someone out of a situation. It has more of the idea of drawing to oneself rather than removal. It’s more of pulling someone close than pulling someone out. It’s not dragging a person or thing out of the danger zone, but rather dragging a person or thing close to oneself.

Paul experienced the same things we experience – hard times, difficult struggles, physical pain, emotional anguish – but Paul says emphatically – the Lord rescued me from all of them. God did so through His presence, through His grace that was sufficient, through His strength perfected in weakness.

In my problems, I want deliverance, healing, comfort, peace, ease, etc. But I think more than that, I want God’s presence. I want Him to bring me close. I want Him to pull and drag me to His side, because in His presence, I am delivered, healed, comforted, peaceful – and rescued!

Lord, bring me closer!

http://paulhorton.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/bringmecloser.mp3