1 Timothy 2:8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
I have quoted the first part of this chapter more times than I could count, but this verse also is very worthy of meditation and application. This is very specifically addressed to men, and not just to people in general. It is a fact of human nature that men tend both to be more argumentative than women, and to be less likely to pray. Paul hits both those weaknesses here. I have even seen men get offended at what someone else prayed! Arguments and disputes do not build up the Church, but that’s not to say we are to abandon truth or compromise on everything just to avoid them. Paul himself had quite a few arguments and disputes, particularly with legalistic Jews who tried to insist on rituals as necessary for salvation. However, there’s nothing like fervent prayer, led by the Holy Spirit, to generate unity! It’s also interesting that Paul specifies “everywhere.” The Japanese makes it clear that this isn’t just talking about men who happen to be in different places, but rather that wherever you are, you should pray. We are too prone to relegate prayer to specific locations, and particularly to the church building, and Paul is specifically countering that. The first several verses of this chapter certainly give us plenty to pray about, so we are to be sensitive and obedient to the Holy Spirit at all times and in all places to pray under His guidance, as God’s agents for accomplishing His will.
As I’ve commented before, I grew up in a home where prayer was as natural as breathing, and I couldn’t be more grateful. That said, I’m still not the prayer warrior my wife is. I am grateful to pray freely in any location or circumstance, but I can’t say I spend as much time in focused prayer as she does. As a pastor, one of my headaches is how hesitant men in particular are to pray. I don’t have an easy answer for that, but I’m not to give up. Men in general aren’t as vocal as women, but that’s not an excuse. Some men (like me) are very vocal! I am to be very careful that my teaching and coaching on prayer are genuinely encouraging, and not accusatory or discouraging. Feeling guilty for not praying isn’t likely to make anyone pray more consistently! I am personally grateful for the gift of tongues to enable me to pray when my brain doesn’t know how. I need to pray that all the men of the church would be similarly gifted, so that together we may be “shock troops” in God’s army, defeating in prayer all the tricks of the enemy.
Father, thank You for this reminder, just as You have given Cathy a plan for churches to start being knit together in prayer. I pray that vision would catch fire and spread to all the churches, not just in this area but all over the nation, answering Paul’s prayer in this verse and tearing down the walls the devil and human pride have erected, for a massive move of Your Spirit in this nation, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!