Thursday, July 30, 2009

why do we pray

"therefore i exhort, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for those who are in authority that we may live a quiet and peaceful life in all Godliness and reverence for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our father," (1 tim 2:1-3).

Godliness and reverence are qualities that, as christians we long to demonstrate. yet here, the spirit gives us an unexpected formula to achieve it. He says to pray.

the first 2 verses contain the exhortation to pray for all men and specifically for those in authority which is, itself, an important command to recognize. but then paul segues to a new idea using the phrase, "that we may live..." the word "that" indicates the next section explains the purpose of the command and a promise of the results of obedience.

we may expect the purpose of praying for all men and for those in authority would have to do with those for whom we are praying, but, once again, our God tosses our expectations out the window and surprises us with something better. as we pray, we commune with God's spirit and as we yield our hearts to Him, He teaches us and changes us. remarkably as we take our eyes off of our own situation and needs and pray for others, we are changed: "...that we may live a quiet and peaceful life in all Godliness and reverence."

in this country one of our favorite pastimes is point out the mistakes of those in authority. of all the "benefits" of such an activity, a peaceful life is certainly not one of them. on the contrary, focusing on our dissatisfaction only increases it. yet, as we pray for kings and those in authority, even those we did not appoint or approve, we deny that part of our flesh that magnifies our own suffering instead choosing their highest good. we cannot, ourselves, eliminate our dissatisfaction, but as we make the choice to do deny our flesh, the LORD faithful changes our hearts bringing peace.

Godliness and reverence are not things that can be achieved by our own efforts, they are yielded by a position of true awe and submission to our God. reverence cannot be feigned, it is only as we look upon Him in His glory and recognize His beauty and holiness that we truly revere Him. by means of prayer, enabled by the blood of Jesus christ, we enter His throne room and can see, dimly, a glimpse of His glory. only in such a place can true reverence be born.

and this is pleasing to our LORD.

"turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full on His wonderful face, and the things of the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."

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