Instructions on Prayer

from the 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus reading plan

1 Timothy 2:1-15, Deuteronomy 6:4, John 10:14-18, 2 Peter 3:14-16

When I was in college a hurricane came through town and did a lot of damage. Roofs were stripped away by gale-force winds. Trees were toppled on homes and businesses. Some roads were closed for days. Afterward, I lived in a house with five other guys for days without power. It was all pretty exciting, really. Before the weather turned, I can remember waiting for the storm, but nothing was happening. We kept going outside, looking at the sky, but it was calm. All was quiet and peaceful, and we were disappointed.

There is a lot of teaching on prayer in 1 Timothy 2. Some of it is obvious. Other parts are challenging. Some is controversial. But there is one teaching here that, if we are not careful, we will pass by and miss something important.

Keep in mind that Paul is mentoring Timothy, a young pastor. His letters to young Timothy are full of wisdom, instruction, commands, helpful advice, and encouragement. This is what you would expect from Paul, the older, more seasoned minister of the gospel, compared to one who was still a little wet behind the ears.

Right before chapter 2 begins, Paul charges Timothy to hold on to his faith, to not be like others who have made a wreck of their faith. I mention this because the first words in this chapter are, “First of all, then…,” followed by instructions on prayer. And what is the end of those prayers? Why is this so important? So that we may “lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (v. 1).

Think about that logic.

Hold onto the faith. Don’t shipwreck your life. You and your people need to pray for everyone so you may lead a quiet, peaceful life.

Who teaches this? Most people teach that the way to an exciting life is not through quietly and prayerfully holding onto your faith. Most will teach you to live out loud for Jesus—to live boldly, implying that you need to make a ruckus for God. But Paul paints a different picture of what the prayers of a person of faith give us; those prayers lead to a quiet and peaceful life.

Quiet and peaceful sound like nothing is happening. Quiet and peaceful sound boring, not exciting. Quiet can lead to a life in which, if excitement is the standard, disappointment is sure to follow. This can be hard for anyone who wants to live an exciting life. But for Christians, Paul seems to think link this quiet and peaceful life with godliness—with not wrecking our spiritual lives.

Why, though?

Because our culture and our flesh tell us that spirituality is where the action is. But Paul and the rest of the Scriptures show us that, as Eugene Peterson says, “Prayer gets us in on what God is doing.” The world is after action. God is after prayerful faith displayed in a quiet and peaceful life.

Written by Matthew B. Redmond

Post Comments (6)

6 thoughts on "Instructions on Prayer"

  1. David Newsome says:

    In a hectic world, we serve a quiet, reserved, peace-filled God of omnipotent power.

  2. Kevin says:

    Day 3: This is good stuff! Society wants us to make noise for God, but God wants us in prayer with him. If we are always chasing the excitement of sharing the lord, disappointment is sure to follow more times than not. We do not always have to be causing a riot because of our faith. Spending time in prayer with the lord is how we get to know where the lord is and where he is leading us. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to share the faith and be excited about it, but prayer may be a bit more important.

  3. Mark Y. says:

    I feel like I have always been taught to be loud about my faith and proclaim to everyone that Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the Light. I believe that is what makes Christianity so hard for me some days. Knowing that quietly I can make an impact and quietly can strengthen my relationship with Jesus Christ is very rewarding for. As of right now in my walk I am very introverted. I am not living the best me so how can I talk to people about the best them.

    God has big plans for me and knowing that I can start quietly and build into my confidence is very promising for helping me achieve my goals spiritually.

  4. Ray says:

    Many of the Godliest men I’ve ever known are also the quietest ones. They model in their daily lives the self-control and discipline I long to develop in my own life.

  5. Zach says:

    For those of you who saw what I wrote yesterday, regarding God’s purpose for Paul’s life, I just wanted to point out today how Paul knew precisely what his calling was, as demonstrated in chapter 2, verse 7. God had a life designed for Paul, and he knew he was meant to be a teacher for the Gentiles. Nothing more, nothing less. Now look at our lives. How many of us could say they know exactly what God’s purpose is for them? It may be easier to see for some rather than others. But doesn’t that encourage us to pray, and seek God, desiring to work for Him, and desiring to fill that purpose in our lives? Keep praying and keep searching for your calling. God will speak to you, just listen.

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