Growing up in a small midwestern town in the United States of America, I remember developing an appreciation for my country and the many freedoms it provides. My gratitude grew during my time as a member of the United States Marine Corps. I loved serving my country, and every day when I put on my uniform, I believed that my efforts were contributing to the strength of the nation. When I got involved with The Way Ministry, I learned of the impact that I and every born-again believer can make upon our nations. The Word of God sets forth actions that each of us can take to make a difference in our respective countries. Let’s read about them in I Timothy.
I Timothy 2:1-3:
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.
The Epistle of I Timothy is specifically addressed to leaders in the Body of Christ. The exhortation in verse 1 is to make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks for all men. Although these actions are addressed to leaders, these verses can apply to all believers. All of us can make a direct and powerful impact in local, national, and even international matters if we choose to. Verse 2 shows us that our prayers can be extended to “kings” and all that are in authority, which today could include national, state, or local leaders. And within the context of these two verses, God sets the purpose, or the desire, to be accomplished: that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
We pray for those in positions of authority that their decisions will enhance our freedom to “live, and move, and have our being” in God, both physically and spiritually. We believe as we pray for the Word of the Lord to continue to have free course. To cap off the greatness of these two verses is the approval of our heavenly Father in verse 3. We see that taking these actions is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.” Because the Word of God is the will of God, we can clearly see God’s will for our lives—to live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. And our prayers have a direct impact on this. What a joy and privilege it is to be able to do those things that are good and acceptable to our heavenly Father!
As we examine these three verses in more detail, we will see how one word builds upon another, painting an even clearer picture of the actions we can take that make a difference in our respective countries and thus in our world.
I Timothy 2:1:
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.
In this verse, “exhort” means “to call aside,” “to invite to come,” or to “beseech.” God does not command us to do this, but rather it is an invitation from our heavenly Father for us to accept. He lovingly beseeches us, He implores us, and He calls us to do this out of our freewill desire and love for Him. I love this because it is an invitation to extend ourselves in our giving. Out of my love and appreciation for my country, I voluntarily signed up for military service of my own accord. In like manner, we can serve as abundantly as we choose to in our prayers to God.
Let’s look at these four specific actions to take in our spiritual service to God: supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks. The word “supplications” means “wants, needs,” or “petitions for a special object.” The Dake Annotated Reference Bible defines this word as “an entreating; continued strong and incessant pleadings until the prayer is answered.”
“Prayers” can be defined as “prayers offered to God” that give “prominence to personal devotion.” The essence or implication here is to commit ourselves in prayer to God for that need or special object desired.
There are several instances in the New Testament where the words “supplication(s)” and “prayer(s)” are used together in the same verse. One notable occurrence is in Ephesians 6:18: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” In our prayers and supplications to God, we continue with perseverance—steadfastly until that desire comes to pass.
Perseverance is a necessary ingredient for almost any endeavor. During my active-duty time in the U.S. Marines, I recall being inspired by the Marine Corps motto of Semper Fi, which is short for Semper Fidelis, a Latin phrase meaning Always Faithful. This impressed upon me the importance of carrying out my duties to the best of my ability on a daily basis, regardless of the circumstance. Whether it was doing my daily push-ups in preparation for a physical fitness test or cleaning my rifle for an inspection, all was done with perseverance, and favorable results always followed. It should be no surprise that God wants His people to persevere in prayer! That’s how we see the favorable results we desire….
This is an excerpt from the July/August 2013 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2013 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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