Category: Prayer

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 5)

1.8 Christ the Ransom

1Timothy 2:6-7 “Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Five truths about Christ‘s Redemptive Price can be gleaned from 1Timothy 2:6:

First, Christ’s Ransom is a Gift. The verb “gave” (ho dous) looks back to the Death of Christ on the Cross. God the Father gave His Son out of Love (John 3:16), and so does the Son. His death was His (Christ’s) Free-Will.

Second, Christ gave “Himself” (heauton). He is both the Giver and the Gift. At the Cross, Christ was both the Priest and the Sacrifice. In the construction of the Church, Christ as the Builder laid Himself as the Foundation Stone. He (Christ) “loved the church and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).

Third, Christ is the “Ransom” (antilutron). The Doctrine of Biblical Redemption draws much of its language from term used in the Ancient Slave Markets. Sinners thus are Slaves to their Sin (John 8:34):

  • Christ bought (agorazó) Sinners and paid the Purchase Price with His (Christ’s) Blood for the Sinful Humanity – Ephesians 1:7 “In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Colossians 1:14; 1Corinthians 6:20; 2Peter 2:1; Revelation 5:9).
  • Christ also bought us out of (exagorazó) their spiritual bondage (Galatians 3:13; 4:5).
  • Redemption – We have been Redeemed from both the Law and the Curse. He (Christ) then set us free (lutroó; Titus 2:14; 1Peter 1:18).
  • Ransom – The term “Ransom” is a compound word, built upon this concept (lutron) and the preposition “in the place of” (anti). Although this is the only verse where the noun occurs in the New Testament, the combination does appear elsewhere. Christ declares that He came to give His Life “a ransom for man” (lutron anti pollón; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45).

Fourth, Christ is the Substitute “for all” (huper pantón). The two Greek prepositions (anti and huper) show that Christ died on behalf of all and in the place of all. The universal scope of the statement is supported by the term “all,” which is used throughout this passage to refer to all people (1Timothy 2:1,4,6). There is a difference, however, between the provision of Universal Redemption and the Individual appropriation of it by faith.

Fifth, Christ’s Death fulfilled the Prophetic Purpose of Redemption – “To be testified in due time.” In the Garden of Eden, God announced that the Seed of the Woman would bruise the head of Satan (Genesis 3:15). The Line of the Promised Redeemer thus extended from Adam to Abraham to David to Christ (Luke 3:23-38). In the Fullness of Time, God then “sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). 

1.9 Paul’s Authority

1Timothy 2:7(KJV) “For this I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” As a final proof that the Church must Pray for all men and for those in Authority, Paul appeals to his own appointment by God (1Timothy 1:1) to be a “herald” (NIV) and an Apostle whose distinctive Commission made him a Teacher of the Gentiles (Acts 22:21; Ephesians 3:1ff).  Between God’s Will and the Faith of men stands the necessary witness of a Christian. Paul knew this truth, and thus burdened with an Evangelistic concern, he “strive to preach the Gospel not where Christ was Named” (Romans 15:20). God had ordained both the means and end of the Gospel. In this verse, Paul described his Ministry in 3 Ways:

1.9.1 As a Preacher

As a “Preacher” (kérux), Paul preached God’s Word (2Timothy 4:2). He understands the logic of Evangelism: “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they had not heard? And how shall they hear without a Preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Romans 10:13-15).

Wuest states, “The Imperial Herald would enter a town on behalf of the Emperor and make a public proclamation of the message which his Sovereign ordered him to give, doing so with such formality, gravity, and authority as must be needed.” Throughout his three Missionary journeys, Apostle Paul did just that.

1.9.2 As an Apostle

Paul knew that he was called to be an Apostle (apostolos), one who had seen the Resurrected Christ and who had been Commissioned by Him (Jesus) to Preach and Lay the Foundation of the Church Age (1Corinthians 9:1-2; Ephesians 2:20).  

Timothy also knows that Paul was an Apostle. Thus, the emphatic affirmation was expressed for the benefit of the Ephesians Church and the Adversaries (“I speak the truth in Christ and lie not”). Constrained by the Holy Spirit, He (Christ) often had to appeal to God for His Confirmation of the Apostolic Witness (Romans 9:1; 2Corinthians 11:31; Galatians 1:20).

1.9.3 As a Teacher

Paul Catechised after he Evangelised (Matthew 28:18-20). The process of Discipleship involves constant instruction. The object of Paul’s Teaching was to the Gentiles (ethnón) although Paul ministered in Synagogues to numerous Jewish Audiences, his main effort was with the Gentile World (Acts 13:46-48; Luke 14:27). He started that he was “the Minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:16). Other Apostles recognised Paul’s Unique Ministry to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7-9).

The sphere of Paul’s Teaching was “in faith and verity” (en pistei kai alétheia). He wanted people both to believe and to understand what he (Paul) proclaimed. The word “verity” is actually translated as “truth” (1Timothy 2:4). It is the “belief of the truth” that saves the Sinner (2Thessalonians 2:13). Faith is the means, and truth is the content. The Legalists, unfortunately, were proclaiming a Religion of Works.

1.10 The Attitude in Prayer

1Timothy 2:8 (KJV) “I will, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

At all Time – The verb, Pray (prosuchesthai) stresses constant Prayer. D Edmond Hiebert argument “The men only are to lead in public prayer.” That strict interpretation is difficult to maintain dogmatically. All Christians, including women, must grow in the spiritual life. Women as well as men need to “Pray without ceasing” (1Thessalonians 5:17).  

In all Places – The Adverbial Phrase “everywhere” literally reads “in every place” (en panti topói). The general view of the meaning to include both Public Prayer and Private Prayer in all Geographical Locations (1Corinthians 1:2; 1Thessalonians 1:8). Three Essentials of Effective Prayer:

1.10.1 Holy Hands

It is not enough to Pray; it must be done in the right way. Prayer must issue from the humble heart of the Christian in Fellowship with God and with one another. The phrase “lifting up holy hands” could indicate a physical posture or an inner attitude. Prayer Postures could be: 

  • Outstretched Arms – David and Solomon (1Kings.8:22; Psalm 28:2; Psalm 63:4; Psalm 134:2).
  • On our Knees – Daniel was on his knees facing toward Jerusalem (Daniel 6:10).
  • Sitting – David sat before the LORD (2Samuel 7:18).
  • Bowing – Eliezer bowed his head in Worship (Genesis 24:26).
  • Fall on our face – Abraham fell on his face on the ground (Genesis 17:3).
  • Eyes Downcast – The Repentant Publican stood with his eyes downcast (Luke 18:13).
  • Lifted eyes – Our Lord Jesus Christ lifted His eyes toward Heaven in His Intercession (John 17:1).

The use of the figure “lifting up holy hands” is dramatic and instructive. This is the only place in the New Testament where this figure is employed of Prayer. Prayer Postures should not be ritualistic but rather spontaneous manifestation of our Prayerful Attitude.

The adjective “holy” (hosious) denotes a spiritual quality and hands (cherias) are “symbolic of daily life.”  Holy hands could also indicate an unpolluted spiritual life. David equates his righteousness with the cleanness of his hands – 2Samuel 22:21 “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath He recompensed me.” 

David later asked this rhetorical question: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart, who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psalm 24:3-4).  Only Christians whose lives manifest practical righteousness and holiness should be allowed to lead in Public Prayers. Christians living openly in sin have no place to lead in public prayers, as David confirms “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). 

The “without wrath and doubting” partly explains what is involved in having “holy hands.” The words show that a Christian must be right in his relationships both to man and to God.

1.10.2 Without Wrath

The term “wrath” (orgés), focuses on emotional anger vented on men, both Christians and non-Christians. It is the second essential, and it requires that we be on good terms with one another Even though the petitioner has been wronged by others, he must put off that natural sinful response of anger before he goes into the presence of God (Colossians 3:8). Jesus warns that such inner fury must be replaced by the spirit of reconciliation (Matthew 5:21-26). A Christian must be “slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20):

  • Jerry Taylor remarks: “Anger is a perfect alienation of the mind from prayer.”
  • Bernard: “In our prayers we leave our differences behind us.”

1.10.3 Without Doubting

The term “doubting” = “disputing” (dialogismou), is the opposite of inner confidence. Instead of having faith, a Christian doubt when he has sceptical criticism of God’s control over his life. He carries on a mental dialogue about the outcome of his prayer. It is possible that the disputation may extend to argument with fellow Christians about the programs within the local church. In that sense, doubting disrupts the spiritual unity and the effectiveness of the Body of Christ. Paul cautioned, “Do all things without murmuring and disputing” (Philippians 2:14; same word as “doubting”).  Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches the same truth in Mark 11:24-26. If we spent more time preparing to pray and getting our hearts right before God, our prayers would be more effective.

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 4)

1.6 The Goals of the Prayer Ministry

1Timothy 2:4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” The first goal is the “saving purpose” for mankind. Apostle Paul says that “God our Saviour……will have all men to be saved.” Prayer for the “Lost-Souls” is based on Christ’s Redemptive Work. The mention of the Divine Title “Saviour” causes Paul to introduce a relative clause that began with the pronoun “Who” (hos). This feature forms the transition from the First Section (1Timothy 2:1-3) of this passage to the next (1Timothy2:4-7). The Second Half of the Passage reveals a genuine concern for the “lost-souls” by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit through Paul.

God’s Will be both simple and complex. He works “all things after the counsel (boulên) of His Own will” (thelêmatos – Ephesians 1:11). All things, including Creation, Redemption, and Judgement, are encompassed by the Divine Decree. For purpose of understanding, however, God’s Will can be classified in three ways:

  • His Decretive Will – Expresses God’s Unconditional Purpose, it gives Him pleasure and it is always carried out because it is dependent only upon Him for its fulfilment (Isaiah 14:24,27).
  • His Perceptive Will – States His Conditional Purpose. The performance of His Moral Will is dependent upon the obedience of man for its fulfilment. The Ten Commandments and the desire to save reveal God’s Moral, Perceptive Will. Man willed to do what God has Willed. Unfortunately, both Believers and Unbelievers have willed not to obey God.
  • His Permissive Will – Allows sin and evil to occur. God is not morally responsible for the sinful actions of men and the consequences of those acts. Such rebellion gives God no pleasure (Psalms 81:12; Acts 14:16; Romans 1:24).

God’s Will in 1Timothy 2:4 points to His Moral, Perceptive Will. The verb Will (thelei) indicates a “desire springing out of the emotions or inclinations, rather than out of deliberation (boulomai).” It reveals God’s intense concern for the Salvation of the Lost Souls. God’s Perceptive, Redemptive will has 2 Purposes:

1.6.1 Salvation

1Timothy 2:4a “All men to be saved,” the verb literally reads, “who wills all men to be saved” Paul writes that God’s Will is to save all man, but also man must will to experience Salvation. God does not impose His Redemptive Plan upon Unwilling Persons. To obey the appeal to believe, man must actively exercise his will (Acts 16:31). The group “all men” includes the entire World of Lost Humanity (1Timothy 2:1). Christians can pray for all men to be saved because Divine Provision has been made for all to experience Salvation (John 3:16; 12:32; 1John 2:2).

1.6.2 Truth

1Timothy 2:4b “All men come unto the knowledge of the truth.” God works in and through man’s will to gain the assent of man’s will without violating its moral accountability.

  • The goal is the “knowledge of the truth.” The noun “knowledge” (epignósin) denotes a thorough understanding. It is used not the simple word for knowledge but the compound form which seems to mean growing knowledge or perception. William’s rendering: “to come to an increasing knowledge of the truth.” (Charles B. Williams, “The New Testament, A Private Translation in the Language of the People,” Moody Press, 1949).
  • Unbelievers do not become Believers through ignorance. They must have basic knowledge of God’s Redemptive Facts. These facts are contained in the “truth” (elétheia), which is outlined in the 1Timothy 2:5-7:
  • The Oneness of God, the necessity of the Divine-Human Mediator, the Death, Burial and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the appropriation of Salvation by Faith. The word “truth” occurs 14 times in the Pastoral Epistles (1Timothy 3:15; 4:3; 6:5; 2Timothy 2:15,18; 3:8; 4:4; Titus 1:14).

Redemptive Truth centres in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He declared: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Knowledge of such truth sets men free from their bondage of sin (John 8:32; 2Thessalonians 2:13-14). The possession of Eternal Life is synonymous with knowing God and Christ through the Redemptive Experience (John 17:3). Paul was willing to repudiate his proud, self-righteous life for “the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:8).

Thus, prayer is part of God’s Plan for reaching the Lost World. Christians have the responsibility of Praying for the Lost Souls (Romans 10:1) and making ourselves available to share the Gospel with others.

1.7 Christ the Mediator

1Timothy 2:5“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus.” The conjunction “for” (gar) introduces the explanation of Redemptive Truth. The emphasis also switches from the Father to the Son. Christ, as the Mediator, the attention is on the Son’s Person, whereas as the Ransom, the focus is on Christ’s Work, as the Mediator – Three Concepts are enumerated:

First, there is only “One God” with three Persons in the Godhead (Father, Son {Jesus} and the Holy Spirit – God alone has the Sovereign Prerogative to determine the Proper Access into His (God’s) Presence (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

Second, Christ, is the “One Mediator between God and men.” A Mediator is an Umpire. Wuest observes that a Mediator is “One who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or to form a compact or ratify a covenant.”  The necessity of the Mediator can be seen in the gulf between the Holy God and the Sinful Humanity. When God created Adam and Eve, there were Fellowship; however, in their (Adam’s & Eve’s) disobedience, they fled from God’s Presence (Genesis 3:7-8). Man, not God, needs Reconciliation (Romans 5:10; 2Cor.5:19). 

Third, the One Mediator is the “Man Christ Jesus.” The absence of the definite article “the” before the noun “Man” stresses that Christ is the Perfect God-Man. Christ has the same human nature as all others (Hebrews 2:14,16), except Christ is without Sin (2Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1Peter 2:22; 1John 3:5) – Christ, the God-Man is very Man of very man. Men needed the God-Man, Christ Jesus to represent us. The phrase affirms that the Mediator had to be both Divine and Human in order to represent the interests of the two Parties. Then only person who could bring both man and God together He (Christ) had to be both God-Man.

In his concern Job confessed: “For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgement. Neither is there any daysman (mediator) between us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32-33). The word “Daysman” connotes a “Mediator” and is so translated in the Septuagint by the same word Paul uses in 1Timothy 2:5. Job longs for Someone who understands both God and man and who will draw them together. Ultimately this is what our Lord Jesus Christ does. But Job desires some man in his own time who has “eyes of flesh” and who can sympathise with his human weakness. This longing increases as the Book of Job progresses (Job 9:32-33; 10:4-5, 8-10; 13:21-22; 16:21; 23:3).  Job’s desire of “Daysman” was Christ who placed His hands on both God and man. Christ thus becomes the Mediator (mesités) of the New Covenant ratified by His Shed Blood (Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24).

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 3)

1.4 The Results of the Prayer Ministry

1Timothy 2:2b (KJV) “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” In fact, it is for our own good that we Pray for “all men and for Kings and those in Authority,” so that we can “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” The Early Church was subjected to opposition and persecution, so it was wise to Pray for those in Authority.

The Purpose rather than the content is emphasised – “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life” means that the Nation will achieve the Condition of Peace and Security that enables the Christians to share the Gospel without hindrance. Van Oosterzee notes: “The Apostle Paul does not mean that the church should be influenced, through such petitions, to lead a quiet and peaceable life under authority; but he supposes that God, who guides the hearts of kings as the water brooks (Proverbs 21:1), will, in answer to the prayer of the church, move the hearts of kings, and of all in authority, to leave Christians at rest.” (Van Oosterzee, pg.28).

Apostle Paul believed that the Prayer of the Church makes a definite difference in National Affairs because he believes that Prayer changes things. The two Purposes (“a quiet and peaceable life”) describes the kind of life that will be possible because of Prayer. In this passage are indicated by the conjunction “that” (hina) and “for” (gar). The verb “may lead” (diagómen) refers to the daily lifestyle:

1.4.1 Quiet

Quiet refers to circumstances around us, free from outward disturbance. The adjective “quiet” (êremon), found only here, denote the outward political and social situation. The word connotes the absence of internal or international war, the cessation of internal anarchy, and freedom from persecution.

1.4.2 Peaceable

Peaceable refers to “tranquillity arising from within.” This is especially significant since that was the time of terrible persecution by the Roman Emperor such as Nero. The term “peaceable” (hêsuchion) emphasises that Christians will not need to protest verbally any mistreatment. The same word is used of:

  • Godly women who are to learn in “silence” within the church.
  • Women who have a “quiet” spirit in the home (1Timothy 2:11,12; 1Peter 3:4). 
  • Christians should work at their secular jobs with such “quietness” (2Thessalonians 3:12).
  • The aroused Jewish multitude kept “silence” (Acts 22:2; same word) when the accused Paul began to speak in Hebrew.

This “peaceable” reduces outward pressures and prevent internal distress, which often issues in outbursts of complaint and protest. This type of social environment is conducive to the development of National and Spiritual life. Both “quiet and peaceable” thus describe conditions free from outward harassment and inner fears. “Godliness and Honesty” are the two attributes that denote the character that can best be developed in an atmosphere of external (“quiet”) and internal (“peaceable”) calm:

  • Godliness (eusebeiai) refers to the Godward Character of Reverent and Respectful, dominated by “the Fear of the LORD.” There is no difference between the Sacred and the Secular for the committed Christian. He seeks to glorify God in all aspects of life (1Corinthians 10:31).
  • Honesty (semnotêti) describes the Person Relationship to men, which is honourable, serious, and grave. The word indicates grace and dignity, it denotes an attitude of moral earnestness which is reflected in a dignified and worthy conduct toward men to command their respect.

The concept goes beyond mere honesty, the integrity of person’s actions, to the general character of the person himself. It has special relevance to interpersonal relationships as seen in:

  • Deacons (1Timothy 3:8).
  • Wives of Deacons (1Timothy 3:11).
  • Aged men (Titus 2:2).
  • The Elder (1Timothy 3:4) must manifest such spiritual gravity and decorum.

It is the Latin “gravitas,” and in the 17th century “honesty” meant something like this. It was “seemliness” or “decorum” in behaviour. A Christian bearing and conduct are contained in this word. A person who is “semnos” (and this is the Greek adjective) manifest a proper reserve on all occasions but a reserve which contains the elements of strength and decision. He enjoys good fellowship without playing the fool. He shuns extremes, extravagance, insincerity in manners and conversation.

The benefit of Prayer is a key to such behaviour of “the Fear of the LORD” and honest relationship with fellowmen. The Christian who obeys sincerely the behest to Pray for “those in positions of authority,” will exercise his vote with reason and regard to all, without the loud words and brash utterance which form the climate of violence, and with sympathy for harassed public men. The word “all” is best constructed with both nouns and indicates that both features (“Godliness and Honesty”) are to be fully demonstrated in the Believer. If Believers were always exemplifying such character, the Salvation of Souls would be greatly furthered.

1.5 The Basis of the Prayer Ministry

1Timothy 2:3(KJV) “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Saviour.”

In 1Timothy 2:3-4, Apostle Paul indicates why each Local Church should pray “for all men and for kings and for all those in authority.”  The demonstrative pronoun “this” (touto) points back to the command and the content of the preceding two verses. Such Prayer has two Divinely Approved Qualities:

1.5.1 For this is Good

Taken alone, these words mark the intrinsic excellence of such Praying The word “good” (kalon) is defined as: “It is excellent in its nature and characteristics and is well adapted to its ends” (D. Edmon Hiebert – First Timothy).

  • Van Oosterzee comments: “Every such prayer is good in and for itself; it shows the true Christian spirit which marks the professor of the gospel; it yields us the enjoyment of that privilege named in verse 2” (Van Oosterzee, pg.24).
  • The Berkeley Version suggestively renders this passage: “Such praying is wholesome.” (Gerrit Verkuyla, ed., “The Modern Language Bible, The New Berkeley Version,” Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1946, 4:217).

Prayer of itself is a goodly practice and brings with it many good benefits. The adjective is a key word in the Epistle and is used 18 times (1Timothy 1:8,18; 2:3; 3:1,2,7,13; 4:4,6{twice}; 5:4,10,25; 6:12{twice},13,18,19).

1.5.2 Acceptable in the sight of God

The teaching here reaches much higher than the merely pragmatic. Such Praying is acceptable (epodekton), a word used only twice in the New Testament (1Timothy 2:3; 5:4), before God because it is in accord with His Will for all Mankind. This alone should be sufficient for the Church to be engaged in the four types of Prayer Ministry.

  • Prayer is also pleasing to the Lord Jesus. It pleases the Father when His children Pray as He has commanded them.
  • The Prayer of the Pharisees seeks the praises by men (Matthew 6:5) or to impress other Worshippers (Luke 18:9-14).
  • Christians Pray to please God. This suggests that we must Pray according to God’s Will, because it certainly does not, please the Father when we Pray selfishly (James 4:1-10; 1John 5:14-15).
  • It is often said that the Purpose of Prayer is not to get man’s will done in Heaven, but to get God’s Will done on earth. 

The adjective is based upon the verb (epodechomai) that stresses the idea of warm, joyful reception (Luke 8:40; Acts 2:41; 15:4; 18:27; 24:3; 28:30). Prayer thus is acceptable to God and will be answered by Him. Calvin remarks: “The only genuine rule for right and proper action is to look to God’s good pleasure and to undertake only what He approves.”  Prayer for all men and the Leaderships (Spiritual and Secular) is Good and Acceptable “in the sight of God our Saviour” (enópion tou sótéros hémon theou). There is only one God, and only He can save. Later Paul used this same descriptive phrase in promoting the financial support of widows by Members of her family (1Timothy 5:4). 

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 2)

1.2.4 Thankgivings

The term “Giving of thanks” indicates the attitude in which our Prayers are to be offered. It is an Attitude of Gratitude to God for all the Blessings that have already been given and received.

  • The term “Giving of thanks” means “to say something good (eu) to the one who has bestowed gracious gifts (charis) upon us.” Prayer and the “Giving of Thanks” (eucharistias) are inseparable (Daniel 6:10; Philippians 4:6). Paul counselled: “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1Thessalonians 5:17-18):
  • The plural noun, “Thanksgiving,” denotes that Apostle Paul has in view not merely the inner attitude of gratitude but the repeated public expressions of Thanksgiving to God for His Blessings.
  • Thanksgiving is the complement (harmonise) of all true Prayer. Thanksgiving prepares the heart to appreciate God for His gracious Blessings. Thanksgiving prevents selfishness and coldness in Prayer – Psalm 100:4 “Enter into His gate with thanksgiving, and into His Courts with Praise, be thankful to Him, and bless His Name. for the LORD is good; His Mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.”
  • We must be thankful to God for His Blessings upon us in our past, present, and future. We must thank God for His Answers to Prayers even before those answers are received.
  • In fact, sometimes we need to imitate David and present to God only Thanksgiving with no petition at all (Psalm 103).  A mark of Ecclesiastical Apostasy in the End-of-the-Age will be “an unthankful and murmuring attitude” (2Timothy 3:2; Jude 15-16). 
  • Prayer and Supplication with thanksgiving are a part of Paul’s formula for God’s Peace in our hearts” (Philippians 4:6). It is worth noting that Daniel, the Great Prayer Warrior, practiced this kind of Praying (Daniel 6:10-11).

1.3 The Scope of the Prayer Ministry

1Timothy 2:1d-2a “Be made for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority.” The Scope of the Praying being exhorted upon the Church is all inclusive. The people who are the object Prayers are indicated by the preposition “for” (huper). Although the word “for” occurs three times in the English translation, it appears only twice in the Greek text. “All men, for Kings and for all that are in Authority” should be the Recipients of all Four types of Prayer. The verb “be made” (poieisthai) shows that such Prayer should be a constant priority within the Church. It should be exercised at each Service, not just on National Holiday.

1.3.1 For All Men

(pantón anthrópón) make it clear that no Person on earth is outside the influence of believing Prayer. This exhortation transcends the ordinary scope of the Prayers heard in Churches today! Seldom do the Prayers of the Local Church reach beyond its Local Fellowship or Denomination. One writer state: “Very seldom, in large churches or in small churches, or even in spiritual churches, have I heard a prayer for all men. Those who pray scarcely reach further than their own churches. Some pray a little for the Missionaries overseas; but if we could cover all men through our prayers, what might not happen” (“Prayer That is Good in God’s Sight,” “The Prophetic Word,” November 1949, pg.614).

  • The First Group of Recipients (“all men”) is very general. The classification “all men” includes the Christians and non-Christians, men, women, and children. No racial, political, economic, or social class is excluded. The word envelops men of all Levels of Society.
  • This means that we should Pray for the unsaved and the saved, for people near us and people far away, for enemies as well as friends.
  • We cannot Pray for everybody in the world by name, but we certainly ought to Pray for those we know and know about.
  • This exhortation to Pray for all men is God’s way of safeguarding His Church against self-centredness. Believers are always prone to be so preoccupied with their own interests that their Prayers tend to be confined to their own concern.
  • The Church that Prays for all men is thus continually reminded of its Commission to bring the Message of Salvation to all men. Many people and Nations have not been reached because God’s people failed to pray!
  • Lenski remarks on Prayer for all men: “If such praying were useless, the apostle would not write what he here does write” (R. C. H. Lenski, “The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and the Philemon,” Columbus, Ohio: Lutheran Book Concern, 1937, pg.549).
  • Unfortunately, the Pharisees did not have this universal outlook in their Prayers, for they centred their attention primarily on self – Luke 18:11-12 “The Pharisees stood and prayed thus with himself, God I thank Thee that I am not as other men are extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax-collector. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess.”

1.3.2 – Leaders

Paul exhorts the Church to especially pray for “Kings, and for all that are in Authority.” Because people live in National Groupings, the Church must also Pray for Rulers of the Nations. 

  • Godless Emperor Nero was on the throne at that time, and yet Christians were encouraged by Paul to pray for him. If Paul commands Christians to pray for such a “King,” surely no man is to be regarded as beyond the realm in which Christian Intercessors must feel a sympathy and concern.
  • We must learn to respect the people in authority, respecting even the offices they hold, because they profoundly influenced the life of the people of the Nation, State or Church.
  • Christians should first recognise that God has ordained the Human Institution of Government to administer Law within the Society (Romans 13:1-6).
  • Jesus teaches that there is no innate (inborn) conflict between God and the State (Matthew 22:15-22).
  • Problems of conscience and obedience develop when the State moves into an area not assigned to it by God (Acts 4:19; 5:29).
  • In allegiance to the Sovereign Authority of God over the Delegated Authority of the Government, Home and Church, Christians should render honour and support to their Leaders (Romans 13:7).
  • Peter tersely commanded: “Honour all men, love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King” (1Peter 2:17).
  • Christians also acknowledge that God is in absolute control of the affairs of the Nations. God removes and replaces Rulers (Daniel 2:21). They perform His (God’s) Pleasure (Isaiah 44:28). Within His (God’s) Permissive Will such Nations and Rulers are morally responsible for wars and assassinations.
  • God, however, works in and through the actions of men whether those deeds are good or evil, to accomplish His ultimate will (Ephesians 1:11). Christians confess that all Governments will eventually surrender their Delegated Authority to the Lord Jesus Christ at His Return to the earth to establish His Eternal Kingdom (Revelation 11:15; 19:11-16).
  • For this reason, Paul exhorts that Prayer should be offered for those in Secular and Spiritual Authority, which has two subcategories: “For Kings, and all that are in Authority.” The first word, “Kings,” refers to National Leaders. For each Kingdom, there is a King or President. The second phase: “for all that are in authority” applies to Leaders in general. Few Christians have direct relationships with the Kings, but all Christians will have relationships with Leaders whether at Personal or Local Level. Regardless, Christians have the responsibility to Pray for those who presently “are” (ontón) in Leadership.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 1)

The Text

1Timothy 2:1-4 “I exhort, therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercession, 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, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

The Charge

concerning Public Worship. “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1Corinthians 14:40) is a basic principle for the conduct of the ministry of the Church. In Acts 6:4 the early Apostles gave themselves to Ministry of God’s Word and Prayer. Prayer was very prominent and should be used properly in the Church. The First Section of the Epistle deals with Paul’s personal charge (command) to Timothy about the Legalists. In the second major portion of the First Epistle to Timothy, Paul gives instructions about the Public Life of the Local Church. These instructions cover 5 areas:

  1. The Place of Prayer in the Assembly (1Timothy 2:1-7).
  2. The Relationship between women to men (1Timothy 2:8-15).
  3. The Qualifications of Elders (1Timothy 3:1-7).
  4. The Qualifications for Deacons (1Timothy 3:8-13).
  5. The Nature of the Local Church (1Timothy 3:14-16).

1.1 The Priority of Prayer

1Timothy 2:1 “I exhort, therefore, that first of all,” background – These words were written after Nero’s first insane persecution of the Church. Every year saw the young Emperor slip more deeply into persecution of Christians at Rome were not only ones who lived in fear. The Aristocracy and Senate of Rome were to be decimated. The grim events of A.D.69 were discernible afar. In that dark year four rivals contended for the throne, and Rome tottered on the edge of anarchy. This was the background of Paul’s direction to all men to pray for those in power, “so that our common life may be lived in peace and quiet with a proper sense of God and our responsibility to Him.”  The phrase “first of all” (próton pantrón) relate not to primacy of time but primacy of important It indicates that Prayer is the most important in the Public Worship of the Church. It also introduces the first subject of many to be discussed:

  • Donald Guthrie, however, claims that it denoted “Primacy of Importance.”
  • Warren W. Wiersbe thinks Prayer is the “most important (element) in the Public Worship of the Church.” 

It is sad to see how prayer has lost its importance in many Churches. “If I announce a banquet,” a Pastor said, “people will come out of the woodwork to attend. But if I announce a prayer meeting, I am lucky if the ushers show up!” Not only have the special meetings for Prayer lost stature in most Local Churches, but even Prayer in the public services is greatly minimised. It is also said: “Many Pastors spend more time on the announcements than they do in prayer.”

  • The late Peter Deyneka, Sr., Founder of the Slavic Gospel Association often said: “Much prayer, much power! No prayer, no power!” Prayer was as much a part of the Apostolic Ministry as Preaching of God’s Word (Acts 6:4). Yet many Pastors spend hours preparing their Sermons, but never prepare the public Prayer for their Congregation. Consequently, their Prayer Meetings are routine, humdrum, and repetitious. 
  • Members also need to be prepared to pray. Our hearts must be right with God and with each other. We must really want to pray, and not pray simply to please people (as did the Pharisees – Matthew 6:5), or to fulfil a religious duty. When the Local Church ceases to depend on Prayer, God ceases to bless its ministry.
  • Exhort – The Greek word translated “exhort” (parakaló) is the same term rendered “beseech” (Romans 12:1) and carries the meaning of “to beg, to entreat, to urge.” The term basically denotes the concept of calling someone alongside for the purpose of urging him to consider an important matter. Apostle Paul’s exhortation is not expressed as a command but an appeal because the Ministry of Prayer cannot be forced by an outward command but must be prompted by an inner conviction of its importance and need. It is this inner conviction of its importance that Apostle Paul seeks to communicate.

The Churches in general agreed on the importance of the Ministry of Prayer but failed to demonstrate in their Practices. In many Churches, Prayer has ceased to be a vital part of their Ministry and Public Worship. This has resulted in the loss of vitality in the Church and the loss of God’s Power to enlarge His (God’s) Kingdom.

1.2 The Variety of Prayer

1Timthy 2:1a “Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks.” There are at least 7 different Greek nouns for “Prayer,” and four of them are used here. The four types of Prayer mentioned here may be progressive as well as comprehensive, indicating the “supplication” of the person in need, the general outgoing Prayer to God alone, confident boldness of access to God’s Presence (Hebrews 4:15-16), intercession (Hebrews 7:25), to make known the Person’ requests, accompanied by thanksgiving for mercies enjoyed and Prayers answered.

Prayer needs direction and instruction. In this passage, Paul outlined the content of Corporate Prayer by Christians. Jesus taught that Prayer involves relationship, reverence, submission, dependence, forgiveness, and trust (Luke 11:1-4). These attitudes must be manifested through the four types of Prayer listed in 1Timothy 2:1-7.

1.2.1 Supplication –

The word “supplication” (deèseis) means an earnest request and implies a sense of indigence (“poor”), helplessness and need. It is a Prayer arising out of a sense of human inadequacy to meet the demand of life. Such a conscious sense of need, either our own or another is essential to all effective Prayer. Without such a sense of need our Prayers lack depth and sincerity, thus, our Prayers often the mere uttering of words that have lost their meaning and value for us

Supplication carries the idea of “offering a request for a felt-need.” The focus of “Supplication” is upon the needs of others and self. The word “Supplication” stresses the idea of intense entreaty, even to the point of begging. Its urgency can be seen by its use in the request of:

  • The Leper (Luke 5:12).
  • The Demoniac (Luke 8:28,38).
  • The father of the possessed child (Luke 9:38,40).
  • The distressed Simon (Acts 4:31), Cornelius (Acts 10:2), Paul (Romans 1:10), Zacharias (Luke 1:13), Anna (Luke 2:37), the Disciples of John the Baptist (Luke 5:33).

James exhorts “the effectual fervent prayer (same word) of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Such Supplications are heard and answered by God (1Peter 3:12).

1.2.2 Prayers –

This is the general term used to include all the different Kinds of Prayer. Supplications (deèseis) can be directed to both God and man, but “prayers” (proseuchas) are addressed only to God, and it is the Reverent term. Prayers could also be translated “humble entreaties.” It is one of the most universal word in the New Testament for Prayers, can only be used of a request made to God and includes Worship, Adoration, and Reverence, and is all-inclusive. Prayer is not just an expression of our wants and needs. There should be Reverence in our hearts as we Pray to God.

1.2.3 Intercession

The term translated as “Intercessions” (enteuxeis) occurs only twice in the New Testament, both times in this Epistle (1Timothy 2:1; 4:5 – translated as “Prayer”). It is based on the verb entugchanó, which is found five times (Acts 25:24; Romans 8:27, 34; 11:2; Hebrews 7:25). The verb means “to fall in with a person, to draw close to him so as to enter into familiar speech and communion with him” (Robert C.Trench. “Synonyms of the New Testament,” p.190).

  • Prayer carries the thought of Reverence; Intercession carries the thought of child-like Confidence in Prayer. Intercession comes from a Greek verb meaning “to fall in with, meeting within order to converse freely, like son to the father.”
  • Trench says the term “Intercession” suggests “Free familiar Prayer, such as boldly draws near to God” (Richard Chenevix Trench, “Synonyms of the New Testament,” Grand Rapids: Eerchmans, 1947, pg.190). This leading thought in the term is that of Boldness of Access, or Confidence in Prayer – 1John 5:14 (NIV) “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
  • Hendriksen suggests that Intercession is “pleading in the interest of others and doing this without ‘holding back’ in any way.” (William Hendriksen, “Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles,” New Testament Commentary, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1957, pg.93).
  • The word “Intercessions” also suggest that we enjoy Fellowship with God in boldness and confidence – Hebrews 10:19 (NIV) “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood Jesus.” The notion of conversation grew out of this, and then an interview with someone in authority. Here the description of Prayer is that of free access to God with childlike confidence. This could be on behalf of others or self.
  • Jewish Leaders, both at Jerusalem and at Caesarea, “dealt” (enetuchon) with the Romans Governor Festus for the execution of Paul (Acts 25:24). Contemporary parallel is the activity of Political Lobbyists. Our Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven (Romans 8:34; Heb.7:25) and the Holy Spirit within the Christian (Romans 8:27) make Intercession for the Christians. Both our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit share an Interpersonal Oneness and Familiarity with the Father. In enteuxeis, a Christian gets close to God before he makes his request. It is an “approach to God in free and familiar prayer” (Kenneth S Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament Vol.12, The Pastoral Epistles, p.39).
  • Jesus prayed for Himself before He prayed for others (John 17). It is not wrong for a Christian to Pray for himself or to Pray for himself as he Intercedes for others. There is a valid factor of self-interest in Prayer that should not be criticised.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

The Importance of Amen (Part 3)

1.2.6 Curses Six through Nine (Chastening)

Deuteronomy 27:20-23 (KJV) “Cursed be he who lieth with his father’s wife, because he uncovereth his father’s skirt. And the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he who lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he who lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he who lieth with his mother-in-law. And all the people shall say, Amen.”  Have to do with sexual purity and relate to the Seventh Commandment (Exodus 20:14). These sins were prevalent among the Nations in Canaan and Israel was not to imitate their Neighbours. Incest (Deuteronomy 27:20, 22-23) was especially condemned in Israel (Deuteronomy 22:30; Leviticus 18:8-9, 17; 20:11). Reuben lost his rights as the First-born because he violated this Law (Genesis 35:22; 49:3-4; 1Chronicles 5:1). Bestiality (Deuteronomy 27:21; Leviticus 18:23) was practiced in some pagan religions and “sacred animals” were used in the worship of their false gods. The perversion of sex is not only the abuse of God’s gift, but it threatens marriage and the family, which are foundational to the success of the Nation of Israel.

1.2.7 The Tenth and Eleventh Curses (Chastening)

Deuteronomy 27:24-25 (KJV) “Cursed be he who smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen.” Cursed be he who taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen.” The tenth and eleventh Curses are an echo of the Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13). This command speaks of a deliberate deed (murder) and not accentual death (manslaughter, Deuteronomy 21:12-14). Murder is the ultimate crime because its consequences cannot be reversed, but to murder one’s neighbour makes that crime even worse. The only thing more heinous would be to be paid to murder somebody. The Law of Moses condemned those who accepted bribes to break the Law, for making money is not more important than maintaining justice (Deuteronomy 16:19; Exodus 23:8). The Law taught the people of Israel to love their neighbours and do them good (Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 22:1-4). But whether a neighbour or a total Stranger is the victim, murder is wrong, and Murderers must be punished.

1.2.8 The Twelfth Curse( (Chastening)

Deuteronomy 27:26 (KJV) “Cursed is he who confirmeth not all the words of this Law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” The twelfth curse (chastening) obligated Israel to obey every Law that God gave them, whether it was named in this list or not. Apostle Paul quoted Deuteronomy 27:26 in Galatians 3:10 to prove that there could be no Salvation by obeying the Law since nobody could obey everything God commanded. But the purpose of the Law was not Salvation but Judgement, the indictment of all people as Sinners, and therefore the need of all people to trust Christ, “for the just shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11). There can be no true conversion without conviction and conviction comes when we see God’s Holiness in His Law and the sinfulness of our own hearts. To say that we have kept some of God’s Law does not excuse us, for to break one is to break them all (James 2:10-11).

When the Israelites in the Promised Land said their “Amen” to these twelve curses (chastening), they would be assenting to God’s Law (Mosaic Covenant), promising to obey it, and agreeing that they deserved judgement if they disobeyed it. This would be a solemn hour in the history of the Nation of Israel. At Mount Sinai, Israel had agreed to obey God’s Law (Exodus 19:7-8; 24:3-8), and not long after, they made a golden calf and worshipped it. It takes more than pious words and good intentions to be a devoted and obedient child of God (Matthew 7:21-23).

1.3 Amen in the New Testament

24 Books out of 27 Books in the New Testament ends with “Amen” (except: the Book of Acts, Book of James, and 3rd John):

  • The significance of the word “Amen” at the conclusion of each Book of the New Testament is the Statement of Affirmation of the Truth.
  • The absence of the “Amen” at the conclusion of a Book in the New Testament does not neutralize the Truth that is recorded in that Book (Acts, James and 3rd John).
  • Jesus, “The Amen” – Revelation 3:14 (NKJV) “And to the Angel of the Church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things say the Amen (Christ), the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the Creation of God.’”
  • Divine Promise, affirmed by “Yes” & “Amen” – 2Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV) “For all the Promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”

1.4 Jesus and the “Amen”

In the New Testament, the word “Amen” occurs 150 times. “Amen” is the original Greek word, which has been translated as “Verily” or “Truly.” Jesus uses “Amen” (or “Verily or Truly”) 101 times. When Jesus uses “Amen” (or “Verily or Truly”), He is issuing the Divine affirmation of the Truth of His (Jesus’) Word. Jesus is the Word Incarnated – John 1:1 (KJV) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” By declaring “Amen, Amen” (“Verily, Verily or Truly, Truly”), Jesus affirms the Divinity, Authority and the Mightiness of God’s Word, because Jesus is both the Word (John 1:1) and the “Amen” – Revelation 3:14 (NKJV) “And to the Angel of the Church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things say the Amen (Christ), the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the Creation of God.’”

1.5 Jesus, “The Amen”

Jesus presents Himself as “The Amen” (Revelation 3:14) which is an Old Testament Title for God – Isaiah 65:16, the word “Truth” is the Hebrews word of “Amen” – Isaiah 65:16a (KJV) “That He who blesseth Himself in the earth shall bless Himself in the God of Truth (“Amen”), and He that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of Truth (“Amen”).”  Jesus is the “Truth” (John 14:6) and He speaks the Truth, because He is “the Faithful and True Witness” (Revelation 3:14) – John 14:6 (KJV) “Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”

1.6 “Amen”, the Divine Promise

Because Jesus is “The Amen” (Revelation 3:14), in Him we have the affirmation of the Trustworthiness of ALL of God’s Promises – 2Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV) “For all the Promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” All of God’s Promises are channelled through the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ who is called “The Amen” (Revelation 3:14):

  • Jesus is the embodiment of God’s Word.
  • Jesus is the affirmation of God’s Will and Purpose on Earth.
  • Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).
  • Jesus is “the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). All the Godhead has to say, the Word (Jesus – John 1:1; Revelation 19:13) has been made evident through Him.

Thus, ALL the Promises of the Bible – whether in the Old or New Testament – are affirmed in Jesus. Jesus, God’s Word became “Flesh” (John 1:14a) and dwelt (tabernacled) among us (John 1:14b) in order that ALL His Promises might be realised among us. If the Individual/Church holds forth His Word, Jesus will honour it with an “Amen” – Mark 16:20 (KJV) “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”

1.7 Summary

The Individual/Church should not treat “Amen” passively as the conclusion of the Prayer during the Worship Service because ALL God’s Promises are invested with an “Amen” in Christ Himself (2Corinthians 1:20). Furthermore, Jesus, Himself is“The Amen” (Revelation 3:14).  Thus, whenever an Individual/Church takes hold of the “Amen” and stands on that understanding in its Promise, the Individual/Church makes room for the Holy Spirit to move and actuate (activate) God’s Will and Purpose. “Amen” is the establishing of the Living Word (Christ) of God in the arena of human experience. In declaring “Amen” the Individual/Church invites God’s Rule and Power into his situation/circumstance because Jesus is not only “The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness” (Revelation3:14) but He is also “The Ruler of God’s Creation” (Revelation 3:14c). Amen, Amen!!

Prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) (Part 2)

The Prayer of Jabez

2. What He Prays

1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” Jabez is explicit in his Prayer’s Request in Four Distinctive Petitions: 

First,   for God’s Blessing1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed.” Jabez considers the Blessing from God of Israel of primary important and makes it his first request. He knows that without God’s Blessing all other things are of but little value or important. Do we? Jabez understands that all true blessings come from God. He knows that God has blessed the Nation of Israel. Jabez desires the personal blessing from God – “bless me indeed” carries an intensive force in the original, means “surely or richly bless.”  It is the language of fervent and affectionate desire. He is not content with a just feeling of general well-being but wants to experience the Divine (God’s) Blessing in a definite, personal way. If God’s Blessing is to be bestowed, it must be appropriated and experienced.

Second, for God’s Enlargement1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying…..and enlarge my territory.” – The enlargement of territory involves two aspects:

  • Enlarge his (Jabez’s) area of influence and blessing, thus becoming a blessing to others; William E. Blackstone was a man in the prime of his life, exclaimed: “Oh that God would give me a million dollars! I would use every penny for the evangelization of the world!” God knew that by training and experience that he was competent to administer such large sum of money. God also knew that Blackstone could be entrusted with such wealth. God, therefore, providentially placed in the hand of William E. Blackstone five million dollars for the evangelization purposes. He was faithful as a Trustee of this sum of money, and great multitude of souls came to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. William prayed, as did Jabez and God “enlarged his border.”
  • Jabez is praying for enlargement of the coast (border – Land) – to wrest more of the Promised Land from the Canaanites. God had promised the Land of Canaan to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 15:18-21). God renewed that promise to the Nation of Israel through Joshua just before they crossed the River Jordan (Joshua 1:2-4). Israel had entered the Land but had conquered only part of it (Joshua 13:1, 2, 13; etc). God reminded Joshua shortly before his death that “there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed” (Joshua 13:1). Thus, Jabez is asking God to give him more of that which God had promised to His people, Israel. It takes faith to believe God for the Land that is still in the hands of the Canaanites, etc., Jabez, in faith, makes the request for the Land which God had promised to His people.  

Third, for God’s Enablement1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying……..that Your hand would be with me.” – The Hand of God means the Guiding Presence and Empowerment of God. Jabez acknowledges the need for the guiding Hand of God in his undertaking of enlarging the territory (influence and land). He knows that God must lead him; but he also understands his need for the Manifestation of God’s Power and Presence in his behalf. Jabez confession is the recognition of his own limitation and ability. When he looks at himself and the situation he is in, he feels a sense of helplessness in achieving his goal.  Mother Teresa was laughed at because she wanted to build an orphanage and had but three shilling to begin with. She told her critics: “With three shillings Teresa can do nothing; but with God and three shilling there is nothing that Teresa cannot do.”

An Individual who recognizes his own inability to complete the task in his own strength and has learned to cast himself unreservedly upon God Himself to enable him to complete the task, would not be disappointed. The secret of the empowered life is to be found in continued “abiding” in Christ – “He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same shall bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Fourth, for God’s Preservation1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying……..and that You would keep (preserve) me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” – Jabez request that, in his struggle to attain the enlarged purposes of God in him; God would so work on his behalf that “evil,” or “harm,” would be kept away. Jabez desires the inauspicious implications of his name (Jabez = pains) might not be repeated in his own experiences – “that it may not grieve (pain) me.”  He has but to recall his mother’s feelings to be assured, she (mother) has suffered and experienced grief (pain) and sorrow. Jabez understands that left to himself he would inevitably succumb to the power of evil; he confesses a need for God’s Preserving Power against Evil; it is truth understood that leads a child of God to cast himself fully upon his God for preservation from evil and for empowerment to meet the trials of life; this is Jabez’s road to victory.

Logical Order – The order of the Jabez’s Fourfold Petitions shows a logical progression; he begins his Prayer:

  • He acknowledges God’s blessing as his highest good and priority.
  • This leads to a desire for a larger share in God’s Promises which God has prepared for God His People, Israel.
  • In his (Jabez’s) efforts to attain these blessings of God, he realizes his own limitation and weakness and pleaded for God’s Guidance and Empowerment to accomplish.
  • In his struggles he comes to see himself aright and is led to throw himself unreservedly upon God’s Grace; and it is here that he finds the desired blessings and victory.

God Responses

1Chronicles 4:10b “So God granted him what he requested.”   The ultimate test of every Prayer is the answer that it receives; the answer proves the acceptableness of the Prayer, and the Prayer of Jabez passed this test:

  1. God Answers

1Chronicles 4:10b “So God granted him what he requested.” God grants to Jabez his desires; his experience reveals that Prayer out of sincere heart and according to God’s Will receives God’s Answer.

2. Exact Answer

1Chronicles 4:10b “So God granted him what he requested.” – Jabez received what he has asked for; this answer is evidence that his Prayer is in God’s Will for him (Jabez) –“We have this assurance in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him” (1John 5:14,15 NIV). The lesson is that God, who knows the heartfelt desires and motives of Jabez before he expresses them, readily granted his request. It is the Prayer in accord with God’s Will for Jabez; God’s Word recorded in 1John 3:21-22 assures us that such Prayer receives an answer from God; this Prayer of Faith encourages us to wait upon the LORD as we approach Him with our needs and requests.

Jabez’s Achievement

1Chronicles 4:9a “And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren.” Jabez does not allow the implications of his name and his background to make him feel that he is a failure; Jabez’s achievement is a challenge to all who feel that they are severely restricted by an unfortunate situation and defeated by a personal “handicap.” The secret of the success of Jabez lies in his Prayer life and his Faith in God. It is upon his (Jabez’s) Prayer that the Biblical record lays special emphasis.

Prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) (Part 1)

The Prayer of Jabez

Jabez’s Prayer interposed the Genealogies, which is revelatory – 1Chronicles 4:9-10 is called the “the Prayer of Jabez” – 1Chronicles 4:9-10 “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘because I bore him in pain.’ And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So, God granted him what he requested” (NKJV). 1Chronicles 4:9-10 reveals the birth and the journey of Jabez who has the faith to ask God for blessings:

His Name – Jabez

1Chronicles 4:9b “His mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘because I bore him in pain.’” The inauspicious name, Jabez (“he gives pain”) is given to him by his mother, because it is more than the normal birth-pain, as it also involves his “painful-period” of growing up; which he overcomes – 1Chronicles 4:9a “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.” Just what causes Jabez’s mother somber reaction is not known. Whatever the cause of her grief, her gloomy reaction in giving him this name, “Jabez,” destined the son throughout his life to be the symbol of her sorrow; but how does Jabez reverse such inauspicious position??

Jabez’s Prayer

1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’  More space is given to the Prayer of Jabez than to his achievement of outstanding honor. Jabez Prayer is one of the most comprehensive in the Bible, and shines forth like a brilliant star in the midst of a Genealogical Catalogue of Names; it is his Prayer that makes him so outstanding:

  1. To Whom He Prays

Jabez Prays to the God of Israel – 1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel.” Jabez knows that “the God of Israel” has entered into Covenant Relationship with the Nation of Israel. The LORD (Jehovah) had chosen the children of Israel as His Special People (Exodus 19:5-6) and has given them special privileges. Jabez, being a Member of the Covenantal Nation, he calls upon “the God of Israel” in full assurance of faith that he would receive an audience with his God. We too can call upon God our Father through His Son, Jesus, with full confidence because of our relationship with God our Father through the New Covenant established in Jesus Christ. In addition, the term “God of Israel” could also be understood in two ways:

  • Israel, the Man – The reference is to Jacob (Supplanter = Deceiver) who becomes Israel; Jabez knows the story of Jacob and his transformation under the mercy and grace of God. Jacob, the Supplanter becomes Israel, ruling with God (Genesis 32:24-28); thus, Jabez could pray in confident, with the expected outcome. 
  • Israel, the Nation – Jabez knows what God has done for the Nation of Israel – God has redeemed the Nation of Israel from the Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12) and provides and preserves the Nation of Israel in the Wilderness Journey; established the Nation of Israel and settled the Nation of Israel in the Promised Land; thus, Jabez is able to approach God with complete confident.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Prayer the Answer to Not Giving Up (Luke 18:1-14) (Part 2)

The Day of Crisis

Proverbs 24:10-12 “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. If thou forbear to deliver those who are drawn unto death and those who are ready to be slain.

  • Proverbs 24:10 there is a play on the word adversity (Hebrews “tsarah”) = “distressful (severe trouble, mental pain), constricting, narrowing, pressure-packed,” and small (Hebrews “tsar”) = “narrow.” Because of the “constricting” nature of adversity, our smallness (“narrow corridor”) of strength amplified the situation, thus resulting in “fainting” = Disheartened, a sense of Hopelessness.
  • Proverbs 24:11-12 set forth situations where the character of the Person is tested. The obligation to receive the Person who is being overwhelmed by situation is set forth. Any attempt to avoid the responsibilities for deliverance in such situations is unacceptable. One may not hypocritically plead ignorance. The God who knows us will “render to every man according to his works.”
  • King Solomon reminds us that the time of crisis is in reality a test of strength, an opportunity for the Person to demonstrate his mettle. Strength neutralized by pressure is weakness. For the Person who cannot show strength to cope, endure, or produce while under pressure and in difficulty is perhaps physical weakling.

Waiting on God

The Answer to Fainting is Prayer (Luke 18:1) and Waiting on the LORD (Isaiah) – Isaiah 40:28-31 “Hast thou not known? Has, thou not heard, that the Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to those who have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

  • Abraham Lincoln once confided: “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of those around me seemed insufficient for the day.
  • Good Decision – A popular story concerns a successful Executive retiring after much Fruitful Leadership. His Young Replacement nervously asked, “Sir, to what do you attribute your Success?” His quick response was “Good Decisions!” And how, sir, did you know how to make Good Decisions? That’s simple, son, by Experience.” Please, sir, where does this Experience come from? “From Bad Decisions,” was his honest reply. Leaders learn from their Mistakes.

Mind – Area of Fainting

Hebrews12:3“For consider Him (Jesus) that endured such contradiction (opposition) of Sinners (sinful men) against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

The Issue“Wearied” = Sick (James 5:15; Fainting, Revelation 2:3). Weariness is a sudden breakdown in Endurance. “Faint” = Despond, become exhausted, or slack in one’s mind:

  • A more gradual relaxation in vigilance
  • Mental Depression can lead to psychological loss of determination and even physical fatigue and sickness.
  • Discouragement is not a single moment but over a period of time, with a gradual slackening of resolve

The Meditation – The Corrective for Weariness and Fainting is an ever deepening consideration of the Humiliation and Sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ in comparison with our Own Sufferings:

  • In considering our Lord Jesus Christ we must have regard to the Infinite Glory of His Person, the depth of the humiliation to which He suffered both under the cruelty of man, and the wrath of God, and the perfection of the example of meekness, quietness and constancy with which He endured all. 
  • Meditations of our Lord’s humiliation and sufferings will strengthen our courage and support our faith and the solace of our hearts.

Peace of Mind – – In his bestseller, “Peace of Mind,” Joshua Liebman tells of his experience as a young man. He listed the supreme goods in his life and took them to a Wise Mentor. When he showed him the list, he expected to be praised for his precocity (maturity). His list included such values as love, health, riches, talent, beauty and friends. The Wise Old Mentor pondered the list, then with a twinkle in his eye, reached for a pencil. He drew a line through each item on the list and then said: “Young man, you may have all of these, but they will turn out to be your enemies instead of friends unless you have the one and most important thing you missed.” Then he wrote on the paper, “the gift of an untroubled mind.” – Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in Perfect Peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.

Summary

The Answers to Weariness and Fainting are:

  • Prayer (Luke 18:1).
  • Waiting on the LORD (Isaiah 40:31).
  • Considering the Humiliation and Sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:3).
  • Not weary and faint not in Well-doing = Rewards (Galatians 6:9).

Prayer the Answer to Not Giving Up (Luke 18:1-14) (Part 1)

Scripture

Luke 18:1“And He spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Romans 12:12 “Patient in tribulation, continuing instant (diligently) in prayer.”)

The Setting

Luke 18:1-30, we find the last events in the Public Ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded by Luke prior to the Final Journey to Jerusalem:  Luke 18:31 “Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” In Luke 18:31 is where the story of the Final Journey begins.  In this paragraph there are two Sections:

2 Parables on Prayer

  • Perseverance in Prayer (Luke 18:1-8).
  • Right Attitude in Prayer (Luke 18:9-14).

Which unquestionably took place in close connection? The First Parable was spoken to His (Jesus’) Disciples (Luke 18:1-8) and the Second Parable to the Crowd or Jewish Rulers, who trust in themselves. The two Parables moved in the same realm of thought but had two entirely different emphases.

2 Incidents

  • The Lesson of the Little Children – Luke 18:15-17
  • The Hindrance of Riches – Luke 18:18-27

Endurance

Luke 18:1“And He spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

  • The Necessity of Prayer – The First Parable opens with a very arresting statement. Our Lord Jesus Christ introduces this Parable in order to emphasize the Necessity for Prayer, and the Necessity for Prayer as a way of life for the Christian in the face of the events that surround Christ’s Second Coming (Luke 17:22-37).
  • The Revelation – The Age in which we live would be days of great difficulty. The Parable, then, is a Revelation of what is necessary for the Life of Faith, in the Age which is not conducive to faith. In such an Age, Prayer is the very essence of life to carry us through to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Prayer or Faint – Under such circumstances, our Lord Jesus Christ says, in effect, there is one alternative offered to us, Prayer or Faint. Our Lord Jesus warns of the Age and of the life of His people through that Age, is that unless we Pray, we will Faint. Thus, the Revelation on the Purpose of the Parable is revealed in the opening verse of Luke 18:1 “And He spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Romans 12:12 “Patient in tribulation, continuing instant (diligently) in prayer.”).
  • Readiness – Our Lord Jesus Christ was making an immediate application of His Prophecy on the Second Coming (Luke 17:22-37). Readiness for His Return will be conditioned by Prayer.

The Principle Enforced

  • Positively – “Men ought always to pray.” “Ought” = Renders an infinitive (dein) which expresses a moral and spiritual obligation. It is only “always prayer” that will Prevent the Fainting.
  • Negatively –“Not to faint” means “Never to lose heart.” The word “to faint” render a word (enkakein) which means “to give in to evil, to lose heart, or to play the coward:”
    • It suggests great trials.
    • It suggests a lack of spiritual health.

All of these meanings enhance Jesus’ Words about Prayer.  Men are not to do these things but are to rely upon Prayer for strength, encouragement, and bravery. That the Apostles needed such an exhortation is seen in their conduct when Jesus was arrested. But that they kept Praying and received answer is evident in their conduct following Pentecost. It was to encourage them to be perseverance in Prayer that the Lord Jesus spoke the Parable of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8). 

Discouragement

To be discouraged is to lose heart and strength. Doctors and Psychologists are convinced of the relationship between the two:

  • Discouragement can actually paralyze both our wills to do something and our strength to carry it out.
  • Discouragement saps our strength emotionally and physically.
  • Weariness – We need to be aware of the relationship between weariness and discouragement. We are especially susceptible to discouragement when we are overly tired. A person often gets discouraged when he is too tired.
  • Temptation – We need to be aware of the relationship between physical weariness and temptation. That is why it seems to be Satan’s prime strategy against those who really want to work for God.
  • Faith – Luke 18:8 “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Our Lord Jesus is concerned that Christians might Fail to Pray persistently and therefore become discouraged and lose Faith.

To be continued….. Stay tuned