I am so easily distracted these days. I wonder why. And find myself zoning out or going back to lists while listening or reading, so in an effort to concentrate more precisely, and pray more surgically---is this what it looks like to pray the first chapter of First Timothy?
Dear Heavenly Father,
You instructed Paul to write this personal letter to Timothy, and You preserved it now over two thousand years. That is a miracle. And it must be for us, to be read aloud, and studied, and to be known as part of Your Living Word. Paul instructs Timothy to both read, preach, teach and instruct Scripture. So often, we neglect the reading aloud of this letter as it was intended. Or, we listen with dull ears, and are so easily distracted by our lists and pressing concerns.
Paul says in First Timothy that he was commanded by Christ Jesus to write this. As an apostle, and that Jesus Christ is our Hope and Commander, Savior, and Lord. Jesus and You, Father, are the source and Giver of Grace, Mercy, Peace, and family relationships. Paul calls Timothy: my true son in the faith. And later on in the book, Paul instructs us to treat each other like family....starting now what it will be like in heaven, because we are Your Children thanks to Jesus Christ who not only saved us, but made us positionally like Him. Saving us from hell would have been enough, but Jesus did above and beyond, and restored us as sons and daughters. This is amazing. And wonderful, as we did not earn nor deserve such treatment.
Please Father, protect us and especially our church, ACC, from false doctrines, myths, and endless genealogies. Please help us do your work by faith and avoid controversies, like the multi-level marketing controversies. Do we have a wolf in our church? G.G. ? Please open his eyes to this and protect our flock from his skemes to "provide a service" and "supplement incomes" taking time away from precious children, and from what our church is about. And Paul warns Timothy to beware those who confidently affirm things they do not know, because they do not know what they are talking about. I think we are all guilty of this. We speak confidently and dare anyone to challenge us. Certain member of my family come to mind. But, guard MY lips, and keep me from speaking confidently about things I do not know and guard my ears and my heart from those who speak confidently yet are in error.
Paul tells Timothy that the law is good if one uses it properly. Please help us do that. We so conveniently set aside so much of the law as not for our age. Please correct us in this. Please help us know how to handle, or what to say to those contrary to sound doctrine: law breakers, rebels, ungodly, sinful, the unholy, irreligious, murderers, adulterers, perverts, slave traders, liars, perjurers. Please help us conform to the glorious gospel You entrusted, Blessed God and Father.
Paul at Stephen's stoning acted in ignorance and unbelief--blind to the fact that he was once a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent man. Yet You, Lord, showed him mercy. You blinded him physically for three days to get his attention. You spoke to him personally. You asked him: why do you persecute Me? And You told him to wait for instructions. There are so many, Lord, in our world, just like Paul. Islam has enslaved them. They think or lie to themselves that they are doing what is right. But they are blasphemers, persecutors, violent, acting in ignorance and unbelief. Only You, Lord, can invade Mecca. Only You, Lord can set them free. Only You can get their attention in their blind condition and save them. Only You can rescue their women enshrouded and break these unhealthy customs. I have to believe that since you did this miracle to save Paul, who calls himself the worst sinner, that You will do whatever is takes to take those acting in ignorance and unbelief and rescue them. Turn them toward Your Light. You can turn a heart like Paul's. Was his heart hardened? Was he as far gone as the people in the Arab world? And are there any liberals raised in liberal homes that You can rescue also? Only You can rescue them from their wrong thinking. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Please get Paul's story to the ones enslaved in the dark, closed countries like China, North Korea, India, Germany--where the churches are cold and empty. Please display Christ Jesus' unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Jesus Christ and receive eternal life. Please continue to use Paul and the current day men like Paul.
Jesus is the King immortal, eternal, invisible, Paul writes, to Jesus be glory and honor forever. Amen. That amen means I believe it. Please forgive my doubt and empower me to believe it no matter what trials come. Help us, like Timothy, to fight the good fight: holding onto faith and a good conscience. We tremble to know that some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Especially an old grannie lady, like me, who was saved as a ten year old child, and who desires to end strong. Please help me persevere to the end. Please teach me not to blaspheme. Please teach me how to hold onto good conscience and faith in Jesus Christ---because I don't even know what blaspheming means in this age. Some of these terms we have conveniently quit using. What does "holding on" look like?
Thank You, Father for First Timothy. Thank You for this letter, this personal letter to each one of us. We marvel that You would share Your thoughts and desires with us. And in You is the only real sanity and peace. Please guard our troops. Please use them to remove the evil ones from Iraq and Afghanistan so that missionaries can share the Good News, that You Love them, and desire to spend eternity with them, and have a wonderful plan for living peaceful, purposeful, productive lives. Please help us each understand Your Word daily. I ask for Your Insight and Wisdom to be kind and gracious to my friends and relatives over the next few days as we celebrate James and Amber's wedding. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.