Gleaning & Growing from a “To Do” List?
“First of all, Pray for… so that…” (from 1 Timothy 2)
What could we possibly gain spiritually from someone else’s “to do” list? Depending on the list, plenty! Paul begins his first letter to Timothy reminding him why he left him in Ephesus. He was to bring deeper health & stability to the church in Ephesus. Along with establishing elders & deacons (3:1ff) and taking care of widows (5:9ff), Timothy would need to courageously face down some erring, side-tracked teachers. There is much we can grow from by studying the “to do” list Paul gives Timothy. We can even deeply benefit from the first “to do”.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-7 - ESV)
“First of all, then…”? This assumes background, context: “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love… This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.” (1 Tim. 1:3-5, 18, 19 - ESV)
“First” on the “To Do” list: “Make Prayer”!
Make Prayers: “produce, construct”
Ø In all kind of ways
o Supplications: requests based on needs
o Prayers: regular, formal, communal, worshipful, humble praise
o Intercessions: for others. “a conference or conversation; a petition”
o Thanksgivings: (Gk.: εὐχαριστίας – eucharist-)
Ø For all kinds of people – all mankind
Ø For all kinds of leaders: “kings… all in high positions” – rulers, authorities, superiors
Ø For God-honoring lives: stable, settled, fully devout & respectful
o “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life,
o godly and dignified in every way.”
Such a Life of Making Prayer:
Is good / beautiful & acceptable to God
Is part of His gospel work
Recognizes and utilizes Christ’s mediator role
Helps in the ministry of others
Life Application from Timothy’s “to do” list… You tell me! (a hint: “Let us pray!)
Three More Versions for further Meditation & Study:
1 Timothy 2 (MSG) 2:1-3 The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.
4-7 He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.
8-10 Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it. The Message
1 Timothy 2 (NLT) 2 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For,
There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.
This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. 7 And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth.
8 In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.
9 And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. 10 For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.
New Living Translation
1 Timothy 2 (NASB) 2 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.
9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. New American Standard Bible