Rev. & Mrs. Kenneth Fellenbaum

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Milford, Connecticut, United States

Bible Verse of the Day

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vital Communication

The Apostle Paul wrote this to his disciple Timothy: "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people..." (1 Timothy 2:1-6). This paragraph begins by emphasizing the primacy of prayer. The first thing we should do is to pray--not when we get around to it or as a last resort. Prayer and praying should be at the top of our list of things to do.

Notice the four different words that the Apostle used to describe prayer. He did this to instruct and to expand our understanding of what prayer really is. The first word he used was "requests." When we make a request we are doing two things: communicating a need and expressing our faith that the one we ask can help. God, the Heavenly Father, knows our needs before we ask--but he awaits our asking. And he is capable of answering and desires to fill our need. Sadly, "we have not because we ask not" (James 4:2).

The second word is "prayer." What is prayer? It is communication with God. We only use the word when we are speaking to Deity. We do not pray to one another (human beings) but to God, the Creator and Sustainer of all that is. Think of it--in prayer we can bring our "requests" to the Sovereign power of the universe. Being able to speak directly to the Mayor, Governor or President would cause just about everyone to feel good about going to the top and talking to someone who can fix our problem. In prayer we can do even better as we bring our concerns to Almighty God.

The third word is "intercession." According to Barclay, this word meant "to enter into a king's presence and to submit a petition to him." This says a lot about prayer. It tells us that we have the privilege to enter the throne room and bring our petitions to the one who is King. We can do this for our needs--and we can intercede on behalf of others. As a religious leader, I am often asked to write a letter or speak to someone in authority regarding another person. And of course people ask me to pray for their problems; but every believer is a priest and can be and intercessor.

The fourth word is "thanksgiving." What does "thanksgiving" have to do with a prayer? Well, for one thing, we ought to remember to thank God for what he has done for us. Who of us likes a friend who always asks but never remembers to say "thanks." Philippians 4:6 states this, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Thank God in advance for what he will do in response to your requests.

This passage also tells us who to pray for--"everyone." Do you know of anyone who does not need prayer? In particular, we are to pray for our leaders and if we will do so we will be granted the blessings described in verse 6. It is much better to pray for our political leaders than to criticize--and more effective. When we pray, remember whose name we can and should use--"Jesus Christ." He is the one mediator between God and man. Lastly remember to check your attitude, "Lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing" (v. 8).

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