Saturday, 31 July 2021
Title: First of All, Pray
By: Amanda Foo
1 Timothy 2:1-2
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
In 1 Timothy, Paul offered practical and pastoral advice to young coworker, Timothy, who was working in the church at Ephesus. As Paul began to tell Timothy how to conduct oneself in the local church, he put prayer as the first priority. Note that Paul did not just talk about the need for prayer in general. He talked about the need for prayer as it relates to the salvation of the lost. (1 Timothy 2:3-4) God desires for all to be saved.
In today’s verse, Paul specifically mentioned prayers for those in positions of authority and the government. At the time of Paul’s letter, Nero was the emperor in power, one of Rome’s most infamous rulers, notorious for his cruelty and debauchery. Yet, Paul did not call Christians to political revolution, but to prayer.
It is easy to be filled with despair and frustration, especially as we observe the nation’s current affairs and the never-ending rise in Covid-19 cases. The pandemic has gone on far longer than we have anticipated, and many lives and livelihoods have been and have continued to be affected. But we don’t have to stand on the sidelines and wait for things to tide over. We can pray. Prayer is God’s means for removing tyrants and establishing peace. It is also a means God uses to bring things to pass in this world.
In Luke 18, Jesus talked about the parable of the persistent widow to encourage the disciples to “always pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1) If an unjust judge finally grants the widow’s request, how much more will God hear the prayers of his elect? God is present and He is always at work (John 5:17) – whether we see it or not. His good purposes will always prevail and He is our reliable source of hope.
James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” On one of his visits to Europe, Charles Spurgeon met an American pastor who said, “I have long wished to see you, Mr. Spurgeon, and to put one or two simple questions to you. In our country there are many opinions as to the secret of your great influence. Would you be good enough to give me your own point of view?” After a moment’s pause, Spurgeon said, “My people pray for me.” (In Iain, Murray, The Forgotten Spurgeon [Banner of Truth], p. 44)
During this time of crisis, as we look for opportunities to serve others and providing for the needy, let us also remember that prayer is of first importance. And certainly, we can pray for justice. More importantly, we pray for political peace so that we can live in observable godliness so that lost people will be saved.
A Prayer for Our Leaders (taken from Malaysia Gospel)
Almighty God, ruler of the nations of the earth. Give wisdom to our Yang di-Pertuan Agung, to the Prime Minister and his cabinet, and to all who hold office in this land. Grant that their decisions may be based on wise counsel, so that peace, welfare, truth and justice may prevail among us. Grant that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness, so that many Malaysians will come to a knowledge of the truth about Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for us all. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
星期六2021 年 7 月 31 日
翻譯 : 王靖端姐妹
提摩太前書 2章1-2 節 我勸你，第一要為萬人懇求、禱告、代求、祝謝；為君王和一切在位的，也該如此，使我們可以敬虔、端正、平安無事的度日。
在提摩太前書中，保羅向在以弗所教會工作的年輕同工提摩太提供了實用和靈牧的建議。當保羅開始告訴提摩太如何在當地教會中行事時，他把禱告放在首位。請注意，保羅不只是一般性地談論禱告的必要性。而他談到了祈禱的必要性，是因為它關係到失喪者的得救。 (提摩太前書 2章 3-4節 ) 上帝”願意萬人得救，明白真道。”
在路加福音 18 章，耶穌用切求的寡妇的比喻來鼓勵門徒 “常常禱告，不可灰心”。（路加福音 18章1節） 如果一個不義的法官，最終應兌了寡婦不斷的苦苦哀求，上帝還會聽不到他選民的祈禱嗎？無論我們是否看到，上帝就在身邊，衪總是在工作 “我父作事直到如今，我也作事。”（約翰福音 5章17節）——衪的美好旨意將永遠得勝，衪是我們可靠的希望之源。
雅各書 5 章 16 節說：“義人祈禱所發的力量，是大有功效的。” 查爾斯·司布真(英國浸信會的著名傳道人)有一次訪問歐洲時，遇到一位美國牧師對他說：“久仰大名，司布真先生，想請問您一兩個簡單的問題。在我們的國家，對於您的巨大影響力的秘密，有很多的說法。那您自己的觀點呢？”片刻停頓後，司布真說：“我的人民為我祈禱。” （摘於伊恩.默裡的《真正的復興》第 44 頁〈被遺忘的司布真〉）