Let It All Out
In today’s text, the author lists different kinds of prayers: petition, intersession, urgent and bold prayer, expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving. Perhaps what the writer is trying to convey is, “Take it all to God.”
Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:1-7
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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Let It All Out
This week is all about prayer and prayer is a very personal thing. I love to share that I have found encouragement, meaning, and hope in learning to pray different forms of prayer. If I could encourage you all in anything, it would be to learn about ways people have prayed throughout time and try them for yourselves. Not every kind of prayer will fit a person, but all people can find value in discovering new ways to pray.
If you’ve never written down your prayers, try that. If you often write your prayers, try coloring them. A demanding and challenging but rewarding way to pray is centering prayer. It is really helpful if you are needing to learn about how to let go of things. People who are kinesthetic learners often find value in walking a labyrinth as they pray.
Over the next week, I challenge you to learn about a new way of praying and try it out for several days. See if it changes anything for you. Discover the challenges in learning something new and name the blessings of an unexpected gift. Above all, be open to the idea that God moves in both the familiar and the unfamiliar and that God may be moving in important ways in your life.
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Nikki’s Video Script
Let It All Out
Today, we continue our look at 1 Timothy by considering 1 Timothy 2:1-7. This first letter to Timothy deals primarily with issues related to leadership and it places a focus on living in the world, but remembering that we are not of this world. Additionally, this letter is part of a group 3, for some 4, letters called the pastoral epistles. The group includes 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and sometimes Philemon and they are called pastoral epistles because they are addressed to one person and regard pastoral issues for a particular church.
In today’s passage, the focus is on prayer. The author opens by urging us to pray for every person — this includes people who ruled over them and had high positions in government. This is a significant bit of instruction because in this time in the Roman Empire people often saw their rulers as divine and so they prayed to them. The author is saying, pray for them, not to them. He statement is as much political as it is instruction on prayer.
Prayer is a funny and personal thing isn’t it? When I was in seminary, I was given the assignment to write a paper about what happens in prayer. At the time, I was spending several nights a week at the hospital with my niece who was recovering from brain surgery. Spending so many nights in a children’s hospital, you hear a lot of people talking about prayer and answered prayers and about how people ‘just need to pray more’. I found myself frustrated as I tried to do my assignment and make it fit with my own experience.
I was during this time of my life that I really began to understand that prayer was really about changing me. I’ve never really believed that God is like some Santa Clause or vending machine in the sky — but understanding how prayer worked in my own life has been a journey over time. And the best thing I know is that prayer is about relationship.
In today’s text, the author lists different kinds of prayers: petition, intersession, urgent and bold prayer, expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving. And this is not unusual for the works attributed to Paul. He puts similar lists in other writings as well. Often the church has tried to make these lists into some kind of formula for prayer. And it makes sense. Especially when we are teaching children about prayer, it is good to help them learn all of the different ways we can talk to God. However, perhaps what Paul is trying to convey is, “Take it all to God. What you pray about is less important than the act of intentionally engaging the practice of prayer itself.”
Developing a practice of talking to God about all that is happening in our lives is a good habit to form. We can name all the stuff we want, we can ask for help, we can express love and gratitude AND we can express anger, sadness, and hurt feelings. We can bargin, we can feel hopeless, we can talk through a logistical problem. It doesn’t really matter — because the important part is developing a habit of confessing our greatest needs and deepest joys to the one who created us. And then taking time to listen to God also.
Personally, one of the most helpful practices I’ve done is what is called a colloquy. The idea is to have a conversation with God and write it down. It is like you are writing a script — write a line of what you want to say to God, and then imagine how God will reply and write it down. God back and forth like this for several lines. I often find my way to help or hope or joy or peace or sometimes all of them when I have engaged this kind of practice. However — how you pray is not the point. Taking time to pray is.