If men will pray (5)
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling. 1 Timothy 2.8
If men will pray God may do wondrous, reviving works in our midst, bringing revival to His people, renewal to churches, and awakening to our nation and world.
But there are conditions attached to our praying.
First, God calls men to be holy and righteous if they want their prayers to prevail with Him. James reminds us that the effective, fervent prayers of a righteous man are those which will avail much with the Lord (Jms. 5.16). Paul says we must lift up holy hands in prayer to the Lord. That is, men who hope their prayers might move God to do great things must come to Him cleansed of sin and pure in their intentions.
If we harbor sin in our hearts the Lord will not hear our prayers (Ps. 66.18; Is. 59.1, 2). These days, when many Christian men have allowed their work and its rewards to achieve the status of an idol, many others are secretly addicted to Internet pornography, and still others have only the most meager interest in actively seeking the Kingdom of God, it would seem that the place our prayers to God should begin is in confession of and repentance from sin.
Perhaps we think we have no sin from which to repent? To believe such is to deceive ourselves, and even to call God a liar (1 Jn. 2:8, 10). If we would only take the time to listen as the Spirit searches our hearts and minds (Ps. 139:23, 24), we would soon enough discover plenty lurking in our souls to disgust the Lord and, hopefully, us.
If we want our prayers to avail with the Lord, we must offer them out of lives cleansed of all known sin.
But there is a second condition for our prayers as well: Men must lift up holy hands to God in every place. This speaks to an attitude of readiness and constancy in prayer which Paul elsewhere described as praying “without ceasing” (1 Thess.5.17). The prophet Isaiah envisioned the prayers of faithful men as fulfilling the role of watchmen on the wall, who day and night supplicate the throne of heaven, giving God no rest until He pours out His blessings on His people (Is. 62.6, 7).
Here is a call, at the very least, to more consistency in prayer throughout the day, and not just once in the morning or evening, or during special gatherings for prayer. When men begin to take prayer as seriously, for example, as their three-times-daily meals, then God will begin to do what only God can do in bringing revival, renewal, and awakening to our land.
But here also is a call for men to challenge, exhort, and enlist other men, men in every place, to join in a great movement of prayer for God to pour out His grace and truth in our midst once again.
Finally, Paul seems to have envisioned men joining together for prayer. How else can we understand Paul’s admonition that they not quarrel or be angry with one another? Get enough men together in one place for very long and disagreements about many things will soon emerge. Paul wants men to be together in prayer – physically together, doubtless at appointed times, but also on the same page concerning the purpose of their uniting for prayer.
Paul calls for a singular focus in prayer, that God might do what we have previously mentioned. And he seems to want men to come together and pray together on something of a regular basis.
If holy men will cultivate the discipline of prayer so that they are more constantly and continuously engaged in communion with the Lord, and if they will enlist other men and join together in body and spirit to pray, then God may be pleased to pour out His blessings on our churches and our land.
If, that is, Christian men will pray.
T. M. Moore, Principal