1 Timothy 2:1-4 (The Priority of Prayer)

1Ti 2:1-2:     In contrast to the “strange doctrines” and speculations to which some in Ephesus were giving themselves, Paul now begins to set forth that to which the true disciples should give themselves.  What can we learn from this example about the most effective way to combat the negative proclamation of error?  What do his words here teach us about the priority and importance of prayer?[1]  See also 1Ti 5:5, Acts 1:14, 2:42, 6:4, 12:5, Rom 1:9-10, 12:12, Eph 6:18, Col 1:3,9, 4:2-3, 12, 1 Thess 5:17, 2 Thess 1:11.  Is prayer of first priority and importance for us?  Or is our “Sweet Hour of Prayer” more truly a “Dutiful Moment of Prayer”?  Has the world and its manifold allurements—whether work or play—a greater attraction to us than sweet communion with our Lord?  What does Paul say should accompany our entreaties, prayers and petitions?  See also Phil 4:6, Col 4:2, 1 Thess 5:17-18.  For whom does Paul say in 1Ti 2:1 we should pray and give thanks?  See also Rom 1:8, Phil 1:3-4, 2 Thess 1:3.  For whom especially does Paul say in 1Ti 2:2 we should remember to pray?  Why?  What is the significance that Nero was the emperor of Rome at the time Paul wrote this?  In what ways do even ruthless, godless, pagan governments make it possible for God’s people to live tranquil and quiet lives?  Consider the Christians in Iraq under Saddam Hussein in contrast to their plight now in the midst of anarchy.  Note: “tranquil” means peaceful, quiet and undisturbed; “quiet” refers to a peaceable, unobtrusive life free from the worries and cares of the world; are our lives tranquil and quiet?  What is “godliness”?[2]  What is the significance of its frequent and almost exclusive use here in the Pastorals and also in 2 Peter where a major theme is also dealing with false teachers?  (See 1Ti 3:16, 4:7-8,, 5:4, 6:3,5,6,11, 2 Tim 3:5, Tit 1:1, 2 Pet 1:3,6,7, 3:11).  Note: “dignity” = “holiness” (NIV), “honesty” (KJV), and refers to the seriousness of our faith as noted in the NASB text note.  The NIV translates it most frequently as “worthy of respect”, the KJV most frequently as “grave” or “gravity”; the NASB once as “honorable”.  Notice that the goal of a true Christian faith and devotion to prayer is a peaceful, quiet life marked by a godliness that reflects the solemnity of our faith; does this describe our manner of life in this present age?

1Ti 2:3-4:     For what two reasons does Paul say we should pray for all men?  With what does his reason in 1Ti 2:3 contrast?  See 1Ti 1:3-4.  Do you ever wonder what good and acceptable thing you should be doing for the Lord?  What do his words in these verses teach us about that which is first on the list of things that are good and acceptable in God’s sight?  Is it first on our list?  What does his reason in 1Ti 2:4 teach us about the Calvinist doctrine that God does not desire all men to be saved, that some are created for damnation, and that Christ died only for the elect?  See also 2 Pet 3:9.  What does it teach us about the necessary and active role God has entrusted to us for the salvation of others?  Are we as thankful for and as faithful to this trust committed to us as was the apostle Paul?  See again 1Ti 1:11-12.  What does Paul mean by “the knowledge of the truth”?  See the NASB text note (“recognition”) and confer Luke 24:14-16,30-31.  Note: the Greek word is an emphatic form of “knowledge” and refers to a real or true understanding in contrast to that which is supposed to be knowledge but in fact is not; the NASB often translates it as a real or true knowledge (see Phil 1:9, Col 2:2, 3:10, 2 Pet 1:3,8).  What is the importance of the knowledge of the truth to our salvation?  See Jn 8:32, 14:6, 17:3, 2 Thess 2:9-13, 2 Tim 2:24-25, 3:5-8.

 

Sweet Hour of Prayer

Words: William Walford, 1845; appeared in The New York Observer, September 13, 1845, accompanied by the following, written by Thomas Salmon:

During my residence at Coleshill, Warwickshire, England, I became acquainted with W. W. Walford, the blind preacher, a man of obscure birth and connections and no education, but of strong mind and most retentive memory. In the pul­pit he ne­ver failed to select a lesson well adapted to his subject, giving chapter and verse with unerring precision and scarcely ever misplacing a word in his repetition of the Psalms, every part of the New Testament, the prophecies, and some of the histories, so as to have the reputation of “knowing the whole Bible by heart.” He actually sat in the chimney corner, employing his mind in composing a sermon or two for Sabbath delivery, and his hands in cutting, shaping and polishing bones for shoe horns and other little useful implements. At intervals he attempted poetry. On one occasion, paying him a visit, he repeated two or three pieces which he had composed, and having no friend at home to commit them to paper, he had laid them up in the storehouse within. “How will this do?” asked he, as he repeated the following lines, with a complacent smile touched with some light lines of fear lest he subject himself to criticism. I rapidly copied the lines with my pencil, as he uttered them, and sent them for insertion in the Observer, if you should think them worthy of preservation.

Music: “Sweet Hour,” William B. Bradbury, Golden Chain (New York: 1861)

    1. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
      That calls me from a world of care,
      And bids me at my Father’s throne
      Make all my wants and wishes known.
      In seasons of distress and grief,
      My soul has often found relief
      And oft escaped the tempter’s snare
      By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!
    2. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
      The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
      Of those whose anxious spirits burn
      With strong desires for thy return!
      With such I hasten to the place
      Where God my Savior shows His face,
      And gladly take my station there,
      And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
    3. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
      Thy wings shall my petition bear
      To Him whose truth and faithfulness
      Engage the waiting soul to bless.
      And since He bids me seek His face,
      Believe His Word and trust His grace,
      I’ll cast on Him my every care,
      And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
    4. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
      May I thy consolation share,
      Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
      I view my home and take my flight:
      This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise
      To seize the everlasting prize;
      And shout, while passing through the air,
      “Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”

 


1. “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”

2. “Godliness” means to be devout, holy, pious, reverent; it refers to a pure attitude of the heart that fears God and sincerely desires to be like Him in all His moral attributes.

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