I remember reading about a time pastor and author F. B. Meyer was sharing a room with A. B. Simpson (founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance) at a missionary conference. One morning Meyer woke up to discover Simpson weeping in prayer as he clutched a globe. Prayer turned him to God and prayer turned him to people.
Timid Timothy, on the other hand, was cowering behind the walls of the church, fearful of venturing forth. He had a small heart, a scared heart, and a selfish heart. He was focused on himself and his fears.
Paul’s remedy was prayer. Im 1 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul was effectively saying, “Timothy, turn your heart from self to God, and he will turn your heart to people. He’ll give you a big heart, a fearless heart, and a loving heart.” Let’s use 1 Timothy 2:1-2 and to make a prayerful pivot from self to God and from self to people.
PRAYER PIVOTS OUR HEARTS TO GOD
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made…”
There are small differences between these different prayer words:
- Supplications: This kind of prayer arises from a sense of need and makes specific requests for specific needs.
- Prayers: A catch-all word for prayer but with an emphasis on bringing requests to God in a worshipful spirit.
- Intercessions: Bold pleas on the behalf of others, involves advocacy and empathy.
- Thanksgivings: Prayer is not just about getting but also about giving.
He’s not saying, “Check off these different kinds of prayer,” but, “Pray lots of prayers.” Prayer is not about working through a checklist but pouring out our hearts to God.
Prayer is not a checklist, it’s a heartcheck.
What happens when we pivot to God in prayer?
PRAYER PIVOTS OUR HEARTS TO PEOPLE
“…for all people, kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
When we pour out our hearts to God, God pours our his heart in us, so that we pour out our hearts for people.
- For all people: Let there be all kinds of prayer for all kinds of people. Lots of prayer for lots of people.
- For world leaders: The church was facing increasing persecution, but Paul’s solution was not to run away from these leaders, but run to God in prayer for them.
- For world peace: Peace and quiet are the best conditions for practicing, commending, and spreading the Gospel. We’re not asking for much, just to be given the freedom and peace to live a godly and dignified life.
For this (all these prayers for all these people) is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.
When we pivot our hearts to God, God pivots our hearts towards people.
LIVING THE BIBLE
Turn your heart to God and he’ll turn your heart to people. We see that perfectly in Jesus whose heart was perfectly turned to God and therefore perfectly turned to people.
Bring your small, scared, and self-centered heart to God and he will give you his heart for people: big, courageous, and loving.