Summary: Part 4 in a series on Prayer.
The Who, Why, And How Of Prayer (Part 4)
1. Sometimes life can seem like a shipwreck. People can make shipwreck of their own lives. Paul gave an example of some who did this at the end of chapter 1. He even gave their names.
2. Paul opens up chapter 2 by saying, “I exhort therefore that first of all…” In other words, “Based on what I just told you about people having been made shipwreck, here is what you need to do first and foremost.”
3. What was that thing that Paul was exhorting Timothy to do? Pray! Read verse 1.
4. Paul was exhorting him to pray “first of all.” This means “first and foremost; above everything else; top of the priority list.” If you look it up, it means “first in time, place, order, and importance.” Prayer was to be a first resource, not a last resort.
5. I’m afraid that most of us don’t view prayer this way. Prayer is something that happens if we can squeeze it into our busy schedules. I’m convinced that prayer is one of the most important, but most often neglected, things in the Christian life.
• It has been said, “Prayer does not fit us for the greatest work; prayer is the greatest work.”
6. Notice in verse 1 how Paul exhorts the believer to exercise a thorough prayer life.
• Supplications – petitions or requests
• Prayers – simply talking to God
• Intercessions – prayers for somebody else who is discouraged, weak, or doesn’t see the need of prayer.
• Giving of thanks – should be included in all of our prayers
7. I think most Christians want to have an effective and fruitful prayer life, but they find themselves asking questions like, “Who should I pray for?”, “Why should I pray?”, “How should I pray?”
8. Our text answers these important questions. We’ve already answered the first two, and this week we will continue to answer the question, “How should I pray?”
We are to pray with a pure heart.
1. Our previous point dealt with our outward manner of life. God wants us to pray with “holy hands.”
2. But then Paul names two things that we can do without when we are praying and talking to God.
3. The first is to pray “without wrath.”
• The word “wrath” is translated in other places in the Bible as “anger” and “vengeance.”
4. Can a person be full of wrath and cover it up to where others do not see it? Have you ever had somebody mad at you or bitter at you, and you never knew it? You finally found out, and you were shocked?
5. A person can hide anger and bitterness from others, but not from the Lord. The Bible says that man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.
• God can look right down into our innermost being and see what attitudes and thoughts are there. The Bible says to pray without wrath.
6. Wrath has to do with the believer’s attitude toward others. It speaks of bitterness towards others. Resentment is anger turned inward (it seethes and boils). It can be a response toward someone who has wronged you or an unjust situation that hurt you or a loved one.
• There are people who have never outwardly lost their temper, yet they are very angry people.
7. Wrath is said to be a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-20). Why is this? Because it reveals a lack of forgiveness and is a sin of the heart. It is the opposite of the fruit that the Holy Spirit desires to produce in a believer’s life. Galatians 5:22-23
9. Bitterness destroys! Bitterness begins as a seed, then takes root and spreads like cancer throughout our entire being. We can ultimately infect others with it. Hebrews 12:15
• Inner resentment can be very dangerous. Anger turned inward is like a time bomb waiting to explode. Illustration: Keep blowing into a balloon and eventually it is going to pop. Resentment can keep growing and growing until a person snaps.
10. If we are going to pray with a pure heart, we must pray without wrath. Deal with it immediately. Face the cross (in a figurative way) and make a decision to forgive and extend mercy and grace to others. God forgave me (for Christ’s sake). I can forgive them.
• Make a decision that you will not harbor wrath or bitterness in your heart.
We are to pray with faith.
1. There is another thing that God says we can do without when we pray, and that is doubt.