Life-Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemonby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider from 2:8-15 the normal life of the brothers and sisters in the church. After Paul charges Timothy to take the lead to have a prayerful life, he goes on to speak of this matter. In 2:8-15 Paul devotes one verse (v. 8) to the brothers and seven verses to the sisters (vv. 9-15). This indicates that if we are to have a proper church life, the sisters must bear a sevenfold burden, a sevenfold responsibility.
Concerning the brothers, Paul says in verse 8, “I will therefore that men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and reasoning.” In a local church the leading ones must have a prayer life, as they were charged in verses 1 and 2, to set an example of prayer for all the members to follow by praying always in every place. In Ephesians 6 Paul tells us to pray at every time, but here he says to pray in every place. Although it is possible for us to pray at every time, morning, afternoon, evening, and night, it may not be possible for us to pray in every place. The requirement to pray in every place is more demanding than that to pray at every time. If we can pray in every place, we can surely pray at every time. But even if we are able to pray at every time, it still may not be possible for us to pray in every place. For example, it is not possible to pray in certain worldly places. Since you cannot pray in those places, you should not go there. If you can pray in a particular place, it is permissible for you to be there. But if you cannot pray in a certain place, you should not be there. According to verse 8, the brothers must bear the unique burden to pray in every place. Pray at work, at home, and in your car. As men, we should be those who pray.
It is significant that Paul opens verse 8 with the words, “I will.” This expression is stronger than “I wish” or “I exhort.” Paul’s use of the word “therefore” indicates, as we pointed out in the previous message, that the elders, the leading ones, are to take the lead in prayer and pave the way for others to follow them to have a prayerful life. In the first message of this Life-study we covered some very important matters related to God’s dispensation. But no matter how important these matters are, they cannot be carried out without the prayer of the brothers. Knowing this, Paul said, “I will therefore that men pray in every place.”
As I am speaking about this matter of praying in every place, I am deeply burdened. I would beg you all, especially the leading ones, from now on to have another kind of life— a life of praying in every place. If you pray in every place, your living will be transformed, and the church in your locality will be transformed also. Some brothers may not be entirely satisfied with the church in their locality. The only way for the church in your locality to be satisfying to you is for you to pray at every time and in every place. Instead of discussing the situation of the church, pray for the church. The normal life of the brothers in the church is to pray in every place.
When we pray in every place, we should lift up holy hands. Hands are a symbol of our doings. Hence, holy hands signify a holy living, a living sanctified and separated unto God. Such a holy life strengthens our prayer life. When our hands are not holy, our living is not separated unto God. We then have no supporting strength to pray, no holy hands to lift up in prayer.
In prayer, we should not lift up our eyes to observe others, but lift up holy hands. If you are watchful over the elders and the saints in a critical way, your prayer life will be killed. But if you lift up holy hands, your prayer will be strengthened.
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