Day 3

Instructions on Prayer

from the 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus reading plan

1 Timothy 2:1-15, Deuteronomy 6:4, John 10:14-18, 2 Peter 3:14-16

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-15, Deuteronomy 6:4, John 10:14-18, 2 Peter 3:14-16

Just as we’ve all been doing for the past few millennia, I skipped ahead this morning. I glanced at 1 Timothy 2 and read the last few verses and my stomach sunk. This chapter has been hotly debated by theologians far more versed than I in the original languages, in historical context, and in all kinds of study. How can I possibly add to the conversation?

To write about 1 Timothy 2 for a community of women who will all have some sort of pain or story or lens through which they read this chapter feels too daunting for me. But then my eyes catch the last words of it: “continue in faith, love, and holiness, with good sense” (v. 15). What does it mean, first, for me to honor and obey these words before I think of communicating them to others? Chiefly it means to exercise self-control and read from the beginning. My eyes moved back up the page to these words:

“First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (vv. 1-4).

“First of all, then… ”

There is an order to these words. Paul wants to communicate something to Timothy: that all people in all places need “petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings” made on their behalf, and in doing so it leads to a “tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (v. 1). It gives dignity to all people everywhere when we pray for them, thank God for them, and intercede on their behalf.

It seems to me the enemy’s best ploy is to steal our dignity, our quietness, and our peace by disordering our reading. Enticing us to lack self-control and skip passages, cherry-picking the most difficult or most beautiful to meet whatever need we have in ourselves or see in culture. But to live quietly, peacefully, and with dignity, we must read in order and, in some ways, do in order.

Before we argue about hotly debated subjects, do we first dignify one another by praying, interceding, and giving thanks for each other? Are we first people of peace by offering supplication (the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly) on behalf of their personhood, character, story, theology, and personality? Are we primarily people of quietness, trusting that it is God who changes hearts and minds and stories—not us?

There is so much division in our world today. One needs only a cursory glance at the news to know brokenness abounds. But it’s not just in culture; it’s in the Church, too—this passage is a prime example of passages that divide instead of unite. How, then, can we be people who first pray before debate, who first intercede before we interject, and who first give thanks before we theologize?

This morning, as I write, I want to stay in the first few verses of 1 Timothy chapter 2 before I move further down in the passage. I want to learn to pray with this kind of open-handedness to the God of the universe on behalf of all people everywhere.


Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

Post Comments (126)

126 thoughts on "Instructions on Prayer"

  1. Adrianne Pepitone says:

    What I gathered from the controversial passage is it says “I do not allow..”, it does not say God does not allow. It appears to me more of a personal policy that Paul is stating, most likely brought on my events happening in the church at that time.

  2. Ana Petric says:

    I think Paul wants to emphasize that who we are on the inside is more important than how we look on the outside. And he reminds us that, because we as women tend to spend alot of time trying to look good and forget what God really wants from us, to love and serve with a kind heart. In 1 Peter 1.2 we find this: Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

    13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
    When Paul says that the women was decieved he is talking about Eve, and she will be saved through childbearig because she is the mother of all, including Jesus. Jesus was born from a woman, not a man. God gave the women the privilege and honor to be the one that brings His Son into this world. And if you pay attention to the last verse you see that Paul is saying “she will be saved” refering to Eve, and then he changes to “if they continue in..” talking about all the women. There is only one way man and woman are saved and that is believing in Jesus Christ.

  3. Kennisha Griffin says:

    Awesome message! It really is so easy to start off with “First of all, then… blah blah blah blah…” on to the third paragraph lol. #guilty. Grateful for this encouragement to SLOW DOWN and really take in each word the Spirit of the Lord is saying! Thanks for this!!!

  4. Jen Nohrenberg says:

    Man, this is good. Thank you Lore. Before we do all things, like even question the end of this passage or raise our fists – we should be doing just as you (and Paul) mention. As a former hot head protestor of a lot of things – God is totally softening my heart for the predator as much as the prey. For the things I don’t understand as much as the things I understand. Idk if that all makes sense with this but in my head it does lol. Thanks for this.

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