Athlete, Get the Good Life
1 Timothy 2:1-3 (NIV)
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.
A good life. What is it? How do you define it? With trophies? With position, privilege, power?
Here’s how God’s Word defines it … “a peaceful and quiet life, lived in godliness and holiness.” Sounds simple, straightforward, uncongested, uncompromised, untangled, frictionless and beautiful to me. No presence of conflict or disorder, unforgiveness or inconsideration at play.
Guilt and shame must have been eliminated. Injustice must have been dealt with and fears removed. Wounds must be healing.
Is this good life really possible? Scripture tells us to aim for it and shows us how. The apostle Paul coaches his young disciple Timothy to make this his ambition by urging him to live a life of uniquely targeted prayer.
What kind of prayer does Paul call for? The targeting of others in prayer …”for all people” to be exact … rich/poor, friend/foe, slave/free, neighbor/foreigner, lovely/unlovely, powerful/weak, righteous/unrighteous, any shade of skin or politics.
Being consumed in prayer for everyone else produces the peaceful and quiet life we all hope for. It somehow stores up godliness and holiness in us. Praying for everyone else ushers in such good. It baselines the good life.
Can you imagine a whole world preoccupied by and committed to praying for each other? What lift would come our way!
We were created for God and others. When we actively live praying upward and outward, something great happens to us. A good life really comes to us.
Jesus showed us this over and over. (Read John 17 sometime, and let it take your breath away!)
Notice a few praying details for others Paul mentioned in today’s text too: petitions, intercessions and thanksgivings. Let’s put a quick highlighter to these three words.
Petitions are specific asks we make for others (for daily bread, deliverance, healing, power, strength, encouragement, emancipation, wisdom, understanding, knowledge, faith, sight, supply and more; it’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual; it’s anything big and crucial and small and minute).
Petitions are free-range and wide-open asks.
Intercessions are prayers we offer to God on others’ behalf. We see other’s needs, burden-bear them and bring them to our Father. We pick up and carry the load. We express the weight to God that others can’t, won’t, or don’t know how to.
We all become too weak to do so ourselves from time to time. That’s where intercession steps in. We powerfully advocate for others to God, just like Jesus does (Hebrews 7:25).
Thanksgiving must always get folded into our prayers too. It keeps our hearts living grateful, our minds engaged in proper worship and our spirits upright. Bake thanksgiving into each and every prayer, even by faith. It does such good and blesses God.
So if you want the good life, live a life of prayer. For all. Prayer changes things. It may not fully change our circumstances, but it will fully change us. A quiet and peaceful life is ours with godliness and holiness too.
Reflect: Does your “good life” include prayer at its foundation? Who needs your prayer today?
How targeted are your prayers, even for the least, the lost, the hardened, the enemy?
A prayer to consider: Heavenly Father, thank You for calling us into the good life of prayer. Help me to daily experience a peaceful and quiet life, full of godliness and holiness, that is governed by prayer.
Widen the range of my prayers. Deliver me from the disease of me. I want my petitions to be ceaseless and good for others, my intercessions to be strong and faithful for them, and my thanksgivings to You to be an eternal wellspring.
Grant this by your Spirit for my good, others great benefit, and Your matchless glory, I pray. In Jesus name, Amen.