Theology Is as Practical as the Prayers on Your Lips (1 Timothy 2:4–6)

In 1 Timothy 2 Paul urges Timothy to urge prayer. In doing so Paul not only tells Timothy what to do, he shows him how. Paul wants the Ephesian church to say all kinds of prayers for all kinds of people (2:1). Paul says that such prayer pleases God (2:3), and then goes on to describe God and what he has done (2:4ff). Paul’s solution to the prayer problem was theology. This is natural, for the prayer problem was caused by bad theology. Paul tells Timothy, “First of all, then.” The “then,” relates this admonition to the “certain persons,” like “Hymenaeus and Alexander,” who were teaching “different doctrine.” Theology is as practical as the prayers in your mouth.

If you are prayerless, or if your prayers are small and selfish the wrong place to start is with disciplines regarding the time, posture, and method of prayer. The proper place to begin is disciplines regarding Bible study, Bible reading, Bible memorization, and Bible meditation. The professional interviewer who spends all of his time practicing in the mirror concerning his posture, using the right intonations and emphasis in his speech, and making sure that the time and setting of the interview are perfect, rather than studying the interviewee, will be a poor interviewer. Likewise, the Christian who spends all their time thinking about posture, time, and method will pray small, selfish prayers because all their focus is on themselves. Get to know God, and you’ll pray. You’ll know the right kind of questions to ask. You’ll grow in prayer. Your prayer life can only be as big and deep as your theology.

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