Theme of the Week: Godly Masculinity
Bible Verse: “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” 1 Timothy 2:8
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-8
Body language is a fascinating thing. Studies upon studies show the effect body posture, positioning, and movement can have on both ourselves and others. We can deliver a speech without ever uttering a word. Hopefully, our bodies are communicating the same message as our words, but that may not always be the case.
Paul has a little bit to say about body language. He wants all men to pray, but there’s a specific way that he wants us to pray—hands lifted, without anger or disputing. These three things represent significant aspects that should characterize our prayers. That is an important thing to remember. Paul is talking about how we pray. It is well and good to leave anger and disputing to the side in everyday life, but Paul is specifically talking about leaving them out of our prayer life.
Why lifted hands, and holy hands at that?
There’s been plenty of discussion about the literalness of this passage. In Timothy’s day, this was probably as concrete as you could get. Paul wanted holy hands in the air when men were praying. Does this mean that’s how we pray? Maybe. Again, the effects of body language come into play. Hands in the air draw attention to our attitude. Many scholars believe that lifted hands are a sign of submission. Prayer should be an act of submission like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
This feels a bit contradictory. Read the Psalms, praying with emotion is one of the things often suggested that the Psalms teach us. But in the context of Paul’s letter to Timothy, prayer and anger are related to our relationships. We do not bring our anger at others into our prayers. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5. Anyone angry with a brother or sister is subject to judgment.
This is a call to peace and reconciliation. We are praying to the God who has gone to great lengths to bring us back to Himself. If we are divided and disputing among ourselves over things that pale in comparison to what separated us from God, we make a mockery of the sacrifice of our Lord. Jesus offered himself to reconcile us. We should live in reconciliation with others.
Men pray with humility; men pray without anger and looking for reconciliation with others.
Prayer: God, I do not always know if my prayers are the right kind of prayers. So often pride, anger, jealousy and other emotions crowd my mind and spirit. Help me to come to you with the right attitude knowing that you have reconciled me to yourself through the blood of Jesus.
Reflection: Try lifting your hands when you pray—you can do it in the privacy of your own home. What does it do for your mindset? How does it impact your prayer?
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