Monday, May 12, 2008

Thank God for Ability to Pray

3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
These words come to us from 2 Timothy 1.
When I first read verse 3 I thought HUH? What's Paul talking about here, and then as I went to see what the e-sword commentators would have to say about it, I realized he was talking about his family and how they raised him up in the fear of the Lord. As Barnes tells us :
Paul reckoned among his forefathers the patriarchs and the holy men of former times, as being of the same nation with himself, though it may be that he also included his more immediate ancestors, who, for anything known to the contrary, may have been distinguished examples of piety. His own parents, it is certain, took care that he should be trained up in the ways of religion...
So Paul is thankful for the upbringing that he had - he can serve God with a clear conscience. He goes all to tell Timothy that he prays for him all the time. He is thankful to God that he can pray for Timothy. that's a thought isn't it? When have you ever expressed thankfulness to God that you can pray to him? It's not something I think of regularly to do. Probably should. As Clarke says
"The apostle thanks God that he has constant remembrance of Timothy in his prayers. It is a very rare thing now in the Christian Church, that a man particularly thanks God that he is enabled to pray for Others."
Paul remembers Timothy for his tears and for his sincere faith. He longs to see him again. He wants to be filled with joy just by being with this young man.

I read those words and I can't help but think how encouraged this young pastor must have felt reading those words. I know the support and care and prayers that he had through Paul.

Makes me think.....I need to tell the young people that I pray for how much I care and love and support them as they move into the larger world of work and business and showing their faith to the larger world around them.

The benefits of being raised in a faith filled home are mentioned here. :) Paul is sure that the faith his mom and grandmother had is residing in Timothy. Just as Paul's upbringing was something he was thankful for, I get the impression is also thankful for the upbringing that Timothy had (and in someways would remind Timothy to also be thankful). Certainly reading this has made me thankful for the way my parents raised me up in the church. :)

BUT that's not enough folks. It's not enough to be raised up in the church with faith-filled parents. We have the responsibility to fan into flame the gift of God that is in us. We don't have to be afraid. God gave us a spirit of power and of love and of self-control. We need to exercise what we've been given. Don't rest on the laurels of our parents, but take some responsibility for the faith that we ourselves possess.

Thank God for it, pray for others, let them know so they can be encouraged, and fan into flame the gifts that God has given. Do this.

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