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Pray until you see breakthrough
1 Timothy 2:1 is a remarkable summary and a pattern of the complete prayer process from taking your needs to God to giving thanks for breakthrough.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
“First of all” speaks of priority. The context shows that the priority is to pray for our governmental leaders. There is a purpose for it – the salvation of souls. This is a matter of urgency. At times it is easy to be sluggish in prayer and active in your own energy. But when we move in the spirit of urgency prayer becomes automatic.
Paul uses four different words for prayer in verse 1, and they each have their own nuance.
Supplications, the first word for prayer – requests in many other versions – means asking with a sense of need. The consciousness of a need is uppermost. You have a need. Someone else has a need. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can pray for someone else’s need no matter where they are in the world.
It can be your heart cry but also supernatural empathy for someone else. With the help of the Holy Spirit, you can pray for the need of someone that you don’t even know! That is what makes prayer exciting! If you have a need, you are motivated. Praying over a long list of people that you hardly know can be tedious. But your prayer suddenly comes alive when the Holy Spirit shows you what they need!
The next word for prayer is translated simply as “prayers”. This is the most common word for prayer in the New Testament. The emphasis here is not need but our sense of dependency on God.
First, we are arrested by a sense of need; then we begin to seek God. But we don’t hold on to that need. Instead, we hand it over to God and begin to depend on him.
By now, faith is operating, as we know that God is not only hearing us but also leading us in this prayer.
The third word is “intercessions”. All these prayer words are in plural. This implies manifold repeated activity.
Intercession means praying on behalf of someone else. The word was used for approaching a king with a petition. It carries an idea of formality, presenting a petition in the right way, at the right time and by the right person.
We have intercessors in the legal profession. They are our legal representatives. But Jesus is our Great Intercessor. He asks us to sit back, so that he can deal with it.
An intercessor does more than prays on someone’s behalf. An intercessor is someone who represents others before God. Imagine the privilege of representing the Prime Minister on his behalf before God!
Intercession can be strong and persistent, it can be eloquent pleading, or even feel like violent intervention.
Often, it must be timely. Have you ever been woken up in the middle of the night to pray for someone, not knowing why, only to hear the reason afterwards?
Eventually, something happens. There will be a breakthrough, a release.
When we come to pray together, we can often feel a sense of resistance, but then there is a moment of breakthrough, and intercession begins to feel irrelevant. Something has taken place in the heavenly realms, and there is a lifting of that intercessory burden.
When there is a breakthrough, there is joy, praise and thanksgiving.
Supplications, prayers, intercessions until breakthrough comes and thanksgiving are a prayer cycle that can be repeated, even for the same topic.
Imagine the possibility of praying for our governmental leaders like this! What would happen? Our nation would be transformed.
Watch Colin Dye’s full teaching on Sunday 22 August at 4.50pm on KTTV or enjoy the full prayer meeting from Wednesday 18 August HERE
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