1 Timothy 2:8 “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.“
The apostle Paul is writing an instructional letter to a young minister that he has embraced as his own son in the gospel named Timothy. As Paul begins writing this dissertation to this young man, Paul begins to circle a subject many modern ministers refuse to even approach. The idea of manhood has been defended, the push for men to involve themselves spiritually into their local churches have been exhausted, and even the prodding to persuade men to pray has been attempted by today’s ministry. Yet buried within this one simple passage lies one of the darkest, yet most factual representations of manhood there has ever been written.
Long before men’s conferences were established, Paul created a men’s challenge! The parameters and the qualifications of this particular challenge were simple, “I would therefore, that men would pray everywhere…” But before men across the globe rush to engage in some ritualistic prayer recital, let me pause you for a moment and bring to surface the rest of this passage. Prayer is not the challenge for men! It’s the manner in which we pray that is the challenge. You see prayer isn’t just a rambling of words and a few chants directed towards the ceiling. Prayer is a communication channel with God. And like most communication channels there must not be any disturbances to the frequency. We’ve all experienced those annoying instances when we are traveling down a country road and we lose signal! It’s not that we stopped talking, it’s just that the communication line was disrupted. And as Paul gave his commission to prayer, he lays out 2 very specific communication disruptors for men to beware of.
So men, let us pray… lifting up holy hands. This is the first requirement of prayer. Men must have holy hands! Now one may wonder how do we obtain these holy hands? I’m glad you asked! The Bible teaches us in Leviticus 4 that once the priest would make sacrifice he would dip his fingers in the blood of that sacrifice and he would sprinkle the altar seven times.This act would allow the priest to walk into the Holy place and perform the ceremonial duties of the priesthood with “holy hands”. So in order for men to pray with Holy hands, men must be willing to sacrifice! This is a hard concept for most men to grasp. It’s hard because sacrifice still requires loss. It requires us to lose our egos, and to lose our pride! It requires us to lose our self-reliance and self-sufficient attitudes. And if we want our communication channel opened with God, God still responds to sacrifice!
Now interestingly enough, Paul then begins to list the 2 primary prayer challenges.Paul said he would that men would pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
For years my immediate reaction to this passage was to assume that everyman would struggle with anger and doubt. Until I realized, every man doesn’t struggle with anger. Anger isn’t a male issue, it’s a humanity issue. I began to research as best I could into what Paul was really trying to convey to Timothy. The word Paul uses here for wrath is the Greek word org (or-gay) which literally means; desire (as a reaching forth or excitement of the mind), violent passion. Perhaps this word seems familiar? It’s because this word is where we get our English word for orgy. In fact the word itself originated from Greek culture. Now what is fascinating, is that research suggests that this “desire” is resulting in anger issues among men. Men are frustrated, edgy and short tempered because their minds have become battlefields. Paul isn’t speaking of anger per say, Paul is speaking of a battle between the ears! A violent struggle for mental purity.
Perhaps it brings clarity to a scene recorded in the gospels as 9 of 12 disciples fail in their attempts to cast a devil from a small child. As Jesus approaches Jesus rebukes them in Luke 9:41 for being faithless and perverse! Wrath and doubting! These disciples were embarrassed I’m sure by their lack of authority, but the truth is any man who wrestles with the spirit of doubt and perversion will be limited in authority. And it has been my observation over the last few years that the greatest threat to apostolic authority isn’t that men don’t pray! It’s that men are trying to pray with wrath and doubt in their hearts!
Our culture has saturated men with imagery and pornographic material (even if it isn’t advertised as such) that the media can’t even promote Doritos chips without a scantily clad woman! The enemy has created a divide among humanity in which the tactics that are now used to attract the opposite sex are actually attacking the opposite sex! For instance, the stereotypical guy who is a “ladies man” will radiate a vibe of invincibility. He will appear impenetrable and you will begin desire what you don’t know. Women aren’t attracted the same way men are, women are emotional. And women are intrigued by mystery. However men are primarily visual creatures. So what Satan has done is he has moved on men to appear more and more invincible, so that women will attempt to become more and more desirable in order to penetrate that aura of invincibility. They do this by dressing in very revealing, immodest clothing.
But God was already one step ahead of us! In the proceeding verses of 1 Timothy 2, Paul addresses women’s apparel. After he initiates the conversation with men praying, he then proceeds to write these words, “in like manner also, women adorn…” In other words we’re talking about the same thing! We all know that women who dress immodestly are an unfair temptation to men. However, the issue Paul addresses is holiness by committee! Because although women’s dress affects the men’s minds; the men’s minds are effecting the women’s dress! By men being lured by secular definitions of beauty, apostolic women are being forced to conform to the world’s standards of dress in order to capture the attention of men.
Paul is saying, “ladies, the men cannot achieve holiness with you dressed that way!” And “Men, these ladies will never obtain holiness with you thinking that way!” When women are holy, men are holy! And when men are holy, women are holy!
So how do men overcome wrath and doubting (perversion and faithlessness)? The disciples asked this question as well. Jesus, as He always does, gave an answer. “These things come only by prayer and fasting…” Fasting kills the flesh and eliminates the influence of the spirit of perversion! And prayer builds faith and eliminates the influence of the spirit of doubt!
It’s time to restore manhood! It’s time men all across the world began to pray with holy hands! This world needs men who are willing to sacrifice! And it’s time for men to pray without wrath and doubting! God help us to understand the necessity of this principle!
Like those 9 disciples there are needs out there that need our attention! But we will be just as ineffective and just as embarrassed as those 9 were that day. We need a revival of apostolic authority in this world! And the only way that can happen is for men to restore manhood!