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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Focusing Outward Rather Than Inward

Prayer isn’t simply comprised of a wish list for God. It is the thoughtful and purposeful reaching out to our Father on behalf of others as well as ourselves. 

1 Timothy 2:1-6 (New Living Translation)
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.
With the pressures of our lives pressing in, the temptation to become inwardly focused is almost too much to bear at times. However, when we look outside ourselves and become aware of the significant need surrounding us on all fronts, the message of Paul's letter in 1 Timothy takes on a far deeper meaning than how to make the mortgage payment next month or what time the little ones need to arrive at soccer practice! 

Looking at the time in which that letter was written, the actions of Emperor Nero advanced persecution as a growing and very real threat for believers. Christians were burned at the stake and torn apart for sport, simply because of  their faith. Consequently, Paul urged Timothy to teach others to pray for Nero’s salvation in the added hope that it would bring about peace. And while he was at it, Paul included a universal message by commanding that Christians pray for others in the same way, asking God to intercede and bring salvation to all mankind, according to His divine will.

Mother Teresa once prayed, “May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.”  This is the manifestation of years of prayer and meditation by a woman who came to know that inward focus is worthless. If we are the hands, feet and heart of our Savior, our focus must be — like His — on the world around us.

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Sandra D. Bricker is a best-selling and award-winning author of laugh-out-loud romantic comedy for the Christian market. Her most recent book, Always the Designer Never the Bride is the third of a series of four novels in the Another Emma Rae Creation series from Abingdon Press Fiction. Check out her BLOG and sign up to receive her weekly posts by e-mail.  

Sandie leads a team of writers in creating the Living It Out daily Bible study for CedarCreek Church. Today's devotion is borrowed from her Living It Out study on prayer. If you enjoyed it, feel free to check out the daily studies by e-mail or audio podcast by clicking HERE.

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