“Pray Lifting Up Holy Hands…”

Many of us are frustrated with our “unsuccessful” prayers. Too often we are praying self-centered, “help me” prayers without centering our attention on God and what He wants.  James 4:2c&3 speaks to this clearly, “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”  We are intimately tethered to the world and its agenda and not God’s desires.

Studying through 1 Timothy, verse 2:8 has received my focused attention, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.”  Not only is it a call to pray but identifies 3 characteristics that propel the prayer warrior effectiveness.  Today, I will deal with the first characteristic. 

The effective prayer warrior “is to lift up holy hands” as He prays. The Greek word for “holy” can be translated “hallowed, righteous…godly.” 1 Peter 1:14-16, is clear about its importance, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct;for it is written, ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”

 Uh oh!  You may say, “Rick, I am very threatened by this call to live holy.  I’m too weak.”  There is some wonderful news for you.  God the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. He facilitates “holiness” in and through you.  John 16:26 explains this, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father has sent in my name, teaches you all things and reminds you of everything I have told you.”  You may ask,How does He takes control of my life?”  John 1:9 answers your question concisely, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus’ death on the cross and shed blood enables Him to forgive your sins giving you the right to be empowered by the Holy Spirit in His fulness

Let me see if I can illustrate this. When I grew up in Marietta, GA, there was an unbelievable athlete playing baseball for the Atlanta Braves, “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron, who still owns the “nonsteroid” homerun record of all time (755).  What if my goal in life as an athlete was to hit the ball and throw the ball like him, run like and generally play ball just like Hank?  You know the end of that story…right?!  I would fail miserably and become very frustrated falling way short of the “Hammer”.  But, what if in some crazy way, Hank could get into my body with all its fulness?  People would look at me and describe that I walk like Hank, run like Hank, throw the ball like Hank, and most importantly hit homeruns like the “Hammer”.  How could I do it?  I allow him take control of me.  Hank plays ball through me. 

This is the way the Christian life works.  We invite Jesus into our life, turning the control over to Him.  The result?  My walk on this earth looks and behaves like Jesus.  The words that come out of my mouth are His words.  Jesus via God the Holy Spirit is in control of my life.  I begin to live holy like Him.

One more thought before we close.  What have your hands touched today? Did you touch the keys on your computer keyboard that gave access to a porn sight?  Did you shake a hand partnering with someone who is unethical and ungodly?  Have you touched someone inappropriately?  Did you lose your cool and pound a balled-up fist on something (hopefully not someone) in anger?  Did you use your hands to point judgmentally or condemningly? On the other hand, have you hugged or served someone who needed to be loved? Did you shake a hand or lovingly pound a hand with someone who did not expect it?  Did your hand write or key a letter that could lift someone’s spirit? Surrender your life to Him, so that Jesus is free to live fully in and through you. 

“Pray, lifting up holy hands.”

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