Therefore I desire that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. (1 Tim 2:8)
Imagine this: you have just stormed off in frustration from an unresolved argument with a friend. Your heart is filled with pain and anger as you kneel down and pray. You think that prayer will make the problem disappear, but you feel no peace and frustration builds the more you pray. Worse, the problem stays with you.
Praying is supposed to comfort me and help me through this. Why am I still feeling this way?
Yes, praying is good when a personal problem arises, but exactly how do you come before God? Let’s say you are chatting with your best friend in the park on a beautiful day, and you are pouring out the anger and anxiety that is in your heart. The more you talk, the angrier you get.
What can your friend say while you are in this state of mind? He or she can probably say nothing because you would be too overcome by your emotions to let him or her edge in a thought or two. This is the same with God.
We must not pray with anger, or while we are still holding a grudge. If the resentment lingers in your mind while you pray, there is no room for God to advise or comfort. We must reconcile and make friends with our enemies. Our conscience must be clear before we face God in our prayers.
It is important to remind ourselves that it is by grace that we are able to pray. Everything we have comes by His grace. God has chosen us and wants us to pray and communicate with Him. Therefore, we must grasp every opportunity to pray, as prayer is a gift from God. Knowing this, we ought to examine ourselves before we kneel before Him, and we should think about what kind of prayers we are offering to God.
We should give over our anger and frustrations to the Lord rather than complain and focus on how we had been wronged. If we fixate on the other person’s fault, this is our haughtiness and pride. We know that “God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble” (Jas 4:6). It is better for us to learn to focus on our own mistakes because that will be the beginning of our humility.
Yes, He desires that we pray everywhere and come before Him. But His conditions are that we are holy and humble; without wrath and haughtiness.