Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from May 23-29 are written by Andy Kim. Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University, is about to complete his M.Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is currently serving as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco, CA
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“…and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
Whenever I complained about school, my parents always told me the most extravagant stories: “When I was young I had to climb mountains, walk 5 miles each way, and hunt for my lunch just to go to school.” It was the go-to motivational speech in the Kim household, with the same message: “You have it good, so no complaints.” By no means do I undermine my parent’s past, because I fully acknowledge that I am blessed today because of their sufferings. Maybe some of us do not share the same story, but we can all agree that the life we live today is possible because someone in the past has paved the way. Even Isaac Newton acknowledges that all the things he had accomplished were made feasible by “standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
In today’s passage, we know that the men refused to listen to Paul’s warning and needed to face up to the consequences. We cannot confirm if the men were believers or not, yet we do know that God graciously saved their lives because of Paul’s prayer and faithfulness to the Lord. Perhaps this is the heart of God: He desires to show grace and mercy to the unbelieving so that they may be saved, and He does so through the prayers and faith of the righteous. In this case, it was through one man’s faith that a ship was saved. But even greater than Paul’s faith, we look to Jesus, who intercedes for all transgressors (Isaiah 53:12). As believers, we do not merely stand on the shoulders of men, as Newton pointed out, but we stand upon the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Through His sacrifice and work, all who believe in Him will be saved, for He Himself became the way to our salvation. My hope and prayer is that after reading this devotional, you will spend some time interceding for your loved ones, friends, community, and nation so that God would bring salvation to all.
Prayer: Father, thank You for listening to our prayers. Lord, we want to lift up the people in our lives, both close and far from us, that You may bring salvation to them. We also lift up our communities and our nation, asking that You would turn us back to You. Restore our hope in the power of prayer.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 51
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Timothy 2:1-4: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth
Questions to Consider
- Who are the people that Paul calls us to intercede for?
- Why should we intercede for them?
- How are we to intercede for them?
- The word “all” in this context implies a general and universal meaning; thus, we are to pray for all people. In doing so, Paul calls out men who are in places of authority. Because local authorities were persecuting Christians, there could’ve been a natural unwillingness to pray for them. Yet God calls us to pray even for those who hurt us.
- Perhaps, Paul appeals to Timothy to strategically pray for such leaders because of their influence over men. This would affect the ability for the gospel to be spread in such communities. Furthermore, Paul asserts that praying for all men is both good and acceptable in the sight of our God. In fact, Paul claims that God desires for all men to be saved and not simply for some special group of people. By seeking the blessing of the leaders around us, we will also be blessed. (Jer. 29:7)
- Hebrews 5:6 shows that Jesus interceded with loud cries and tears. The following is a great quote by Evelyn Underhill: “Real intercession is not merely a petition but a piece of work, involving costly self surrender to God for the work he wants done on other souls…Each time you take a human soul with you into your prayer, you accept from God a piece of spiritual work with all its implications and with all its cost — a cost which may mean for you spiritual exhaustion and darkness, and may even include vicarious suffering, the Cross.”
Spend some time reflecting on the image of Jesus interceding for you. Now, ask the Lord to give you the same heart of intercession. Who or what comes to mind? Perhaps your manager, coworker, or the guy down the street? Spend some time praying for them. Let us also intercede for our communities and our nation, especially our leaders.