"Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension." 1 Timothy 2:8 (NASB)
Paul, the writer of this letter to Timothy gives Timothy and us some practical advice on the topic of prayer. Here are just a few snippets.
In Every Place - Our prayer should be on-going, in every place, at all times. This speaks to the necessity of prayer and prayer as a lifestyle rather than a prescribed moment in the midst of our day filled with other things. We can learn to pray while driving (keep your eyes open), while at work, in a meeting, fixing dinner, doing chores, there is no limit to where we can connect with God through prayer.
To Pray - We serve a God who has provided for us we need only to ask for what we need. I'm not talking about prosperity gospel or thinking, I'm talking about the importance of asking for what we truly need. Think James 1:5, "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." We must ask for what we need. Paul tells Timothy this towards the beginning of his letter when he says, "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men..." 1 Timothy 2:1
Lifting Up Holy hands - It was the practice of early Christians to lift their hands towards Heaven, palms up as they prayed, as a sign of expectation of what was to come. Lifting up holy hands speaks of the importance of right living as we come to God. We're not speaking of perfection but of an active pursuit of holiness. See Psalm 24:3-4, "Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully."
Without Wrath or Dissension - A fractured horizontal relationship can get in the way of a healthy vertical relationship. I think of Matthew 5:23-24, "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering." Perhaps Matthew 6:15 paints the starkest contrast when it says, "But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." We aren't expected to agree with everyone in life or not stand up for righteousness and the truth of God's Word but we are expected to not to treat one another with wrath and thereby create dissension.
Let's learn to become more effective at our communication with God.
Be encouraged and keep moving forward.